Plan International and the Keeping Children Safe Coalition: Say Yes to keeping children safe

February 25, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

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By

Alpha Jallow

Following an independent assessment by the Keeping Children Safe Coalition, the child rights organisation Plan International has become the first in the sector to be awarded Level One certification in keeping children safe.

Child abuse is a global phenomenon. It affects all societies and all communities. It has devastating effects on children, impairs childhood development, and increases child poverty.

It is against this backdrop that Plan, committed to realising children’s rights, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – including their rights to protection and freedom from abuse and exploitation. This also means holding them to account in ensuring that no child is harmed or placed at risk of harm as a result of their association with us.

The Keeping Children Safe Coalition, which sets industry standards in child protection, described Plan as being “at the forefront of child safeguarding” not only meeting but exceeding the requirements for Level One certification.

The coalition assessed Plan’s framework for implementing the Child Protection Policy – Say Yes! to Keeping Children Safe – which exists to ensure that no child comes to any harm as a result of their involvement with Plan or its representatives. Level one certification depends on the framework clearly outlining where there are risks to children’s safety and identifying the steps that need to be taken to minimise those risks. The coalition found Plan’s framework to be robust, ensuring that Plan put children’s safety at the heart of everything they do.

The coalition also praised the advice, training and guidelines that Plan also supplies to other organisations, cementing Plan’s position as a leader in this field.

“As a child rights organisation, ensuring that our policies and practices uphold the safety of all children associated with Plan is of the utmost importance,” said CEO Nigel Chapman. “This certification is the result of much hard work in ensuring that we are doing all we can to keep children safe, and achieves one of the goals set out in Plan’s 2011 – 2015 Global Child Protection Policy Implementation Strategy – external certification. Thank you all for your deep commitment to keeping children safe now and in the future” CEO Chapman opined.

The Keeping Children Safe Coalition noted Plan’s particular strengths as: compliance with the child protection standards; a robust set of policies and guidelines to support the integration of keeping children safe throughout the organisation; a good approach to assessing and managing risks to children; a good awareness of Plans gaps in keeping children safe; and good knowledge and skills to take corrective actions to address those gaps.

Level Two certification is the next step in becoming a ‘Child Safe Organisation’. The Coalition highlighted some areas that Plan would need to work on to achieve this certification, including some areas of the sponsorship model, programme risk assessment and engagement with volunteers.

Although this certification is excellent news that the NGO should be proud of, there is more to do to ensure that children are not at risk as a result of their involvement with Plan, Plan activities or Plan’s partners. Plan’s revised child protection standards will address many of the areas identified as requiring further attention, so it is important that the organisation work on meeting the standards.

 

 

 

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Alpha Jallow

Alpha is a freelance journalist from Dakar, Senegal, having worked for the BBC African Radio service, West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) and Radio France Internationale (RFI).

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