Working with children and families requires diverse skills and multidisciplinary training. Accountability in relation to the moral and even legal responsibility of institutions is fundamental. GOALS Haiti prioritizes the needs of the communities we work in while putting the safety and wellbeing of kids in our programs first. We partner with other organizations who share those values for child protection and gender equality. Recently we worked with Kore Timoun on a workshop to which more than 72 members of their teams took part to discuss the protection of children against abuse and exploitation.
GOALS Program Director Carl Henry was the facilitator for the workshop, and he focused on the fundamental concepts related to it. Four main areas were reviewed which included:
- Definition of a child
- The forms of abuse and exploitation of children, focus on the proximity, trust and power of the abusers
- Intersectionality in relation to gender issues including aspects of children's rights
- Values and attitudes in child protection with emphasis on issues related to beliefs, mentalities, practices and social representation
Working together we are part of a community-based approach to raising awareness to the sensitive issue of child abuse. Dealing with these issues is not common in rural areas. Our work is changing that. In a country where human rights issues in general do not have priority, it is hard to see that in the most remote and isolated areas with few basic social services that the rights of children and women still need to be highlighted. Testimonies were heard in the room that this issue must be a commitment by community agents with close ties to children and families. This is important to help them prevent violence and to equip individuals and children with the tools to respond when necessary.
Our work is to provide a safe space for kids to learn, play and grow. Healthy kids grow up to be healthy citizens in society. Discrimination and gender-based violence is addressed as an additional element to this issue of the exploitation against children. Institutions working with children must strengthen their preventive actions in order to avoid serving as a channel to facilitate children's access to abusers and pedophiles. Apart from any procedures and policies signed by staff it is essential that staff members receive training and adequate resources to better understand the issue and act proactively.
As a child rights promoter we work closely with families and communities to show them the best practices to be used and how much vigilance is needed to protect children. Learning about protection serves to promote children rights. These rights are critical to protection against abuse and to initiate a community process to popularize this message of non-tolerance of abuse and exploitation. Physical, emotional, sexual abuse, neglect and significant harm from wherever they come cannot be tolerated.
GOALS Haiti is proud to have initiated this training in Léogâne and we will continue this work so that girls and boys can flourish and develop their potential.