Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action defines Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPHA) as the prevention of and response to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children in humanitarian action.

The majority of people affected by humanitarian emergencies are children, according to the UNCHR Global Trends Report. Millions of children currently live in countries affected by humanitarian crises and disasters. In 2018, almost 50 million children were in need of protection in humanitarian settings, according to Save the Children’s report, Unprotected: Crisis in Humanitarian Funding for Child Protection.

In times of crisis, children face an increased risk of all forms of violence and exploitation including trafficking, physical and sexual abuse, and landmines.

  •   Millions of children are on the move in search of a better life, often due to poverty, conflicts, and climate change.
  •   Pandemics and infectious disease are presenting new threats to the well-being of children, as stated by the United Nations Secretary General in his policy brief on COVID-19.
  •   In emergencies, children can be separated from their families, trafficked, recruited, or used by armed forces.
  •   According to The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, of which ChildFund Alliance is a member, children are recruited and used by armed forces in at least 25 nations. This is a significant increase from the 13 nations estimated to be recruiting children in 2007.
  •   Children’s vulnerability to economic exploitation and physical or sexual abuse increases during emergencies. According to 2016 International Labor Organization estimates, 4.3 million children are engaged in forced labour worldwide and one million are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
  •   Thousands of children are killed or injured every year by explosive weapons and landmines. Nearly one million children are affected by the presence of dangerous landmines that also limit their access to essential services, and one in four landmine victims are children, according to a report by The Child Protection Working Group.

Funding for child protection, however, is alarmingly limited. Child protection receives an average share of only 0.5% of total humanitarian funding, which totaled $27.3 billion in 2017. In 2018, less than $4.50 was spent per child in need of protection for the whole year. The lack of resources for child protection puts children’s survival and development at risk.

ChildFund and CPHA

ChildFund Alliance is committed to supporting the rights of children during humanitarian crises. The Alliance prioritises both short- and long-term child protection in its responses to emergencies. In humanitarian crises such as floods, earthquakes, conflicts, or pandemics, our response addresses the needs as expressed in the standards established to provide protection for children.  In addition to addressing the effects of disasters, our prevention work focuses on reducing and mitigating disaster risk for children. ChildFund Alliance supports children and communities before, during, and after crisis through:

  •   Providing safe spaces for children
  •   Working to strengthen the child protection systems
  •   Provision of food and life savings services
  •   Child and youth-led development
  •   Disaster risk reduction activities
  •   Child- and youth-focused preparedness
  •   Participating and coordinating with external coalitions, committees, networks and working groups specialising in children in humanitarian actions, such as the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action
  •   Returning to community development during the reconstruction phase

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

ChildFund’s Disaster Risk Reduction strategy aims to:

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  •   Support members in mapping child protection risks and existing local child protection mechanisms
  •   Provide a member-accessible tool box that is available for adaptation across contexts and existing programs (accompanied by training and materials)
  •   Create a platform for sharing information among members
  •   Adapt the Child-friendly Accountability model to engage youth in safe DRR strategies at the community level
  •   Promote meaningful youth leadership and engagement in community-level DRR processes. 

The Alliance established a Task Force on Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPHA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in July 2017. The Task Force is a cross-functional group comprising staff across Alliance members who have expertise and specialisation in child protection in humanitarian actions, emergencies and programs. The role of the Task Force is to provide guidance and coordination to support the CPHA & DRR objectives and activities of the Alliance.

Current CPHA Work
Child Protection and COVID-19

Margaret in Kenya

Currently, ChildFund Alliance members are supporting children and communities in the wake of the global COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has resulted in millions of infections, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and social and economic disruption worldwide. It is especially dangerous for children and families living in fragile economies. As millions of jobs are lost, the cost of food and necessities rise, and our overburdened health systems struggle to treat the infected, millions of children will suffer from poverty, violence, and exploitation.

During this unprecedented time, ChildFund launched Forward Strong: COVID-19 Response Plan, which outlines life-changing services and resources to support children in the more than 60 countries where we work. ChildFund’s COVID-19 response plan focuses on:

1. Stopping COVID-19 from infecting children and families.
2. Ensuring children get the food they need.
3. Keeping children safe from violence.
4. Helping children continue their learning.

The Alliance’s CPHA & DRR Task Force, in collaboration with our Country Offices, aim to increase comprehensive child protection programs across ChildFund Alliance to address the risks to children and the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 recovery phase.

Sport for Development is a powerful and proven way to facilitate change for disadvantaged youth in developing communities who face significant challenges around poverty and inequality.

Programs like ChildFund Pass It Back provide children and young people with important learning opportunities, as well as the chance to take part in organised sport, in many cases for the very first time.

So let’s take this opportunity to reflect on how sport for development programs help vulnerable children and youth grow into empowered, confident and healthy adults.

Sport for Development promotes diversity and inclusion

Sport for development programs promote diversity and inclusion by:

1. Bringing people together from all walks of life. All races, religions, genders and cultures are unified by a common passion: their love of the game.

2. Providing shared experiences, and creating a space where players, coaches, families and communities feel a sense of belonging.

3. Connecting people within and across borders, creating relationships between disparate social groups and building more inclusive communities.

4. Challenging prejudicial attitudes and breaking gender barriers.

5. Uniting players and fans around a common set of values, which drives positive behaviours both on the off the field.

6. Providing opportunities for children and young people to participate in their local, regional, national and international community.

Working as a team helps to break down barriers of exclusion, reduces inequality, and builds stronger communities for young people over time.

Sport for Development creates leaders

Sport for Development programs transform children into future leaders by:

1. Connecting youth and children with local leaders and decision-makers.

2. Empowering children and transforming them into role models for friends and family.

3. Creating new role models for women and girls in the community by facilitating positive shifts in gender norms.

4. Teaching children the value of teamwork, and how to be respected as a leader.

5. Motivating children to set goals, plan for the future, and challenge themselves.

6. Providing the opportunity for children to connect with each other, and develop relationships that can create positive change in the community.

Children develop leadership skills that they can take back to their homes and communities, helping them become positive vehicles of change.

Sport for Development teaches life skills

ChildFund Pass It Back is a program which provides children with coaches from their own communities; role models who teach valuable life skills:

1. Increased confidence in their own abilities.

2. The value of teamwork, and setting goals as a group.

3. How to manage conflict both on an off the field.

4. Improved concentration and focus.

5. The importance of rules, and respect for others.

6. How children can equip themselves with a sense of self-discipline..

7. The value of becoming an effective communicators.

Through sport for development programs, young people from marginalised communities are given life-long, skills and knowledge to take with them into their adult futures.

Sport for Development improves children’s wellbeing

Sport for development programs provide children with regular physical activity, improving their overall health by:

1. Developing healthy bones, muscles and joints.

2. Improving heart and lung function.

3. Improving balance, coordination and posture.

4. Helping prevent chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

5. Providing an emotional outlet, helping to relieve stress and anxiety.

6. Facilitating social interaction in a positive environment, which provides enjoyment.

Children have plenty to gain from participating in sport for development programs, particularly in terms of the benefits to their physical and emotional wellbeing.

Facilitating change with Sport for Development programs

As you can see, young people from all communities have a lot to gain from participating in programs that use Sport for Development to provide important learning opportunities.

By encouraging children to be active participants in their communities, creating new role models, and teaching valuable life skills, sport for development programs can transform young people into leaders of the future.

Want to help more children have the opportunity to learn, play and grow? Consider supporting ChildFund Pass It Back, a sport for development program operating in countries including Laos,  The Philippines, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

It’s your generosity that keeps the program going, and we’d love to expand into more communities and countries, bringing the power sport to even more disadvantaged children across Asia.