I am persuaded that we are doing great today. I woke up this morning with a lot of struggles. I mean inner struggles. I have personal struggles, which I believe are with me till I breathe my last. I have struggles about people, my community and nation.
Above all, I have struggles about the way our children are being treated in the hands of the family, community, state and international community. It is seems there is a thick conspiracy against our children. The strength of this thick conspiracy is thicker layers of hypocrisy, which has assumed a labyrinthine order.
My prayer today is that the Lord, who I serve and whose I am will raise genuine believers in our children, both as primary and secondary caregivers, who will combine genuine belief with knowledge, skills, attitude (and most importantly consistency) to understand the peculiar needs of the African Child and how to lead and sustain a strategic cause that will deliver the God-ordained dividends of living life in the fullness of God’s investment in humanity.
Still very sober, permit me to discuss the fifth question, how are the teachers/volunteers looking after our children in the religious place of worship recruited? Or put in another way, how do people join the workforce of the religious place of worship? I think it is a very critical question to ask in view of the attributes of teachers we discussed earlier. There must be a process through which all the attributes discussed earlier are verified. We must be able to verify basic knowledge, rudimentary skills and required attitude of an intended leader, teacher and volunteers before we hand over children to them or we put them children in their care.
I think before anyone is allowed to come in contact with children, he/she must apply and give at least three (3) references, who the authority of the religious places of worship can talk to and be in touch with personally. A child protection specialist must be on the panel during interviews to ask the professional questions, which touch on child protection. Deliberate, careful and professional questions must be asked to explore the motive of the leader, teacher and volunteer for wanting to be part of the workforce of the children department of religious place of worship. Please note that where the issue of motive cannot be properly addressed by the prospect, the authority of the religious place of worship must be careful not to approve appointment. Motive is very important. A person who cannot prove or establish motives cannot prove or establish anything. Please note that motive goes to the root of any service. Where a person is not able to establish motive, I think only two things could be wrong: the first is that such person may be confused or unclear as to why he/she wants to join the children department of a religious place of worship. The second is that he/she may be hiding something. It is not safe to keep children with either of the people in this category. The former does not the reason why he/she wants to be involved, therefore sense of mission is impossible and abuse is inevitable. A person who does not know why he/she wants to be involved with children will abuse them sincerely. Unfortunately his/her sincerity does not mitigate the impact of abuse. The later has something to hide; we must not wait to find out. We must suspect sabotage and keep them away from children.
What if they are good people, who do not know how to express themselves? That is a great point, but do you thing such is worth finding out? I think not. The cost of finding out may be too costly than what we want to find out and may do eternal damage to the child and the organisation we represent.
Please note that it is after a prospect has done very well during interview and we are considering giving them a chance that we begin to contact their references. If you ask me, I do not advise that we give such people access to children until they are thoroughly investigated and their character is established as worthy of protecting our children.
Finally, note that it is characteristic of abusers to look for the loopholes in the system while trying to gain entry into an organisation.
My thoughts are on speed dial right now, but I have to round off here, lest my contribution today becomes Mariama Bâ’s ‘So Long a Letter.’ I promise to return here tomorrow in the spirit of advocacy. Thank for joining me. I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…