World Childhood Foundation

Network for Protection in Bahia project celebrates its third year

brasil'

The Network for Protection project is a Childhood Brasil initiative conducted in partnership with pulp companies Stora Enso and Veracel, as well as Instituto Tribos Jovens, a local social organization. The project is designed to bring together different actors, companies together with government and NGOs, and to develop and strengthen public policies for combating sexual violence against children and adolescents in Eunápolis, Porto Seguro, and Santa Cruz Cabrália, three towns located on the Discovery Coast (Costa do Descobrimento) of Bahia state.

The project began in 2013 when mobilization and coordination actions were carried out within the target segments, and provided training for the professionals involved.

In 2014, during the second year of the project, the initiative sought to raise awareness in the tourism sector and develop municipal plans for confronting sexual violence against children and adolescents in the three towns, while also focusing on the prevention of sexual violence during the soccer World Cup.

The project began 2015 by holding town hall meetings in each location in order to present and validate our action plans, and to assess the service flows to children and adolescents. These meetings were attended by representatives of various government agencies, as well as the Attorney General’s office, the town councils themselves, Civil and Military Police, Federal Highway Patrol, NGOs, and indigenous community leaders.

Since the beginning, the Network for Protection project has always positioned its activities along the following four strategic lines:

1. Coordination and mobilization of strategic segments: the initiative have held seminars involving more than 500 participants, and contributed to the public involvement and commitment of managers, civil society organizations, and tourism operators regarding actions for child protection and the fight against sexual violence. The success of these seminars is demonstrated by the large number of signatories to our Partnership Agreement and the Pact for the Protection of Children in Tourism.

2. Training of professionals involved with guaranteed rights: the Network for Protection program has provided courses and meetings which explore key issues in depth in order to align the teams that operate with services and organizations dedicated to preventing and combating sexual violence against children and adolescents. Again, more than 500 professionals from 121 government agencies and civil society organizations have taken part.

3. Establishment of Local Management Committees: 15 meetings and workshops were held with these committees, which resulted in the development of action plans to combat sexual violence against children and adolescents in each town, as well as plans for comprehensive service flows.

4. Consolidation and dissemination of methodology: after evaluating the project’s first two years, for 2015 it is planned to assess the activities undertaken in the third year, and then organize and publish our experiences.

Other results of the project include: (a) the implementation of CREAS (Specialized Social Assistance Reference Center) in Santa Cruz Cabrália; and (b) overseeing the project to implement PAIR (Program for Integrated Actions and References to Combat Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents in Brazil) throughout the region. The initiative to implement PAIR across Brazil was supported by Childhood Brasil, as a result of contacts and meetings held in Brasília.

For 2015 it is also planned to monitor the implementation of municipal plans, and hold a seminar to present results upon completion of the project.

Britta Holmberg, Project Director

Can Childhood make a difference in China?

Is it at all possible for a relatively small foundation such as Childhood to make a difference in an enormous country as China?

I didn’t feel convinced when I prepared for my first visit together with our country manager, Joel Borgström. For many years, Childhood has mainly been working with one partner in China (Half the Sky foundation) and the focus has been on improving the situation inside state institutions for abandoned and orphaned children. The model they have developed in order to decrease the number of unnecessary separations between small children and care givers in institutions, increase the stability for children in care is now being implemented on a scale far beyond the project. Childhood is now slowly expanding our network of project partners in China and the purpose of my visit was to explore new potential collaborations. After many years of work in the former Soviet Union, the development in China seemed unexpectedly familiar and seems to follow the same path as many other former communist countries. Until now, child abuse in general, and child sexual abuse in particular, have not been on the official agenda and there is little awareness and knowledge about how to identify and support victims of abuse. Many of the organizations we met are now in the stadium where they are starting to develop systematic approaches on how to handle child abuse cases in the communities. One important component for increased awareness about risks among children and youth is to open up for discussions about “normal” relations and to provide sexuality education, which still not available for many Chinese children. A grant to take this first step has recently been approved to the organization Maple Women’s Psychological Counseling Center. Childhood supports their “Caravan tour” providing information about abuse prevention to children in migrant schools outside Beijing and to their parents and teachers.

So even on a small scale, the grant can make a difference. It will mean something for the children that are reached by the Caravan tour. And it will contribute to promoting child protection and raising awareness about sexual abuse of children in China.

/Britta