Child Protection Policy of the Association New Hope And Light e.V
Introduction Reference Framework Declaration of Commitment Child Protection in Human Resources Policy Transparent Case Management System Communication and Data Protection Commitment Declaration for Employees and Members of the Association New Hope And Light on Child Protection
Preamble of the Association New Hope And Light e.V on Children’s Rights and Child Protection.
The Association New Hope And Light e.V is committed to non-violence and the right to independent development by supporting projects in Cameroon, promoting development education work in Cameroon, and engaging in nationwide advocacy in all forms. Human rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child form the basis for this work. Children and adolescents are often the direct or indirect target group of our projects. Children and adolescents have the right to an “intact” childhood as well as specific rights to participation and protection. For “New Hope And Light e.V,” the absolute protection of children and adolescents is not only a human rights responsibility but also a development policy conviction.
The implementation of our own child protection guidelines with rules for individual and institutional behavior is intended to encourage reflection on ensuring the well-being of children and is our contribution to improving structural child protection in our society. Our supporting guidelines stipulate that in our work, we always respect and uphold the rights of children/adolescents in accordance with Cameroon’s national child protection policy, the national child protection strategy of Cameroon, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Considering the role of the association as a guide and role model for responsible souls, partners, and other donors, the association commits to actively and continuously embed child welfare and, therefore, child protection in its work, raise awareness of these issues, and contribute to the prevention of violence, especially child abuse.
Goal and Scope
The goal of the Child Protection Policy of the Association New Hope And Light e.V is to contribute to the adherence to the (fundamental) rights of children. At the same time, individuals who encounter children in the context of foundation work and supported projects should be sensitized to the issue.
Furthermore, the child protection policy helps protect the organization’s employees from false accusations and the organization as a whole from reputational damage.
A guide is provided to the organization’s employees, describing how to handle cases of child endangerment – considering the protection of the affected child – and how to report (suspected) cases if necessary.
The child protection policy is binding for all employees* of the association. The child protection policy and the activities of the agencies funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and their project partners in Cameroon form a system to prevent child abuse and promote the protection of child welfare.
In Cameroon, all individuals who have not reached the age of 18 are considered children.
Types of Child Welfare Endangerment
Child abuse or child endangerment includes all forms of physical and/or emotional abuse, sexual violence, neglect, abandonment, or commercial or other exploitation that poses an actual or potential risk to the health, survival, development, or dignity of a child in a community.
The five main categories of child abuse are:5
Physical Abuse: This is actual or potential physical harm inflicted on a child due to a malicious violation of care and supervision.
Sexual Violence: Any actual or threatened contact of a sexual nature with a child, i.e., all forms of sexual activities such as abusive touching, penetration, as well as non-contact activities like addressing or showing pornographic material and the analog or digital representation of images or films with sexual content.
Emotional Abuse: Includes the withholding of an age-appropriate environment that promotes the psychosocial development of the child, as well as persistent or severe verbal abuse, humiliation, devaluation, or rejection that negatively affects the child’s psychological behavior development.
Exploitation: Encompasses the commercial or other exploitation of a child through activities performed for the benefit of third parties. This includes child labor and child prostitution, as well as any other activity that leads to the economic exploitation of the child, impairs the physical and mental health of the child, prevents it from its education (or training), and disrupts its moral and psychosocial development.
Neglect: Begins as soon as a child is deprived of the basic care necessary for its physical and psychosocial development – e.g., in terms of education, health, nutrition, clothing, housing, or training.
With this Child Protection Policy, the Association New Hope And Light refers to the applicable Cameroonian law (to the e.V National Child Protection Policy, the National Child Protection Strategy of Cameroon, UNICEF, and the Cameroon Red Cross). Furthermore, it is oriented, among other things, towards the following points of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:
Every child has the right to
- Equality and protection against discrimination regardless of religion, origin, and race,
- Health and well-being,
- Education and training,
- Leisure, play, and recreation,
- an opinion of their own as well as information, communication, and assembly,
- non-violent education within the supported facilities and in collaboration with local child protection initiatives/organizations, checking compliance with national child rights laws, and, where possible, involving the parents or legal guardians,
- emergency assistance in case of disasters or emergencies, e.g., if such an emergency is suddenly identified at the project site, and
- care for disabilities.
Declaration of Commitment
The organization New Hope And Light e.V is committed, within the scope of its own activities, to protect the rights and well-being of children, strengthen their promotion and participation, and establish the following standards in its work. It sets the following goals:
(1) to contribute to creating a safe environment for children and ensuring respect for children’s and human rights, (2) to respect the dignity of children in press, educational, and public relations work and comply with general standards for communication and data protection (see point 6), (3) take all suspicions seriously and seek immediate advice from a list of child protection contact points recognized by all members of the association.
(4) ensure that project sponsors whose direct or indirect target group is children have their own child protection policy as a prerequisite for funding projects in Cameroon.
Child Protection in Human Resources Policy
The organization New Hope And Light e.V commits to rejecting or identifying applications from individuals who may seek access to children by being employed in the organization’s office. The following procedures are applied:
(1) Job advertisements must mention that the Association New Hope And Light e.V is an organization committed to the protection of children. (2) All employees of the association receive an introduction to child protection, including the organization’s internal guidelines and regulations. They are obligated to follow them. (3) Furthermore, all employees of the association who come into contact with children on behalf of the association (e.g., at individual events, multi-day workshops, or project visits) must sign the “Self-Declaration of the Association’s Employees on Child Protection.” (4) The association has a child protection officer.
Transparent Case Management System
The organization New Hope And Light e.V has an institutional system for dealing with (suspected) cases of child endangerment.
In cases where the child’s welfare is at risk, the goal of the case management system is to facilitate an appropriate and swift clarification of the situation in the case of suspicion and to detect cases of child endangerment early. It is also intended to ensure that the affected children are protected and have access to special support services to prevent further harm. This system is known to all employees* of the association’s office and committee members and must be applied by them without exception.
When a (suspected) case is brought to the organization, the child protection officer of the association’s office is obligated to follow the foundation’s case management system. He/she is required to address and clarify all (suspected) cases. Based on the information, the association’s child protection officer then promptly decides on further steps. If possible, the case should be discussed with at least one colleague from the office. The procedure must be documented.
The information must be forwarded to the Ministry of Social Affairs.
(a) In the case of a crime and an ongoing danger to the child, the association informs the Ministry of Social Affairs or files a report with the police. (b) and contact is established between the institution, care services, and possibly the affected child(ren) and his/her legal guardian(s), if not already done.
Suspicion involving the association’s employees or members of the Association New Hope And Light.
If there are indications of child endangerment by an employee of the association or by freelancers, the president of the association must be informed immediately. He/she initiates the measures described under (a) and (b) within the framework of the case management system.
When reporting a (suspected) case, the association also examines the resulting consequences for the funding of this project, if applicable according to the grant decision, up to a repayment of the grant.
The organization also promptly verifies with the informed authorities that the reported (suspected) case has been investigated, and appropriate measures have been taken.
Communication and Data Protection
To protect children and adolescents participating in the activities of the Association New Hope And Light e.V from dangers, violence, or stigmatization, the association requires that the dignity of children be preserved and their identity protected in every production and distribution of media content. Therefore, the organization obliges all reporters to adhere to the following general communication standards and data protection principles to protect the well-being of children.
All media content is based on the values of respect and equality and preserves the dignity of the person depicted. Children are portrayed as individuals with many facets and potentials. Reducing them to a victim role or other stereotypes is avoided. Before creating media content and project materials featuring children, such as flyers or uses, it should be ensured that the children are genuinely represented.
When using identity proofs, the affected children and their parents/guardians must be informed in understandable terms about the purpose and use and obtain their consent. The privacy of all individuals involved in the projects and their surroundings must be respected at all times. For children, pseudonyms should always be used unless the mention of the name is in the interest of the affected child and is done with the consent of the child and his/her parents or legal guardians.
Validity: This child protection policy comes into effect on its acceptance by the board on January 01, 2020. It will be reviewed by the person responsible for child protection in the general secretariat every three years, supplemented if necessary, and presented again to the board and the council for decision. The review is based on the analysis of the experience gained from the organization’s internal child protection practice and changes in international child protection standards and national and international law. A report will be submitted to the executive bodies at least every five years.
Commitment Declaration for Members and Employees of the Association New Hope And Light on Child Protection
The Association New Hope And Light has committed to raising awareness of the protection of children’s well-being within its organization, events, and the scope of this project, and possibly during project visits. For this reason, prevention and response measures are established within the organization to minimize the risk of violence and child endangerment. The aim of the guidelines for dealing with children is for employees, directly and indirectly, to collectively take responsibility for the safety of children.
Having read the child protection policies of the Association New Hope And Light e.V, I commit to adhere to the behavioral rules laid out in my work environment, make them known, disseminate them, and promptly respond to any concerns, accusations, and incidents, reporting them directly to the responsible colleague in the office. In this sense, I will contribute to creating a safe, favorable, and encouraging environment for children, take the opinions and concerns of children seriously, promote them as individuals, and treat all children with respect. Where possible, I will follow the “Two-Adult Rule,” i.e., I will ensure that another adult is present or within reach during personal conversations or when a child is invited to the office, at events, or project visits. When I or another adult has a personal conversation with a child, I will ensure that another adult maintains eye contact. When taking photographs, filming, or writing reports as part of public relations work, I will respect the human dignity and protection needs of children, especially handle personal data carefully, and demand the same from third parties who receive information about children through the Association New Hope And Light e.V.
I assure that I have not been finally convicted of any of the offenses mentioned in § 72a SGB VIII (Activities exclusion of convicted persons) and that there is currently no court or prosecutorial investigation against me for such an offense. As part of this declaration, I commit to inform the Association New Hope And Light e.V immediately about the initiation of such a procedure.