Do you know that in the midst of a courageous, but battling child protection system in South Africa, there is also a great opportunity? That opportunity rests in the potential for ECDs, schools and NPOs to be empowered as key outreach centres for child protection.


NPO and ECD staff as well as teachers play an important role in connecting with families on a daily basis. Through daily community- and education services, NPO leaders, teachers and ECD practitioners have the opportunity to be important bridge-builders by linking children and their families to the relevant community resources and statutory services.


In celebrating child protection month in May, we would like to share five ideas on how NPOs, schools and ECD practitioners can grow as child protection ambassadors:

      1. Develop and implement a child protection policy for your own organisation
        In growing as a child protection ambassador, it is important that every NPO, school and ECD centre is a safe space for children. An important step towards that goal is to develop and implement a child protection policy. A contextualised policy will help you to ensure proper screening of your staff and volunteers; provide guidance on interacting with children; help your organisation to put safety measures in place as well as to report child abuse correctly.It will also help your organisation to align with important legislation.

      2. Identify and report child abuse

        A second important step is to equip your staff with the necessary skills on identifying and reporting child abuse through a step-by-step approach. To make this practical, it is recommended that each community-based organisation appoints an internal child protection officer who can lead this process within the organisation.

      3. Create awareness on child protection resources

        Another idea is to create awareness on child protection resources. This can easily be done through the display of child protection posters and the sharing of hotline numbers. For example did you know that Childline’s new number is 116 and that you can report all concerns around potential human trafficking cases at the South African National Human Trafficking Hotline number by phoning 0800 222 777?

      4. Empower children and parents with protective behaviour skills

        In addition, it is a great idea to empower children and parents with important knowledge on child protection and children’s rights. Why not invite a local social worker or child protection role-player to present a session on how parents can safeguard their children both in person and online? Or what about implementing a child protection campaign to equip children with protective behaviour skills? In addition, important child protection information can be shared via the organisation’s social media pages.

      5. Ensure an integrated, coordinated response

        Lastly, an integrated, coordinated response to child protection is needed on all levels. If NPOs, schools, ECDs and child protection stakeholders take hands and work together with the best interest of children in mind, so much more can be achieved. Although this journey may be an uphill battle at times, through continuous engagement, communication and collaboration, the quality of services to children can be so much better.

    An investment in children’s well-being now is an investment in our society’s future.

    Let’s make this opportunity count.


    For more child protection resources, ideas and protocols, please visit our website.