About the conference

What is Safeguarding?

Children face a number of risks of abuse but some of these risks are caused by contact with, or impact upon, children from organisations and institutions – whether this is from staff, programmes or operations.

All organisations and institutions that work or have contact with, or whose programmes and operations impact upon, children must Do No Harm. This means ensuring they are keeping children safe by implementing reasonable measures to ensure that the risks of harm to children's welfare are minimized, taking action to address any concerns about children, ensuring all staff and associates are aware of their responsibilities to safeguard and protect children and ensuring that safeguarding measures are integrated into the services they offer, the programmes they implement or the business activities they are engaged with.

Over the last 5 to 10 years Keeping Children Safe standards have been implemented in many parts of Africa through support provided by donors, International and National NGOs, UNICEF and national governments.

And yet challenges remain on keeping children safe which need addressing. This conference is designed to identify the specific challenges of, and potential solutions to, creating safe environments for children in Africa.

Our conference theme is "Keeping Children Safe in Africa: Identifying and Addressing the Challenges” and the sub-themes are:

  • The African context for children - the challenges of safeguarding children within this context
  1. Practices and beliefs in Africa which cause harm to children – the challenges of addressing these through organisational safeguarding measures 
  2. Children in conflict and emergencies – what challenges exist now for children’s safety in African conflict and emergency situations
  • Accountability for children’s safety: who is responsible and are they meeting their obligations?
  1. Government responsibility for children’s safety – what are governments’ responsibilities, what are the challenges in meeting them, what do governments need to do differently
  2. Role of the private sector – what impact does the private sector have on children’s safety, how can companies adhere to the Child Rights and Business Principles in the African context
  3. Faith and traditional leaders – what are their responsibilities, what challenges do they face in meeting them, what do they need to do differently 
  4. The aid and development industry over a decade later – how are organisations working in Africa meeting their responsibilities over a decade since international standards for keeping children safe were introduced                  
  • Creating safer environments for children - tools, resources and approaches
  1. Funding for Africa – who funds organisations to keep children safe, what needs to change in the funding environment to ensure organisations can meet their responsibilities  
  2. Workshops to build capacity to create safer environments for children in Africa

The conference will bring together the key stakeholders responsible for safeguarding children to discuss the challenges being faced by organisations in preventing harm to children in the African context, agree on concrete actions to address the challenges and support to key stakeholders to meet their commitments and obligations to create safer environments for children.

Who should attend: Guidance for participants

Is your organisation responsible or committed to ensuring you Do No Harm to, and create safe environments for, children in Africa?

Most organisations have contact with, or impact upon, children.

  • Government departments develop policies and services which benefit directly or indirectly children and their families. Those services need to be safe for children.
  • Most NGOs working with families and communities will also be working with children, even if the organisation’s beneficiary group is not children. NGOs need to ensure that their programmes, operations and staff are safe for children.
  • Private sector companies impact on children. Infrastructure and construction schemes often impact on the communities where these projects are taking place. The company’s operations and staff need to be safe for children.
  • Donors help determine how organisations design and develop the work being funded. Donor policy and approaches to funding need to include provisions for keeping children safe.

If you and your organisation are working with, or your policies and practices impact upon, children in Africa you should attend this conference to understand better how to create safe environments for those children and ensure you Do No Harm.

What will you achieve from this conference

  • First regional conference on organisations responsibilities for creating safe environments for children
  • Starting with local experiences rather than theory and addressing controversial and sensitive topics on child harm in Africa
  • Participatory format – more contributions from those who work directly with children