At Chance for Childhood we are lucky to work with our amazing local partners, visionary community leaders who develop locally-relevant solutions to tackle the root causes of poverty and support some of the most marginalised children in their communities. Our work simply wouldn’t be possible without them!
In working with local partners we commit to supporting them in a number of ways to ensure that they can continue to deliver their work and reach even more children and young people.
Each of partners is an expert in their area, whether that be working in informal refugee settlements, supporting inclusive education for children with disabilities or supporting street connected children. They all have so much experience and knowledge that we wanted to find a way to bring everyone together so they are able to share with each other.
To provide partners with a forum where they can all benefit from their collected expertise, Vicky, our Global Safeguarding Lead, has created a ‘Community of Practice’. Defined as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” the ‘Community of Practice’ allows all of our partners, across the five countries we work in, to meet virtually once a month and discuss different themes.
The priority is that these sessions are practical and improve practice for partners which in turn means that children and young people are better supported. Each session focuses on a particular topic followed by lots of discussion. Partners also have access to an online portal providing resources that help them adapt the theme of the discussion to the context and the environment they are working in. And as part of the follow-up everyone is offered a 1:1 session with Vicky.
So far topics covered during the sessions include ‘An introduction to mental health’, ‘Supporting children and young people’s mental health during COVID-19 and beyond’ and ‘Self care for staff’.
In coming together our partners are able to share experiences and build a support network with each other. The sessions help to create trust and confidence for partners to discuss challenges they are facing.
Having this support has been particularly important over the past few months as our partners have been working tirelessly to support children and young people throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. During a session on self-care partners were able to discuss their own struggles during COVID-19, from supporting vulnerable children to managing an organisation through the pandemic. The discussion helped to provide information on how partners take better care of themselves and also how their teams can be supported to avoid burnout or vicarious trauma during a challenging and unprecedented time.
In talking about the importance of these calls Vicky said:
“The calls have been an incredible space for reflection and sharing of experiences, challenges and good practice. They have also enable us to build stronger relationships with individuals at our partners, as well as enabling partners to get to know one another. These are incredibly challenging times for practitioners around the world who are trying to support and protect vulnerable children and young people at such a high risk moment for the world. It has been such a pleasure to bring people together and grow our practice from one another. The expertise within the group had created such rich and meaningful conversations during such a difficult time.”
We have already received some great feedback from staff on the sessions so far:
“Thank you also for the study resources and regular updates”
“It’s through such platforms that we learn more and become even better implementers. Please keep up the good work and thanks for the resources too.”
“Many thanks for your efforts to empower us in this area. I really need to learn a lot in this. It’s really an area that has been neglected in our society for many years, but now it’s becoming more obvious that it’s really important. So I really appreciate your support and leadership on this.”
We’re so pleased that these have been useful for our partners and look forward to continuing to support them to do truly incredible work they do to ensure that no child is forgotten.