Child Space is a community based organisation working with children, youth, parents/guardians, teachers and other institutions in Kenya, with an aim of empowering them through value based behaviour change process training, and vital life skills. Their decision to apply for Keeping Children Safe membership was based on wanting to access an international platform that would enable them to gather and share in-depth information on safeguarding, and to better implement Child Space Organization’s child safeguarding policies.
This is their story, by Executive Director Chrispine Okello, Child Space Organization:
Our journey to becoming KCS members
It was through sheer luck that Child Space Organization was given the golden opportunity for three of it’s staff members, including myself, to attend the Keeping Children Safe conference held in Nairobi in January 2020.
The conference provided us with a platform to network, learn and share a number of best practices from other delegates which as an organization we still appreciate.
Being an organization that works with children in schools in the informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya, we are always led by our motto Committed to holistic child development.
We are delighted to say that the conference was – and still is – an eye-opener to aspects of our work, but specifically for one of our programmes called Smart Children Clubs, a programme that focuses on preventing the children from drugs and substance abuse, prevention of teenage pregnancies, early marriages, and to identify and nurture their talents by taking the children through what we call Behaviour Formation Process (BFP). It brings children from the informal settlements together every weekend for various related activities.
Attending the KCS Nairobi conference on safeguarding helped us to identify the safeguarding gaps in our own policies, as well as assessing our daily engagements with the children that can make them vulnerable to any intended and unintended harm.
Post-conference actions taken
The team organized for a post conference briefing meeting with the rest of the team members and shared the lessons learned.
The team identified the gaps in our safeguarding especially on safety of the children when coming to Smart Children Club and when gong back home after the weekly activities.
We formed agreeable guiding principles to help Child Space Organization reduce the risks as follows:
All Smart Children Club members are restricted from walking alone when coming to the club and when going back home; so, they’re required to be in a group of either two or three children for easy tracing in case of an incident.
The facilitators must ensure they register the time of arrival and departure of all participants in attendance.
We developed a register with all contacts of the parents/guardians for easy follow-ups in case of a problem of just a quick update on our activities.
We have since experienced a great collaboration with our stakeholders particularly the parents/guardians of members of Smart Children Club.
The Communication has been enhanced particularly during this time when all children are at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photos from left: Winfrey Atieno, Modern Dance Trainer at the Smart Children Club sharing her experience at the KCS conference, she poses for a photo with the Chrispine Okello and Maureen Ouma, and our social worker joined them for the last days photo.
Applying for KCS membership further encouraged us to start improving our safeguarding work to match their international child safeguarding standards which we are very committed to. We commenced the application process in February 2020.
The process requires that other people /partners confirm that you are actually implementing child safeguarding, even if you are adapting these standards according to your own environment and situation.
The approval of our KCS membership application highly rejuvenated the team and the entire organization because we feel there’s hope and support in our efforts to safeguard the most vulnerable children in the community we serve, as well as having a platform to constantly learn and share experiences from others across the globe.
We have since conducted a webinar on Child Space Organization Introduction to Keeping Children Safe Policy successfully, with our first line of contact at KCS, Bill Harris. This happened in the last week of May 2020, and hope to conduct more in an effort to make greater impact in the community we serve.
We therefore wish to convey our heartfelt gratitude to the KCS able team, lead by KCS’s very friendly, gorgeous and professional CEO, Sarah Blakemore, the most effective communicator Bill Harris, International Child safeguarding Network Manager, and all of the KCS Team for your efforts to that we think and act in the best interest of the children in all our undertakings.
Photo: Smart Children Club graduation 2019. Cover photo: Children at ChildSafe pose for some Covid-19 messaging.
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