Policy on Child Protection of the Association New Hope And Light e.V
Introduction Reference Framework Declaration of Commitment Child Protection in Personnel Policy Transparent System of Case Management Communication and Data Protection Commitment Statement 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 advocates for non-violence and the right to independent development by supporting projects in Cameroon, promoting development education 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 young people are often the direct or indirect target group of our projects. Children and young people have the right to an “intact” childhood and specific rights to participation and protection. For “New Hope And Light e.V,” the absolute protection of children and young people is not only a human rights responsibility but also a development policy conviction.
The implementation of our own child protection policies 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 the 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, national child protection strategy, 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 anchor child well-being and child protection in its work, raise awareness of these issues, and contribute to the prevention of violence, especially child abuse.
Objective and Scope
The aim of the child protection policy of the Association New Hope And Light e.V is to contribute to the observance of the (fundamental) rights of children. At the same time, individuals who come into contact with children in the course of foundation work and supported projects are to be sensitized to the issue.
Furthermore, the child protection policy helps to 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 cases of child endangerment should be handled—considering the protection of the affected child—and how (suspected) cases can be reported.
The child protection policy is binding for all employees of the association. The child protection policy and the activities of the entities funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and their project partners in Cameroon form a system to protect against child abuse and promote the well-being of children.
In Cameroon, all individuals who have not reached the age of 18 are considered children.
Types of Child Endangerment
Child abuse or endangerment includes all forms of physical and/or psychological abuse, sexual violence, neglect, abandonment, or commercial or other exploitation that pose 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:
Physical Abuse: This is actual or potential physical harm inflicted on a child due to a malicious violation of care and supervision duties.
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 displaying or showing pornographic material and the analog or digital representation of images or films with sexual content.
Emotional Abuse: Involves withholding 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 psychological behavior development of a child.
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 its physical and mental health, prevents it from education (or training), and disrupts its moral and psychosocial development.
Neglect: Begins when a child is denied the basic care necessary for its physical and psychosocial development—e.g., in terms of education, health, nutrition, clothing, shelter, or training.
- Reference Framework
With this child protection policy, the Association New Hope And Light refers to the applicable Cameroonian law (the e.V National Child Protection Policy, the National Child Protection Strategy of Cameroon, UNICEF, and the Cameroonian Red Cross). In addition, it is based on various points of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including:
Every child has the right to;
- Equal treatment and protection against discrimination regardless of religion, origin, and race,
- Health and well-being,
- Education and training,
- Leisure, play, and recreation,
- Own opinion as well as information, communication, and assembly,
- Non-violent education within the supported facilities and in collaboration with local child protection initiatives/organizations, monitoring compliance with national child rights laws and, where possible, involving parents or guardians,
- Emergency assistance in the event of disasters or emergencies, e.g., if such an emergency is suddenly identified at the project site, and
- Care for disability.
Declaration of Commitment
The organization New Hope And Light e.V is committed to protecting the rights and well-being of children, strengthening their promotion and participation, and establishing 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) In its press, educational, and public relations work, to respect the dignity of children and comply with general standards for communication and data protection (see point 6), (3) To take all suspicions seriously and immediately seek advice from a list of child protection contact points that are recognized and known to all members of the association. (4) To ensure that project sponsors whose direct or indirect target group is children have their own child protection policy as a prerequisite for project funding in Cameroon.
Child Protection in Personnel 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 child protection. (2) All employees of the association receive an introduction to child protection, including the internal guidelines and regulations of the association. 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-Commitment Declaration of Association Staff on Child Protection.” (4) The association has a child protection officer.
Transparent System for Case Management
The organization New Hope And Light e.V has an institutional system for dealing with (suspected) cases of child endangerment.
In cases where the well-being of the child is at risk, the goal of the case management system is to enable a prompt and appropriate clarification of the situation in case of suspicion and to identify cases of child endangerment early. It also ensures 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 consistently applied by them.
When a (suspected) case is brought to the organization, the child protection officer of the office is obligated to follow the foundation’s case management system. He/she is obligated to address and investigate all (suspected) cases. Based on the information, the association’s child protection officer then promptly decides on the next steps. If possible, the case should be discussed with at least one colleague from the office. The process must be documented.
The information must be forwarded to the Ministry of Social Affairs.
a) In the case of a crime and ongoing danger to the child, the association informs the Ministry of Social Affairs or reports to the police. b) Contact is established between the institution, care services, and, if necessary, the affected child(ren) and his/her legal guardian(s), if not already done.
Suspected case involving the employees of the association or the members of the New Hope And Light Association.
If there are indications of child endangerment by an employee of the association or by freelance workers, the president of the association must be informed immediately. The president initiates the measures described under a) and b) within the framework of the case management system.
Upon reporting a (suspected) case, the association also examines the consequences for the funding of this project, if applicable, in accordance with the grant decision, up to a repayment of the grant.
The organization also promptly ensures with the informed authorities that the reported (suspected) case has been investigated, and appropriate measures have been taken.
Communication and Data Protection
To protect the children and young people 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 be protected in every production and distribution of media content. The organization therefore obliges all reporters to adhere to the following general communication standards and data protection principles to protect the well-being of children.
Standards for Communication
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. Reduction to a victim role or other stereotypes is avoided. Before creating media content and project materials depicting children, such as flyers or advertisements, it must be ensured that the children are accurately represented.
When using identity proofs, affected children and their parents/guardians must be informed in an understandable manner about the purpose and use, and their consent must be obtained. The privacy of all individuals involved in the projects and their environment must be respected at all times. Therefore, pseudonyms should always be used for children, unless the mention of the name is in the interest of the child and is done with the consent of the child and his/her parents or guardians.
Validity: This child protection policy comes into effect upon adoption by the council on January 1, 2020. It will be reviewed by the person responsible for child protection in the secretariat every three years, supplemented if necessary, and resubmitted to the board and council for a decision. The review is based on the analysis of the experiences of the organization’s internal child protection practices and changes in internationally recognized child protection standards and national and international law. A report will be submitted to the executive bodies at least every five years.
Commitment Statement 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 the well-being of children within its own organization, at events, as well as in the context of the work of this project and possibly during project visits. For this reason, preventive and reactive 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 share the collective responsibility for the safety of children.
Having knowledge of the child protection policies of the Association New Hope And Light e.V, I commit to adhering to the behavioral rules outlined in my work environment, making them known, disseminating them, and responding immediately 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, taking the opinions and concerns of children seriously, promoting them as individuals, and treating 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, during events, or project visits. If I or another adult has a personal conversation with a child, I will ensure that a second adult has 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 handling personal data carefully, and also require this from third parties who receive information about children from the Association New Hope And Light e.V.
I affirm that I have not been convicted of any of the offenses listed in § 72a SGB VIII (activities exclusion for convicted persons) and that there is currently no court proceeding or prosecutorial investigation against me for such an offense. Within the framework of this declaration, I commit to informing the Association New Hope And Light e.V promptly about the initiation of such a procedure.