We speak out... We act and... We influence change
SOS Children’s Villages South Africa offers designed responses to children’s developmental needs, child rights violations, environmental changes and challenges in line with the National Government strategy. We are committed to ensuring the rights of all children by contributing to improving public policies and laws such as the country’s Children’s Act 38 of 2005 and subsequent amendments. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child form the foundation of our work. We work where we are needed most, as determined by the child rights situation of children.
The UN Guidelines for Alternative Care
The UN recognises that children who have lost parental care, or who are at risk of losing it have special rights to protection and quality care under articles 20, 21 and 25 of the UNCRC. These children are among the most vulnerable to violations of their human rights. We are guided by the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care for Children to which SOS Children’s Villages made key contributions, to ensure that children in our care are adequately protected and supported.
To achieve this, we work in partnership with governments, communities and other like-minded Non-Profit organisations to grow capacities to fulfil the provisions of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care for Children.
South Africa’s Constitution and the Rights of Children
Chapter 2, the Bill of Rights and Section 28 of the Constitution of South Africa of 1994 is specifically devoted to children. However, the rights listed in other sections also apply to children, example equality and equal treatment, unfair discrimination, life, privacy and education.
Our Child Protection Policy focuses on four key action areas:
Awareness, prevention, reporting and responding. We place special emphasis on awareness and prevention to safeguard children and improve the quality of the care they receive.
In case of a reported child safeguarding concern, it is taken seriously and addressed without delay. This means that:
- We build the capacities of co-workers, children, young people and families to recognise signs of abuse – and how to prevent it.
- We teach the use of tools such as positive discipline.
- We work to eliminate harmful cultural practices.
- Any reported child safeguarding incident or concern is carefully assessed and, based on the results of the assessment, concrete actions are decided and put in place.
REPORT A CHILD SAFETY CONCERN
SOS Children’s Villages strongly condemns all forms of violence and harm against children. Every SOS Children’s Villages’ co-worker, partner and associate has the responsibility to report any child safeguarding concern immediately. When we learn about a child safeguarding incident, we always act in the best interests of the child and strive to provide the necessary support to the child or young person. Whenever required by the law, we inform responsible child welfare authorities so they can act without delay. How do I report a concern? If you are an SOS Children’s Villages co-worker or associate, we encourage you to use internal child-safeguarding reporting channels. In every SOS Children’s Villages South Africa programme there is a team of well-trained co-workers able to manage and respond to reported child safety concerns. Anyone who supports or partners with the organisation (e.g. donors or business partners) can approach their contact person in SOS Children’s Villages to report concerns. You can also report child safeguarding concerns through our online reporting channel – anywhere, at any time, even anonymously. To make reporting as easy as possible for children as well, the online channel also provides a child-friendly reporting form in easy-to-understand language. The online reporting channel is available in English, German, French, Spanish,Russian and Arabic.
ADVOCACY AT SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGEs SOUTH AFRICA
At SOS Children’s Villages South Africa, we have a commitment to ensure the rights of all children. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and international frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals form the basis of our programme and advocacy work.
Through advocacy, we are able to reach children in our target group and those that cannot access our direct services. We are able to persuade the government, policy makers, institutions and the society to implement political, social, economic and cultural changes to benefit all children without parental care, who are the most forgotten and neglected group.
We speak out for children and help to inform communities and decision-makers about children’s rights. We encourage children to actively take part in the decision-making processes that affect their lives and, when possible, speak up for themselves and be heard.
We stand up for children’s rights through a range of actions geared at ensuring that all children see their rights fulfilled so they can live in dignity and thrive:
- We advocate for the implementation of children’s rights.
- We inform and raise awareness about children’s rights and the challenges vulnerable children are facing.
- We partner with other leading organisations and stakeholders to promote children’s rights to achieve the greatest possible impact for children.
- We share knowledge and shape discussions about improvement and innovation of alternative care.