Help and Shelter starts new child protection project

Submitted by hands on Fri, 2011-03-04 14:48.

From Guyana Chronicle 2 Feb, 2011
Written by Chevon Singh
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 02:26
Through EC agreement…
THE non-governmental organisation (NGO), Help and Shelter (H&S), started a new Child Protection Project and introduced a Child Protection Policy Document, on Monday, in the Conference Room of the National Library, Church Street, Georgetown. Project Officer, Mr. Vidyaratha Kissoon, said the intention is to tackle issues related to children, based on Help and Shelter’s commitment to eradicating violence in all forms, especially domestic and child abuse.

He explained that the NGO entered into an agreement with the European Commission (EC) to promote the rights of children, through the provision of support services and public education.
This undertaking builds on the ‘Pickney Project’ which was executed in partnership with EveryChild/ChildLink and complements the other work being done by H&S to provide counselling for children who have survived abuse.
“The co-funding for this project is being provided by donations and through support from Concerned Citizens Against Domestic Abuse, based in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States,” he informed.
Kissoon said the general objective is to develop the human rights agenda in Guyana, as it relates to children, by using a rights based approach to strengthen child protection systems, policies and mechanisms that were established to provide services for children whose rights have been violated.
“The specific objective of the project is to promote children’s safety in four communities, Hague and Zeelugt in Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara) and Sophia and Good Hope in Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica), through community based actions which will improve the lives of children who have experienced abuse and violence and prevention education,” he elaborated.
Kissoon said such action will involve parents and providers in the education, health, judicial, social service sectors and other relevant groups, such as faith based organisation with the intent of increasing awareness, changing attitudes and behaviour in child protection.

He said the knowledge which is spread through this project will be shared, so as to stimulate similar types of community based actions across Guyana.
Project Coordinator, Mr. Colin Marks, disclosed that the targeted communities were selected on the basis of their specific needs, which were identified after several visits to those areas.

“We visited the communities and observed that there were large numbers of teenage mothers and single parents, so we decided to go into these areas with this project to raise awareness,” he said.
Representatives of the four targeted communities, who attended the formal programme, expressed gratitude to H&S for targeting them.
“I want to say thank you for choosing our community and I know that we, really, need help in dealing with some things, especially because there are many teenage mothers there,” said Ms. Bhagandai Khendu of Hague.
H&S also released its Child Protection Policy Handbook, which aims to clarify roles, responsibilities, procedures, reporting and referral requirements to promote awareness of child protection issues and provide training for additional support for the NGO’s representatives.
The document outlines the position of H&S on child protection.