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Documentation

National NGO Coalition Building to mark
World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse
19 November 2002

A Guide for NGOs

By: Elly Pradervand, Executive Director
Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF

Introduction: Millions of girls and boys are being used daily in prostitution, pornography, trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. Research has shown that abused and exploited children often become either abused and exploited adolescents and adults or abusers and exploiters themselves.

Purpose of the World Day: Enable organizations and networks to become powerful advocates for the creation of a culture of prevention of child abuse worldwide. Our commitment to combat sexual abuse of children is based upon a firm belief in child rights and the urgent need to better protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse in all countries.

NGO coalitions emerge in reaction to a need. They offer a different process than governments, which they seek to influence by educating and mobilizing the grassroots. By inviting relevant NGOs to create National Coalitions to mark the World Day, WWSF hopes to catalyze an annual dynamic process focusing on prevention education, protection skills and rehabilitation measures for the abused; remind governments of their obligations inherent in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, hold them accountable to their promises made at the UN Special Session on Children (May 2002) where they made an explicit promise to protect against abuse, exploitation and violence, and to generate national media interest for the World Day.

Why create National NGO Coalitions to mark the World Day: To address the increase of child abuse and its negative impact on children and society as a whole and act as a catalyst for change; to bring together organizations that share a common concern for prevention of abuse, protection of children's rights and their well-being, and for effective rehabilitation programs. Coalitions generally outweigh what one individual member cannot achieve and serve as a platform for focused action by all interested partners; coalitions bring together a range of expertise and experiences, enhance the capacity of individual members through the sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences. Coalitions raise awareness in the public at large and also help mobilize funds for child right's activities.

The power of coalition campaigns
The power of coalition campaigns depends on the number of organizations you can reach which in turn depends on the number of people you can employ to work on the campaign, which is in part determined by the amount of funds you can raise to powerfully organize an annual campaign. The use of Internet has dramatically reduced these costs, however, a critical amount of funds is still needed to reach grassroots organizations not yet connected to Internet.

WWSF is inviting governments, foundations, NGOs and civil society at large to sponsor WWSF's annual World Day campaign program to create and increase national NGO coalitions that will use the Day as a rallying point in the creation of a culture of prevention. We are grateful to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC for their generous support last year to launch the international NGO coalition campaign.

Challenges: Coalitions are sometimes vulnerable to competition between members and disparities in the size and influence of member organizations. This can lead to tensions between coalition members and also to the danger of pedophile infiltration.

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Objectives of the workshop include:

  • Present the opportunity of organizing annual awareness campaigns on World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse - 19 November;
  • Increase education on prevention and protection skills worldwide;
  • Empower NGOs and networks at national level, strengthen partnerships with Governments for collaborative action to address and help eliminate sexual abuse of children.
  • Create local and national programs for social mobilization and events on the World Day, and invite the media and relevant groups to announce regular prevention messages including TV-spots and interviews;
  • Develop Progressive Action Plans and address the situation and rehabilitation of child victims;
  • Remind governments and the public at large of their crucial role in protecting children from all forms of abuse and exploitation, especially sexual abuse, as laid down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, articles 19 and 34;
  • Invite coalition members to join the NGO Group for the Convention of the Rights of the Child;
  • Bring information to the international treaty body (legally responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child) and to UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, about violations of children's rights and knowledge of abuse and exploitation in your respective countries.

Outline of steps to implement a national coalition:

  • Organize a group with relevant organizations working on prevention of child abuse and exploitation
    1) Select a coordinator
    2) Expand knowledge of the issue
  • Prepare and execute a program
    1) Set goals and strategies
    . The group should agree on the goals and they should be realistic and attainable.
    . Brainstorm or think and talk about ideas from various members.
    . Involve all members and eliminate competition and give everyone equal status.
    2) Develop a plan and budget
    - How will you reach your goals?
    - What type of publicity will you use?
    - Divide responsibilities
    - Set up a reporting system
    3) Keep on track
    - Keep records on the work and progress and on who is involved
    - Make a regular assessment; what works and what doesn't
    - Documentation is important
    - Recruit new members as you go on
    - Give feedback to members
    - Publish successes and thank you's
    - Thank people in groups for their participation no matter how small
    - Network with other organizations; unlikely prospects could end up being valuable participants
    - Publish an event impact report with recommendations to the Authorities

Summary: Traits of a well structured coalition

All key players or members are involved
Have a realistic strategy
Have an established shared vision and mission
Agree to disagree
The group makes promises that can be kept
Ownership is built at all levels
Distribute leadership
Changes are made when necessary
Successes are publicized

Basic checklist for forming a coalition

Determine the focus
Find potential coalition members to join in marking the day
Identify your target audience (public at large, schools, NGOs, media)
Initiate a first planning meeting
Ensure follow-up activities, manage eventual changes, include new ideas and members.

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