The ChildSafe network is an innovative initiative started by one of the World Childhood Foundation’s partners in Cambodia – Friends International – in 2005. Bridging the gap between information and awareness to taking action, the initiative is now a part of the activities of our partner organisations in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap in Cambodia and in Bangkok, Thailand.
ChildSafe member in Aranyaprathet on the Thai border
The initiative is based on the experience that children are put at risk when communities turn a blind eye or facilitate violations. Key people in a specific community are therefore chosen and given training on how to recognize children at risk, dangerous situations and how they can act to prevent abuse. A broad range of actors inside the communities are involved, for instance taxi drivers, hotels, restaurants and shop owners. After the training the participants receive a diploma and stickers they can use to display that they are “ChildSafe”. Their duty is from then on to report any suspected abuse to the hotline number of Childhood’s partner organization or intervene when a dangerous situation is developing in their area. In this way, the initiative also hopes to increase incentives for small- and large businesses to attract conscious travelers. Each year a “refresher training” takes place to make sure that the ChildSafe members are given information about emerging trends concerning child abuse.
Other parts of the initiative include hotline numbers that can be called when abuse is suspected, information material and child safe merchandise that is produced as one of the organisations’ vocational training. ChildSafe is thereby closely linked to the broad range of services that the participating organisations can provide to vulnerable children. Since one of the target groups are travelers, the information material also includes how to travel responsibly.
Go to the homepages of the ChildSafe Network, M’Lop Tapang (Sihanoukville) and Friends International (South-East Asia) for more information.
Information and merchandise for sale in a ChildSafe hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia
ChildSafe Tuk-Tuk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Hotline number targeting tourists in Sihanoukville
We don’t really know who they are, but sometimes we see their faces, names, ages or voices, but together these digital volunteers speak together and out loud to spread Childhood’s cause and our work in Brazil. Their virtual presence and their clicks on Facebook are essential for our communication strategy.
These digital volunteers were mobilized through a campaign held on Childhood Brasil’s Facebook fanpage at the end of the last year. Our team developed this strategy with an integrated communication bureau. The concept is simple: anyone can be a volunteer for Childhood Brasil just by lending their Facebook timeline and influencing their social network, by spreading our mobilization messages.
These messages have information about sexual violence and stimulate the digital volunteers to talk about it with their friends and family as a taboo that needs to be broken. Since we started the campaign, our “views”, “likes” and “shares” increased. Our most viewed post was published last week – in seven days, it was viewed by 67 thousand people and shared by 1 540 – a result we have never seen before. We achieved the mark of 3 thousand fans on our fanpage, 50% than four months ago – a great proof that citizens are everywhere and ready to help, to contribute, to discuss social problems and to rethink the world for a better place for everyone. Now it’s time to dive in even deeper!
For the third time, Childhood USA will gather all the US-funded projects for a day of exchange of experiences, networking and presentations of their work with children who are at risk for or have been victims of abuse and exploitation.
The first Project seminar focused on how to scale up as a small organization, working with the sensitive issue of sexual abuse, and if scaling up when finding new models was the best way to go. The second seminar focused on collaborations; exploring possibilities to share and work across boundaries to enhance services to children and youth at risk.
As Childhood continues to promote new project developments, we are also careful of nurturing organizations that have been partners for a long time. For example, with the support of Childhood, one organization has been able to advance the agenda on commercial sexual exploitation on a statewide scale; another is pursuing the health and well-being of children to mothers who are forced into prostitution to be acknowledged as a worldwide issue.
This time, the Seminar will focus on how hardship, chaos, and dysfunction affect children, how social and emotional upheaval kinds are creating trauma in children’s lives and how subjective experiences of trauma are causing distress in their entire existence.
The experience, treatment and prevention of trauma are main component for the organizations that Childhood supports, and a significant factor in how to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation. The purpose with the Seminar is to learn about new and existing service delivery models, for the participants to be inspired by the fantastic work that is being done to help children and youth, but also to harness potential and inspire new ideas to prevent trauma in children’s lives.
The Project Seminar will take place in New York on Wednesday.