Raising voices for child safeguarding
9 November 2022
Some of the staff of Raising Voices and Impact and Innovations Development Centre (IIDC) attending a training on Child Safeguarding-Module III organized by IIDC in Kampala. Photo Credit: IIDC
Child safeguarding has always been a priority for Raising Voices and its staff. Raising Voices, a not-for-profit organisation based in Kampala, Uganda, and a partner of Oak’s Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Programme, works for a world where all women and children can flourish, free from violence. Since its founding in 1999, the organisation has pioneered evidence-based methodologies in violence prevention, including its Good School Toolkit (GST) to prevent violence against children in schools.
While Raising Voices works with schools and community organisations to protect children from violence, the staff found it important that their own work reflect the highest standards of child safeguarding. Raising Voices often visits schools to monitor the activities of the Good School Toolkit, and many children visit their offices for urgent care after experiencing violence. As Raising Voices continued to grow and serve more people, ensuring robust child safeguarding policies in their work became all the more important.
In 2019, Raising Voices appointed a member of staff, Hassan Muluusi, as its child safeguarding focal person. Not long after Hassan was appointed to his new position, he received an invitation from the Impact and Innovations Development Centre (IIDC) to undertake the child safeguarding training at IIDC offices, along with a committee of five staff. Together, the Raising Voices team completed three safeguarding training modules with IIDC. “The IIDC trainings enabled the team to have a more comprehensive understanding and application of best practices in child safeguarding,” said Hassan.
IIDC is an Oak Capacity Building grantee and regional technical assistance organisation that ‘supports not-for-profit organisations in East Africa to operate with integrity and excellence’. Deogratias Yiga, executive director of IIDC, said, “Raising Voices is part of the pioneer group that IIDC worked with to enhance a child safeguarding culture within the organisation. Child safeguarding is a new growing area of interest and a very significant issue that we ought to pay attention to.”
Some of the Raising Voices staff and Good Schools Resource persons in a group discussion on how to improve their Child Safeguarding policy. Photo credit: IIDC.
Following the trainings, Raising Voices developed an action plan, committing to spread a strong culture of safeguarding throughout the organisation. The first priority was drafting a new comprehensive Child Safeguarding Policy for Raising Voices, which is currently expanding even further to encompass the organisation’s violence against women prevention work. All staff were involved in implementing the new policies and procedures, from the board of directors approving and supporting the policy, to staff members’ using an abridged, accessible version of the policy in their everyday work.
Raising Voices has made good progress in transforming the policy into practice. Despite some setbacks with the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisation reports improvements in managing child safeguarding concerns as they arise in the communities that it works with, as well as stronger background checks for potential staff members of their organisation. Raising Voices also recruited designated additional safeguarding committee members.
Looking toward the future, Raising Voices’ commitment to child safeguarding will not stop at its own doors. Hassan says, “we will not only be able to make use of these improved child safeguarding good practices for our own staff, but we can help others make use of our strong organisational child safeguarding culture, by sharing with others with whom we collaborate.”
Oak is proud to support Raising Voices’ efforts to promote children’s safety in its work. You can find out more about Oak’s approach to child safeguarding on our website and in our Child Safeguarding Policy. If your organisation is an Oak partner and interested in receiving child safeguarding support, please get in touch with your programme officer.