So You Want to Send Your Child to the Children Department of Your Place of Worship? Ask these Ten (10) Child Protection Focused Question: Question 6: what is the investment in Child Protection training for leaders, teachers, volunteers and children?

It is a beautiful day where I woke with great hope and faith. I woke up with a song of gratitude playing in my spirit and mind. I am grateful to God and the believers He has magnanimously raised for me, beginning with my darling wife, Oluwafunmilayo, whose belief is unfettered and priceless to me. I feel so loved this day and I hope you feel the same way too.

I move speedily to do the bidding of pure advocacy this day, as I continue our discussion on the questions you must ask before you send your dear child to the children’s department of your religious place of worship. Join me as I discussed question 6:what is the investment in Child Protection training for leaders, teachers and volunteers?

As I have laboured to establish, child protection constitute a global trend in working with children within and outside the religious places of worship. It has become a critical reference point in determining best practice as regards working with children. It is therefore my professional belief that for today’s religious places of worship teachers and others working directly or indirectly with children to achieve effective service delivery, understanding child protection must become a core and inevitable skill. The foregoing is mainly achievable by training, which makes this question a very critical one.

 Training is very fundamental to performance. It is called capacity building. Capacity building imparts knowledge, skills and attitude in matters of child protection. The truth of the matter is that it amounts to demanding to reap where we have not sown when we expect to have a child protection compliant workforce of the children department of a religious place of worship.

Capacity building will also help the leaders, teachers and volunteers to imbibe the culture of child protection, knowing that until child protection becomes a culture for people, who have a duty of care to the child either as primary or secondary caregivers, it is never effective.

For child protection to assume the enviable status of a culture, I think capacity building must be in two forms, the first is formal and corporate training. This is a training program organised by the religious place of worship for the leaders, teachers and volunteers of the children department. This is most effective when it is periodic and institutionalised. Why? There are only few areas of discipline in our world today that is as dynamic as child protection. New issues keep cropping up in matters of child protection and therefore, primary and secondary caregivers have to be updated from time to time. The second form training is what I called, ‘guided informal training.’ This happens by encouraging the workforce to embark on personal training or development, particularly personal reading. This informal and yet guided in the sense that the leadership of the children’s department of a religious place of worship may recommend list of books to the teachers and volunteers, which they must read on their own monthly or bi-monthly and write reports. Such reports will be discussed at the meetings of the department. When the first and the second forms of training are effectively executed, it will create the third form, which is commitment to self-development on matters of child protection. This is the ‘tipping point’ where everybody in the workforce becomes a child protection enthusiast and is willing to add to their enthusiasm knowledge, skills and attitude. At this point the culture of child protection is born and the seed of its sustainability sown, children are in a protective environment.

I think child protection training should begin with training on the religious place of worship’s child protection system, which objective is to acquaint the workforce with the basic principles of child protection, the principles to which the organisation is committed, the structures in place to enforce the principles and the roles of everyone in the workforce. One of the key knowledge the workforce must have is what I call the intelligence of child protection, which simply refers to how to identify symptoms of abuse and how to respond professionally.

I also believe that children must be involved in child protection training. They must be taught the basic principles of child protection from early childhood. One particular area we must focus on in teaching children child protection is the principle of self-protection. This is educating the child that he/she has a major role to play in his/her own protection. He/she must be taught self-awareness, how to identify abuse and how to respond to same.

Please note that there is a lot of difference between self-protection and self-defence. Self-protection is a critical issue today in dealing with abuses, particularly when we deal with child-to-child abuse, which may also be referred to as bullying. Please note that by self-protection, I am not talking about self-defence. Self-defence is only a minute part of self-protection. While self-protection focus on intelligent actions, aimed at protection, self-defence may deal more with cure.

The number one rule of self-protection for a child is the consciousness of himself, his environment and the possible danger and the ability to accurately interpret same and seek protection as a preventive measure. Part of the foregoing is that the child understands boundaries, the rules, which have been put in place to protect him and how to access the covering of such rules. The child must be in a position to be able to articulate his views.

I think I have said a lot today about this issue of investment in child protection training. To say more is to be guilty of being a ‘writterative,’ sorry, I mean talkative. I will be here again tomorrow to discuss yet another question. Thank you for visiting today and I charge to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…



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