For a start, teachers in all Catholic primary and secondary schools in the Diocese of Wau will meet for a refresher training on Child Safeguarding Policy on Monday, April 26, a follow up of last year’s training, he said.
“From our statistics of last year, we have 25 Catholic schools in our Diocese. These are very many schools. In our workshop next week, we target 120 male and female teachers,” the South Sudanese Religious Brother said, and added, “After the teachers training, we are also going to train the Parent Teachers Associations (PTA) so that they know what is going on.”
Providing the inspiration behind the new Child Safeguarding document in the Catholic learning institutions, Br. Awash recalled, “We have learned that there are many child abuses and that is why we decided to have a framework against which children can be protected especially in our Diocese.”
Explaining the approaches adopted for effective implementation of the safeguarding policy in schools, the Catholic Officer of Programs for the education office in the Diocese of Wau, Zefferino Thomas told ACI Africa, “All the teachers who will be coming to work for us, whether a volunteer, employed, all will be required to first commit to the Child Code of Behavior.”
In the April 22 interview, Zefferino explained that all teachers working in the schools run by the Diocese of Wau will have to sign two papers, first declaring the commitment to act in the interest of child safeguarding, and the second one indicating a clean record and not having been involved in incidences of child abuse.
“In each school, we have a Child Protection Officer and any child abuse will be reported to that office and from the level of the Diocese, we have someone in charge of such matters and later to the higher authority,” he explained.
“From the level of school, the abuse will be forward to the Diocese and then if it is beyond, it will be automatically reported to the higher authority,” Zefferino told ACI Africa, and added, “The document was signed not only by the Diocese alone but together with the government through the ministry of Education and Gender, Child and Social Welfare.”
The Program Officer further explained that the Child Safeguarding document clearly defines the relationship between the children and the workers in the educational institutions in the Catholic Diocese of Wau.
In order to create awareness of the document, Zefferino said, “We shall have a tour to all the schools and create awareness with parents and the children, what to report, how to report, and who to report the abuse to.”
“The document is close to 200 pages but we will try to summarize maybe to about 15 pages and copies to be issued to teachers so that they are fully aware,” he said.