In partnership with Valcare, Ezrah implemented the first year of the Drakenstein Child Protection Programme. This long-term programme forms part of Connect Network’s city-wide safe community strategy to implement 10 safe communities in the Western Cape and has two main projects: 1) The coordination of a child protection steering group and 2) the facilitation of a series of child-focused workshops and mentoring.

Project 1: Coordination of the Drakenstein Child Protection Steering Group

The steering group currently has the following member organisations that collectively work together with other child protection stakeholders to share child protection knowledge, protocols and resources:

Together we strengthen the child protection system in Drakenstein and raise awareness for child protection through various community initiatives. Some of the joint community initiatives during 2018 together with other stakeholders include celebrating child protection month, facilitating a community information session on the reporting of sexual offences against children (Ezrah, Matla-A-Bana and Valcare), hosting workshops on trauma (Salt and Light) and HIV (Kin Culture and MercyAids), supporting social workers through quarterly network breakfast functions (Valcare and Khula), facilitating parenting training (Paarl Youth Initiative and Khula), launching World Foster Day (Kin Culture and Kibwe Kids) and developing several protocols related to child well-being and protection (Khula, MercyAids and Ezrah). Khula DG, the Paarl Junior Town Council, Ezrah and several schools in Paarl collaborated in implementing a child participation project to promote school attendance. Our latest member, RUWAA who will be joining us in 2019 is hosting child protection workshops in Mbekweni.

Together we grow as child protection champion organisations by ensuring that our staff teams are properly screened and that we implement well-developed child protection policies within our respective organisations.

See a map of Drakenstein here.

Project 2: Facilitation of child protection workshops

Ezrah also facilitated the following workshops that were well attended by various NPO’s, ECD’s, social workers and other child protection stakeholders:

  • Parent mentoring workshop to strengthen parenting skills
  • Child protection workshop on the implementation of a child protection policy
  • Child participation workshop based on Ezrah’s LEAD model
  • Child protection empowerment workshop focused on combatting human trafficking, cyberbullying and sexual offences against children

Participants’ feedback on the impact of the programme

  • The programme has helped us to hold hands with other organisations and to be united in purpose, vision and resources is a win!
  • It motivates me to operate in excellence and to get things in place.
  • The programme is excellent, structured, motivational and well-focused on specific goals and outcomes. It is one of a kind child protection programme.
  • I have learned to acknowledge and not to overlook the small changes in service delivery and in the stakeholders and the community’s attitude.
  • I learned that I must implement the knowledge that I know to the children and I must be calm when solving problems.
  • I learned how to develop a child protection policy and the importance of health and safety or risk assessments.
  • Having a positive attitude is key. Sharing your knowledge and wisdom with others will always help build bridges regarding social or economical or political input.
  • I have learned the importance of the inclusion of children to promote solution-focused and empowered adults when they grow up.
  • The LEAD model is a well implemented framework to help with the development of children.

We are looking forward to next year where our steering group’s initiatives will be further strengthened by input from representatives of the North-West University, Good Hope Psychological Service and the Department of Social Development.