Plan International USA’s protection programming is designed to create child-safe communities free of violence and exploitative harmful practices that are conducive to overall child development and growth.
We adopt a comprehensive system approach to protection, focused on preventing, responding to, and resolving the abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence experienced by children in development and emergency settings. Through this systems approach -- which brings together functions and structures including services, laws, and policies -- our work strives to ensure that all children are free from violence.
To this end, there are changes in four groups of actors that we believe are fundamental to create a supportive and protective environment.
- We work with communities so that they become havens of safety for children by strengthening tailored approaches to child protection. This work includes public information and awareness campaigns, collective discussions involving concerned communities, and capacity development for professionals working with and for children.
- To achieve change in children’s lives, we prioritize bolstering care and protection at home, creating partnerships with the state and local civil society organizations, and promoting positive parenting.
- Children are at the center of the protection system and are active contributors. We believe that with the appropriate encouragement and support, children contribute to their own protection. This principle is reflected in the participation of children in our programs and the formation of school clubs and student governments.
- By working with a wide range local and national government institutions, we support the active role and primary responsibility that governments have for appropriate legislation, law enforcement systems, the delivery of a wide range of services, and robust data collection.
Since 2006, we have been working on children’s rights to address the issue of violence against children. Through our flagship initiatives, we have tackled some of the root causes of violence through the Because I am a Girl campaign, worked to create non-violent environments through the Learn Without Fear campaign, and helped to make sure that all children have access to legal protection through the Count Every Child initiative. Extensive and individual child protection programs focus on specific instances of violence or groups of children such as child marriage, child trafficking, sexual violence, street children, and children affected by HIV.
Our programs are often supported by a range of professionals, volunteers, and community actors such as social workers, lawyers, teachers and nurses, village committees, religious and community leaders, and child peers. The participation of active civil society organizations, coordinated mechanisms and networks, and specialized budgets to support systems implementation feature prominently in our approach to creating viable and sustainable structures.
Mark Sweikhart, Senior Director - Education and ProtectionMore