Following the workshop that took place from 11th February to 25th February, 2017 in the Catholic diocese of Malindi, Kenya, members recommended that AMECEA should establish a framework on Child Protection Policy from which each Bishops’ Conference or diocese within the region will draw guidelines that would safeguard and protect children and minors from abuse.
The workshop which brought together 35 members from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and AMECEA Secretariat was a learning forum for participants, most of whom were actively engaged in issues of Child Protection. Further to this members shared comprehensively child rights as well as prevention and response to child abuse.
As a follow up to this, the Pastoral Department has organized a session intended to develop guidelines for nurturing and safeguarding children from 1st May to 5th May, 2017 at JJ Mc Carthy Retreat Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
While focusing on professionalism, the criteria for choice of the members to come for this session considered the following: Members who work with departments that deal directly with matters of children’s affairs; for instance departments of Education, Pastoral, Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Missionary Society; Individuals who have special interest and passion in children’s affaires; And finally individuals whose position opens a window for them to reach out to children and vulnerable communities.
The process of coming up with this policy framework has been carefully designed to provide adequate consultation for all stakeholders at Regional and National levels. Despite this rigorous consultative process, the Policy at Regional level will only be a framework and a guide from which each conference will be drawing its policies based on the needs assessment of their local situation.
By Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Chimombo-Pastoral Coordinator.