By Clementina Njang Yong
The CBC Health Services, Partner Organizations (POs), Service Providers, and Members of the Community of Practice working with the Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) Program of the CBC Health Services based in the West Region of Cameroon are currently reviewing Child Safeguarding Policies within their respective institutions. This action informed through a workshop organized by the Disability Inclusive Child Protection Initiative (DICPI) that took place in Bafoussam on September 7, 2022 was also geared towards ensuring an effective and workable referral pathway in the Community of Practice (CoP) for the Disability Inclusive Child Protection Initiative
. Participating organizations are reexamining how their institutions provide services to survivors of abuse, and updating these policies to correspond with those of Liliane Foundation, a Dutch based Organization that promotes the wellbeing of children and those at risk of disabilities in Cameroon through their Strategic Partner Organization – CBC Health Services. Other organizations without Safeguarding Policies through this workshop will endeavor to have these them as a working document within their organizations.
These policies have been put in place after a risk assessment revealed that Organizations can be of high risk to children when they are not knowledgeable on issues of child protection. Safeguarding therefore entails prevention, and response when providing services to children.
In Cameroon, the EDID program is implemented in 9 regions through Partner Organizations (POs) with the CBC Health Services extending to all 10 regions through facility/community based services. All staff within the CBC Health Services and by extension those of all POs and Service Providers are expected to abide by the code of conduct intended to safeguard children.
The West Region as a pilot to implement this project has effectively embraced and is implementing the Disability Inclusive Child Protection Initiative, and there are hopes to scale this up to all 10 regions of Cameroon.
Addressing the 26 participants during the Training, the representative of the Director of Health Services, Mr. Fambombi Dickson, who is the Administrator of the Bafoussam Baptist Hospital thanked partners for their efforts towards Child Protection and Child Safeguarding in the exercise of their work in their respective organizations and communities. He called on them to be attentive during the training to gain the rich knowledge that will impact the project implementation, positively.
The Training had as lead facilitator Mme. Nsono Josephine, Gender and Child Protection Supervisor of the CBC Health Services, and Lawyers of the Disability Inclusive Child Protection Initiative Barrister Kameni Gerard and Barrister Bena Niba Nchotu Easter (represented).
At the end of the workshop all participating organizations will review and adjust their Safeguarding Policies to be compliant with the requirements of the Liliane Foundation (LF), the funding partner and the CBC Health Services which is the Strategic Partner Organization to LF.