Child protection workshop
Equipping caregivers to prevent child abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic
In March 2020, Honduras confirmed its first cases of COVID-19 on the same day the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. The Honduran government quickly imposed a series of measures to contain the spread of the virus, including restrictions on movement and widespread business closures. Both the disease and the measures taken have dramatically impacted the health, well-being and livelihoods of millions of vulnerable people.
Many Compassion-assisted children in Honduras are living in conditions of extreme poverty, with families sharing very small living quarters. During stay-at-home orders, many caregivers lost their means of earning income, placing families under immense strain. Sharing cramped living spaces with multiple family members for days on end was an added burden, and many children’s caregivers were struggling to cope. Pandemic restrictions also meant that children could not go to school or their Compassion centres, where they would be able to receive the attention, care and influence of other adults.
Children living in poverty are already at high risk of experiencing abuse and exploitation. During the pandemic, these risks became alarmingly heightened. Our church partners recognized the imminent threat to children’s well-being and wanted to act preventively by educating caregivers on the importance of child protection and how to prevent abuse at home.
With your generous support, we were able to distribute educational materials on child protection to 46,000 families from 219 Compassion centres across Honduras. For this intervention, Compassion partnered with El Movimiento con la Niñez y la Juventud (The Movement With Children and Youth), an organization that helps churches and other Christian institutions across Latin America and the Caribbean implement comprehensive child protection measures.
The organization had already been working on educational kits designed to help families cope with the pressures of the pandemic. Our National Office was preparing to print and distribute the materials when hurricanes Eta and Iota struck in November 2020. The impact of the storms was severe, leaving many families displaced indefinitely and further amplifying threats to children’s physical and emotional well-being. These catastrophic events required us to shift our focus to address the current needs in response to the hurricanes. In addition to providing emergency aid, our partners wanted to help families recover emotionally and psychologically from these devastating disasters. Working with a Child Protection Specialist, a team from Compassion’s National Office in Honduras conducted a comprehensive review of the educational materials and made a series of revisions and additions designed to support families with trauma recovery following the hurricanes. Fourteen church partners formed health promotion teams to coordinate the implementation of the activities led by the health specialists. The health promotion team created several educational videos and other resources to provide an overview of relevant statistical data on child and family violence and present protocols for responding to abuse, as well as establishing a biblically-based approach to child protection. Seventeen partnership facilitators and all 219 centre directors participated in this training.
Next, 947 centre tutors participated in three-hour online training sessions. Additional resources such as attendance control and a guide to developing the workshops and lesson formats were created to help tutors facilitate rolling out the program to caregivers. The revised educational kits were then printed and distributed to churches, who were responsible for delivering them to each family. Caregivers attended training sessions to go through the lessons from the booklets. Families also received routine charts to help them establish a daily structure during their time at home together. Since Honduras was still dealing with the pandemic and the aftermath of the hurricanes, churches maintained flexibility in rolling out the three training workshops to caregivers on their own timeline. The training team and Child Protection Specialist periodically reinforced the use of the Methodological Guide to facilitate the implementation. This guide demonstrated the use of generating questions, the use of story telling to illustrate key points and promoted assigning activities to caregivers to help them implement what they had learned.
During the course of this intervention, three cases of abuse that had not yet been reported to the church were also identified. Compassion’s Child Protection Specialist is working with churches to ensure that these children’s families continue to receive additional monitoring and support.
In addition to the amendment to the timeline for dealing with COVID-19 restrictions and the aftermath of the hurricanes, the budget and scope was also adjusted to cover the cost of medical bills and treatment for two pastors and two church members who contracted COVID-19. Thankfully, all four individuals fully recovered.
Child protection materials: Thousands of informational booklets covering a series of lessons on child protection and abuse prevention were distributed to families across Honduras. Families also received routine charts to follow at home. The health team also developed several educational videos to help caregivers learn effectively.
Family care workshops: Centre staff provided three educational workshops to caregivers about healthy family care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caregivers learned how to prevent child abuse, healthy ways to manage conflict and how to report abuse. Some churches held workshops in their facilities while others met in open spaces.
Hygiene kits: Families also received hygiene kits when receiving their child protection materials. Kits contained things like antibacterial gel, detergent, chlorine, liquid soap, and masks.
Your Gift Provides...
Child protection training materials for caregivers in Honduras, including:
• Printing of 138,000 booklets for 46,000 families (three booklets per family)
• Distribution and shipping costs
• Medical expenses for two pastors and two church members who contracted COVID-19
o Treatment, including medicine and oxygen
o Medical exams
ReportA message from a caregiver
We felt unable to continue with our normal lives as before the pandemic. We were daily afraid of the things that could happen during the pandemic. We were afraid in all senses: afraid of getting the disease and uncertain about the future.
During the pandemic, we faced many challenges in different areas. These challenges made us approach God more and pursue mental health to face the damages or fears. Through the workshops, we were able to have new health mechanisms for our lives and do activities that helped us relax in the midst of daily coexistence at home with our family. The church and centre have taught us how to put into practice the principles of faith, and to meditate on the blessings that we have received from God: His light, His strength, His goodness and His support, and above all, the Word of God.
It is a great blessing and a privilege to be able to belong to this project. All activities impacted me and taught me to handle different situations at home with the family, how to use the strength that God gives us in the positive upbringing of our children, and to see the capacities and needs of our children. We have learned to be able to cope with the adversities of life with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ in these times of the pandemic, and with the help of the church and the centre.
We sincerely thank you for your generosity and kindness to our children, and may God continue to bless you every day.
ReportThank you for your generosity
Compassion believes that all children deserve access to holistic care that honours their physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual needs. With your help, we were able to provide thousands of parents and families in Honduras with vital child protection education and mental health support during an incredibly difficult time.
Through this intervention, parents and caregivers are learning to establish daily routines at home. This is helping families maintain a sense of order and structure, which is a key part of supporting mental and emotional health. Children and youth have also been encouraged to take responsibility for household chores, alleviating the burden on caregivers.
Families who live in poverty are often focused on providing for their most basic needs and can struggle to communicate effectively with one another or prioritize recreational activities. Through this training, which reinforces the importance of healthy communication and family time, parents are learning how to resolve conflicts without violence and that children have the right to communicate their needs and concerns. Parents are also learning that children need to feel known, loved and protected, and that they play a vital role in ensuring their children can develop in a healthy way.
Breaking generational cycles of abuse and neglect doesn’t happen overnight, and there is much work yet to be done. As pandemic response efforts shift towards recovery and rebuilding, our partners in Honduras are looking to develop sustainable strategies that can reinforce child protection measures through ongoing education for parents. They are so grateful for your gift, which has helped launch an incredibly important initiative. Thank you for your generous support!
ReportA message from a centre director
The workshops aimed at child protection aspects under the disaster framework have been very appropriate for our parents. We have had very good responses and acceptance from several parents who experienced an impact on the topic “Familias Saludables” (Healthy Families). They were aware of the weaknesses they had. A father of one child approached to let us know that he read the material, even when it was his wife who attended the workshops. He found an area that he was failing in and decided to make changes to improve his treatment of his children. We have had good attendance and acceptance by the caregivers to the workshops, a greater commitment from the members of the church, and improved responses in some special cases.
Our ability to support caregivers on this topic has been strengthened. During this intervention, we were able to train caregivers through the lessons provided by the National Office, and perform activities assigned after each workshop. Besides, we had a thanksgiving time and rewarded parents who carried out the activities. This was very useful, and we were able to get the whole team involved. We have expanded our knowledge and acquired other skills.
Thank you for the support in this area that can be very weak in our homes due to the context of our country. For years, we have focused our efforts on working only with the child, but we have seen the need to work with the parents. This intervention has come at a necessary time due to the pandemic situation.