CHILD SAFEGUARDING WORKSHOP IN THE PROVINCE OF WEST AFRICA
A five-day Child Safeguarding workshop for the Marist Province of West Africa took place in Ghana from the 20th to the 24th of March 2023. The purpose of the workshop was to help participants on how to write a Child Safeguarding Policy for the Province and other associated Marist Works.
In his address, the Provincial, Br Cyprian Gandeebo reiterated the Marist Brothers’ commitment to Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults. Making special reference to our Constitutions, Br Cyprian Gandeebo said, the sensitivity of Marcellin Champagnat to the needs and suffering of the children of his day inspires us to respond to the emerging challenges facing humanity today (Art 59).
According to the Provincial, child abuse is a global phenomenon, and our Institutions are no exception. He observed that the cases of abuse that come up today happened many years ago and stressed the need for the province to be proactive in the face of this menace. ‘We cannot wait for cases to occur before going about looking for solutions’, he insisted ‘rather we need to put in place structures that will prevent the abuse of children and young people in our establishments and to keep them safe.
The workshop brought together 15 participants from across the five countries of the province in-person and was also streamed via Zoom. The Program was facilitated by Br Ken McDonald, the General Link Councillor for Africa and supported by Br. Ángel Diego García Otaola, Director of the Secretariat of Solidarity The brothers were taken through the Institutes’ Child Safeguarding Standards and their application to the everyday realities of the local situations in the Province of West Africa.
In his closing remarks, Br Ken McDonald appreciated the desire of participants to making our Institutions safe spaces for children and vulnerable adults. He was confident in the capacity of the brothers to develop an effective policy document that will leverage a safe environment in our schools for our students.
Those who participated in the workshop shared their impressions in the link that follows: