A busy few days with a peaceful backdrop!

An article by Tim Flynn – Africa Manager

From 30th Nov to 4th December 2016 26 people attended the VMM Gathering and Workshop at Bagamoyo in Tanzania. The volunteers travelled from South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia. Bagamoyo on the Indian Ocean provided a peaceful and tranquil backdrop for what was a busy 4 days. The workshop theme was Safeguarding and was ably facilitated by one of VMMs Safeguarding mentors Emily Hosford and long time VMM friend from Kenya, Eunice Majuma.  Louise facilitated a self care session, technology allowed John Denny to Skype the group for a session on where VMM currently is and is heading and throughout the 4 days VMs were able to get one to one time with team members Louise, Van and Tim. Much sharing on the workshop theme and volunteer experiences took place over the few days as well as formal sessions from Rachael Kavanagh, Melissa Scott and Marcelo Navarro about the specific projects they work on.

VMMs Safeguarding Programme

Since 2009 VMM has increasingly been involved in different phases of Child Safeguarding work with our volunteers and partners. From 2015, with support from Misean Cara, VMM has been implementing our Safeguarding Mentoring programme which has built upon this earlier work. The programme provides 2 full time Child Safeguarding Mentors to Partners in East and Central Africa. On a roaming basis, they visit partners, with one mentor, Emily Hosford, facilitating child safeguarding audits and assisting those involved in safeguarding with the VMM Partner organisations to develop work plans and to roll out recommendations from the audits.  Through use of risk assessments and a compliance questionnaire this has assisted in increasing VMM’s understanding of the level to which policies and procedures are being adhered to and where support is needed. Partners Child Safeguarding Checklist are reviewed and partners are encouraged to consider that their Child Safeguarding policies are amended to include protection of Vulnerable Adults. The programme supports newly appointed Designated Officers who have not yet received appropriate training to undertake the online Kimmage Open and Distance Education (KODE) training in Child Protection in Development Practice. The work of the second mentor, Eilis McDonald, involves Positive Discipline methods and techniques in primary schools through training of positive discipline mentors, school teaching staff training programme and workshops. This work builds upon a number of years of VMM and Misean Cara work supported in Fort Portal in Uganda. In addition to using materials produced by local Ugandan organization Raising Voices  radio and drama also provide the message in an informative, educative and effective way. The programme also encourages  our partners to look at Inclusive Education and Education for all, assists protection officers in Kenya and Uganda to access counselling supervision and facilitates networking with local organisations and connecting of partner staff to them. In addition programme utilizes technology and social media platforms like What’s App and Facebook to share tools, resources, experiences and promote a network for good safeguarding practice.

VMM Safeguarding Mentor, Emily Hosford, during safeguarding training with Kenyan VMM partners.

VMM Positive Discipline Mentor, Eilis McDonald, with two Ugandan trained mentors Tadeo Bwenyondo and Vincent Byaruhanga carrying out training in Kitale, Kenya in July 2016

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