International Day for the Protection of Children 2024

Catalpa's commitment to children through quality education and health programming

Education & Skills Training
Social Protection
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Sharon Edington

Catalpa believes that every child has the right to be safe from harm and recognizes that children face abuse and exploitation in every country and culture around the world. That is why Catalpa wants to address the root causes that lead to children being vulnerable, including lack of education and lack of access to health services. By tackling the root causes of vulnerability and building systems that can withstand these challenges, we aim to help children not only survive but thrive.

Catalpa’s work aims to create environments where children can develop and grow. This involves implementing comprehensive programs that improve educational opportunities, ensuring children receive quality education that equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed and protect themselves.

Additionally, Catalpa focuses on improving access to health services, recognizing that healthy children are better able to attend school, learn, and grow into healthy adults. By enhancing both education and healthcare access, we focus on creating environments where every child can reach their full potential, free from abuse, and with access to the resources they need.

Education is key to break the cycle of vulnerability

In the Pacific, education is essential for children to reach their full potential. When girls don't complete their education, it has a significant impact on teenage fertility rates. Studies show that higher secondary school enrollment for girls is linked to lower rates of adolescent pregnancy. Globally, the evidence shows that better-educated young women tend to delay childbearing, leading to better health outcomes for themselves and their children.

We know that education is a powerful tool to improve the lives of individuals and communities and our Pacific eLearning Program (PeP) emphasises equal access for all students, boys and girls, rural and remote to high quality secondary science teaching. Leveraging our Pacific Learn app, the program effectively and efficiently delivered professional development and teaching resources to teachers. The results of the program were that students in four Pacific countries were more engaged and interested in science with a better understanding of practical concepts that will help them be confident and critical thinkers.

We believe child protection starts with the family, as evidenced in our Jerasaun Foun program which supports nutrition, education and development of Timor-Leste’s youngest citizens by enabling the Government of Timor-Leste with their provision of regular cash payments. This social protection program aims to improve national nutrition, health, education and poverty outcomes through the delivery of a monthly cash payment to pregnant women and parents of children 0-6 years old.

Liga Inan, meaning "connecting women" in Tetun, is a groundbreaking digital health initiative that equips mothers with essential information for a safe pregnancy and childbirth. This initiative revolutionizes communication between healthcare providers and expectant mothers, promoting safe childbirth in health facilities or at home under the care of skilled professionals. Timely reminders or ‘nudges’ guide mothers and midwives through critical stages, including birth preparation, postpartum care, and infant vaccinations.

Investing in child protection is about more than meeting immediate needs; it’s about creating a foundation for long-term development and stability. Catalpa is committed to working with local partners and communities to develop solutions that ensure a safer, more equitable future for all children. Through our efforts, we hope to break the cycle of vulnerability and build a world where every child has the opportunity to succeed.

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Our Commitment to Children's Safety and Wellbeing

Catalpa is dedicated to creating an environment where children are safe, supported, and able to flourish. By embedding these principles into our work, we aim to protect and empower children, ensuring their rights and well-being are at the forefront of everything we do. Our programs include health, social protection and education across the region, all aiming at ensuring children get the best start in life.

Catalpa has a strong policy commitment to providing a safe environment for any children with whom we come into contact. This is achieved through the implementation of child-safe practices within our culture, programs, activities, policies, and procedures. Our aim is to ensure that children are protected from abuse and exploitation in all aspects of our work.

Guided by International Principles

Our child safeguarding policy is aligned with the international legal framework for child protection as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We are guided by its four key principles:

  1. Survival and Development: Ensuring that every child has the opportunity to grow and develop in a safe environment.
  2. Best Interest of the Child: Prioritizing the needs and welfare of children in all our actions and decisions.
  3. Non-Discrimination: Treating all children equally, regardless of their background, and ensuring they have equal access to protection and opportunities.
  4. Children’s Participation: Encouraging and respecting the voices and opinions of children in matters that affect them, empowering them to be active participants in their own protection.

To uphold these principles, Catalpa has integrated child-safe practices into every aspect of our operations. This includes:

  • Training and Education: Providing comprehensive training for all personnel on child safeguarding practices.
  • Policy Implementation: Establishing and enforcing clear policies and procedures that prioritize the safety of children.
  • Monitoring and Reporting: Implementing robust systems for monitoring compliance with our child safeguarding policies and for reporting any concerns or incidents of abuse.

Catalpa is dedicated to creating an environment where children are safe, supported, and able to flourish. By embedding these principles into our work, we aim to protect and empower children, ensuring their rights and wellbeing are at the forefront of everything we do.

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