Fund: Child Safety December Update
We’re four weeks into our Fund: Child Safety and the response has been exciting. So far donors have given $6,643. We’re more than 25% closer to reaching our goal. The Fund closes on January 31, 2014 and then the four groups participating, Lupwa Lwabumi Trust, Kwa Wazee, Empilweni, and Justice for Children Trust receive the funds we raise to continue their important efforts to protect children in their communities. We’ll be keeping you informed on what they are up to!
Young children are more likely to be subjected to physical violence while adolescents are more likely to experience sexual violence.
When we hear about child protection, tales are usually about what has gone wrong. But in one Zambian community, the focus has been on what works to protect our children. Those efforts started by working with families to think and act differently in terms of discipline. Parents learned to engage their children in dialogue rather than use corporal punishment. In their words, “Things are different now, we solve problems together.”
When Lupwa Lwabumi Trust engaged the wider community on issues of child protection they made sure that children had a voice. One of their priorities: a safe place to play and a library. The community responded. The chief designated land for a safe park – a place where children can play sports, board games, or even learn songs and games that pass on local culture and tradition. Adults were trained to supervise the safe park, so that at all times this park would indeed be a safe space. They didn’t stop there. Children also wanted a library – a place to study, read books, and advance their education. A mix of local resources and external support made it happen. The chief committed land in the community where the library would be built. The community molded the bricks and contributed labor to bring water and sand needed for the construction. Lupwa Lwabumi Trust mobilized resources from Firelight and the library is under construction!
Technical expert Maxwell Matewere in Malawi worked with eight Firelight partners in 2013 to strengthen their internal policies and practices. They integrated new tools and processes to improve their management of cases of abuse and to build strong referral systems that link children to appropriate services without further victimization.
As their hard work led to improved community responses to cases of child abuse, it also surfaced new challenges: inadequate government systems that failed to fulfill their mandate to protect children. Maxwell worked closely with us to plan a five-day workshop in South Africa where these eight partners learned advocacy skills to effectively advocate for improved government services and policy.