The world is going through a time of unprecedented change and disruption, affecting us all. We are dealing with threats and risks posed globally by climate change, world-wide pandemics like COVID-19 in 2020, and resulting economic uncertainty, as well as shifting political priorities within the UK and beyond.
The children we work with are likely to be amongst those most heavily and negatively impacted by these global and local shifts. Whatever strategic choices we make, they must be made with the best interests of those children front and centre.
If last year can teach us anything it is that we live in a fast-changing world, where those already in vulnerable situations are most at risk of suffering the consequences and effects of those changes. We must, therefore, learn to adapt quickly to these changing needs and challenges and find relevant solutions and approaches to address them. The only way of achieving this is by working hand in hand with locally led organisations. They understand the local context and culture; they speak the language and have the trust, the ties, and the means to actively engage with the communities. The relationships we have built with our partners in Africa and Asia allow us to learn from each other and share our knowledge to strengthen safeguarding and protection of children, especially in times of unprecedented challenges.
Most protection and safeguarding consultancies are made up of ‘experts’ from high income countries. Training and support in this crucial area is too-often provided by people who do not live and work in the context that children are living, and whose understanding is limited. Flying long distances to deliver training also represents poor value for money and has a negative environmental impact. Meanwhile, there are many expert practitioners in Africa and Asia not being given the opportunity to share that expertise and make organisations in their own countries safer.
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