VMM International’s Safeguarding & Protection Programme
The VMM International Safeguarding & Protection Programme and the work of Safeguarding Manager, Lucy Monari, and Positive Discipline Programme Volunteer, Eilís McDonald, continue to spread and support safeguarding training and activities, creating awareness and protecting the rights of children and vulnerable adults, at community level through our network of partner organisations in Africa.
Tirelessly Spreading the Safeguarding Message and Best Practice
Throughout 2018 Lucy has been making monitoring visits to our partner organisations, including the Diocese of Kitale and a safe-house in Nairobi, run by HAART, for girls rescued from human trafficking. The spread and support of our Safeguarding Programme and message, through these visits, is complemented by crosscutting engagement and outreach in the community. Lucy participated in a live call-in question time on the Radio Mitume safeguarding show, centering around the topics of cultural practices and the effect of ICT and digital communications on safeguarding. As a member of the Safeguarding Steering Group for Faith Congregations in Nairobi (the city which is the hub for human trafficking in East Africa), Lucy has also collaborated on a draft safeguarding manual which will be used to disseminate safeguarding best practice into NGOs in the city, and beyond into many other regions.
Lucy is also secretary of the VMM International Safeguarding Committee in Kitale, Kenya, which oversees how we liaise with our partner organisations, while identifying the emerging issues in the local context. Kitale is also a key location for a strong safeguarding presence, as many of those fleeing from hunger in northern Kenya arrive there, resulting in a large number of children living on the street. Lucy is currently preparing the materials and teaching manual for a new Childrens’ Rights and Responsibilities Club programme and a teacher training workshop in Kitale, which are to commence later this month. In addition, Lucy also lead a three-day safeguarding workshop in January with partner organisations in Uganda, which doubled as a monitoring update of programme implementation with each partner.
Positive Discipline Programme Workshops Reach a Wide Audience
Positive Discipline training workshops, run by Eilís McDonald, have also been ongoing in Fort Portal, Uganda, carrying the message of child rights and responsibilities to students of all ages, their teachers and into the wider community. From February to December 2018, 62 schools each received a 3 or 4 session safeguarding programme, delivered by 2 full time facilitators, reaching a total of 1,355 teachers and 36,328 pupils. Further monitoring of the Positive Discipline Programme training with primary schools in western Kenya is scheduled to take place in March.
“Parents everywhere want the best for their children”, Eilís says. “Caning and other forms of corporal punishment can be seen as a means to getting the best academic results”. She can remember that, “such punishment was also common in Ireland, well within living memory”. This was part of her motivation in deciding to volunteer with VMM International and do the great work that she does, to spread the methods and the message that was hard-learned in Ireland. As to these methods, she says, “education starts with the educators. Parents trust the teachers to do a good job”, and so, while reaching other audiences by participating in other forums and activities within the Safeguarding Programme, the Positive Discipline Programme which she coordinates, focuses on schools as the medium to train staff and positively affect the lives of children; the most vulnerable in society, and its future. Thus, it is through the children and the respected institution of schools that VMM International’s Safeguarding and Protection Programme focuses on to disseminate the methods and message of child rights and responsibilities into the wider community, to great success.
Supporting VMM International’s Child & Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding and Protection Programme
We have a fundraiser on the Global Giving platform to support the VMM International Child & Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding and Protection Programme and are most grateful of the support we receive. You may wish to make a donation to support the continuation and spread of the work and message of this programme. By doing so you will receive regular reports to keep you posted on further developments and achievements as our mission and methods continue to spread and change lives.