Welcome to the September 2020 issue of the Global Washington newsletter.
IN THIS ISSUE
- Letter from our Executive Director
- Issue Brief: How a Rights-Based Approach Protects Children During COVID-19
- Organization Profile: Covenant House Meets Vulnerability with Care
- Goalmaker: Mark Dasco, Director of Program Delivery Support for ChildFund International
- From Our Blog: “Years don’t wait for them”: 5 Things to Do Now to Protect Children’s Rights During Covid-19
- Welcome New Members
- GlobalWA Member Events
- Career Center
- GlobalWA Events
Letter from our Executive Director
Every society depends on its children growing up to be healthy, productive, and considerate adults. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified just over three decades ago, enshrined the rights that children have, not only to be protected from all forms of violence, but also for the right to realize their potential. It shouldn’t matter where they are born or what gender or circumstances they are born into.
Multiple targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also uphold this commitment to children’s rights. SDG 16 Target 2, for example, sets out to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children” by 2030, while SDG 8, Target 7 commits to ending child labor “in all its forms” by 2025.
In this month’s newsletter we examine a rights-based approach to ensuring that children all around the world are able to survive and thrive. You’ll learn how Covenant House is adapting its interventions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue supporting children and youth who have overcome homelessness and trafficking in six countries, including the U.S. Additionally, you’ll meet Mark Dasco, the director of program delivery support for ChildFund International, and this month’s Goalmaker. Mark has spent his career defending and advocating for children’s rights.
If this is a topic you care about, I hope you’ll join me for a virtual event on Friday, Sept. 25 on the alarming increase of child labor and other rights abuses during the ongoing pandemic. I’ll be joined by senior leaders of ChildFund International, Human Rights Watch, and Amplio.
How a Rights-Based Approach Protects Children During COVID-19
By Joanne Lu
Children may be at lower risk of death or severe illness from COVID-19. Nevertheless, the pandemic is threatening to reverse decades of progress made in protecting their rights globally. Because of the socio-economic fallout of the pandemic, billions of children are now at high risk of being forced into the labor market, as well as experiencing sexual exploitation, teenage pregnancy, early marriage, and domestic violence, and falling behind or dropping out of school.
Last year, the world celebrated 30 years since the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child – “the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history,” according to the UN. The treaty, which emphasized children’s rights to survival, development to their full potential, and protection against abuse, neglect and exploitation, paved the way for children to be recognized as “human beings with a distinct set of rights, instead of as passive objects of care and charity.” Although the U.S. has never ratified the treaty – and, in fact, is the only country not to do so – the UN says that the “unprecedented acceptance of the Convention clearly shows a wide global commitment to advancing children’s rights.”
That global commitment is also reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 16 Target 2, which aims to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children” by 2030. SDG 8 Target 7 also set a goal to end child labor “in all its forms” by 2025.
Over the last two decades, child labor worldwide has dropped by nearly 40 percent, according to the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO). Instead of working, tens of millions of children are in school, building better futures for themselves and their communities. And just last month, “the world reached an important milestone…in the fight to end child labor,” as Human Rights Watch put it, when all 187 member countries of the ILO committed to eliminate hazardous work that endangers children by ratifying ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.
Still, even before the pandemic, the ILO estimates 152 million children were engaged in child labor, and according to UNICEF, up to one billion children were subjected to physical, sexual or emotional violence or neglect in the past year. Then, COVID-19 hit, causing the worst global recession in decades and shuttering classrooms for 91 percent of the world’s students.
In times of economic hardship and insecurity – like the widespread job losses brought on by the pandemic, as well as parental illness and death – rates of child labor, trafficking and child marriage are likely to increase. According to Human Rights Watch, children who are out of school are also “far more likely to join the workforce, and the longer they stay out of school, the less likely they are to return.”
In this digital age, many schools have been able to switch to online and home learning, but it has been far from the perfect solution. According to a new report by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), when schools closed because of the pandemic, remote learning wasn’t an option for at least 463 million children, because they didn’t have access to the necessary technology and tools. But the report notes that the situation may have been even worse, because even with access, many children may not be able to learn at home because of competing factors, like chores, being forced to work, a poor environment for learning and a lack of support in navigating online or broadcast schooling.
In July, World Vision published a report, which found that due to “plummeting” household incomes and other “COVID-19 aftershocks,” 8 million children have been pushed into child labor and begging. The report includes a call to action to policymakers and other actors to scale up child-sensitive social protection programs, such as food, cash and voucher assistance, to help families meet immediate food, nutrition and income needs, and thereby reducing children’s exposure to violence, exploitation, begging, early marriage, forced labor and the likelihood that they will drop out of school. World Vision has also rolled out emergency cash programming to reach more than 4.4 people, including 2.2 million children, in more than 35 countries.
In addition to financial assistance, Human Rights Watch says that in order to prevent child labor, it’s also important to support decent employment for adults, ensure free primary and secondary education for children, and find innovative ways, including remote reporting, to monitor child labor.
Times of financial crisis also tend to increase rates of early marriage, as marrying off a daughter means one less mouth to feed, a way to repay debts or, in communities where a groom pays a “bride price” to a girl’s family, a source of income. In communities where a bride’s family pays the groom a dowry, a young, uneducated bride is usually much cheaper. In an effort to prevent child marriages during this crisis, Girl Rising’s partners in Kenya have created networks with community leaders who are keeping tabs on girls within their communities to ensure that the girls are not being married off and can return to schools when they reopen.
The UN has also reported that amid the stress, isolation and confinement of the pandemic, there’s been a global surge in domestic violence, with calls to helplines doubling and tripling in some countries. Combined with financial insecurity, Covenant House International says this trend means they’re expecting an uptick in youth homelessness. The organization, which offers housing and support for homeless, runaway and trafficked youth, has stepped up its services to make sure that vulnerable youth have a safe place to stay, especially because kids facing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to being trafficked.
But the pandemic has also changed the way that kids are being trafficked and exploited. Because kids are spending more time online for school and other activities while they’re home, criminal groups dedicated to sexual exploitation have intensified their use of online communication and exploitation. The European Commission reports that demand for child pornography has increased by up to 30 percent in some EU countries during lockdown. According to ChildFund International, exploiters are luring children to engage in online sexual exploitation and abuse by saying it’s a way for them to help support their family financially. But in many cases, victims’ own caregivers are the ones facilitating the exploitation because of financial insecurity. ChildFund International has been working with policymakers on this problem for years, but to combat the recent wave, the organization is reaching out directly to parents through webinars and celebrity-laden social media campaigns to teach them how to protect their children online.
But for millions of children living in refugee or internally displaced persons camps, or detained in the justice system, immigration detention or other institutions, their vulnerabilities, even to COVID-19 itself and other diseases, are heightened. During this time, the work of Kids In Need of Defense has not slowed, as they continue to advocate for the protection of unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children and provide pro bono legal representation for them.
In many ways, children are the most vulnerable amid this pandemic and its socio-economic fallout. But the solutions don’t have to be complicated, so long as we regard children as whole human beings with all the rights that entails. It’s more important now than ever that the international community continues to monitor issues like child labor, trafficking, early marriage and sexual exploitation and abuse. Additionally, if we provide children and their families with the financial support they need to get through this crisis, as well as safe, innovative ways to stay in school, kids may have the chance to show us they’re even more resilient than we know.
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The following GlobalWA members are working to uphold and defend the rights of children globally.
Worldwide, 570 million children live in extreme poverty, vulnerable to many factors that threaten their well-being. Children need protection, support and care at each stage of childhood to stay safe, healthy, learning and on track to achieve their potential. ChildFund works with local partner organizations, governments, corporations and individuals to help create the safe environments children need to thrive. As more children are spending unsupervised time online for remote learning and social connection, ChildFund is increasingly focused on prevention and responses to online sexual exploitation and abuse of children. The organization has been training parents on how to protect their children from online predators, as well as working with technology companies, governments, civil society, and the media.
Covenant House International
Covenant House has transformed the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people in 31 cities across six countries: the U.S., Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Covenant House uses a “continuum of care” model that includes mental health care, substance use treatment and prevention, education and job readiness programs, legal aid services, pre- and post-natal support for young mothers, and transitional and supportive apartment living programs. During the COVID-19 crisis Covenant House has been keeping its sites open 24-7, and repurposed physical space to accommodate sick or symptomatic youth, so even if they test positive, they still have a safe place to stay.
Friends of WPC Nepal
There has been a rise in human trafficking in Nepal, as people are desperate to make ends meet during the pandemic. Friends of WPC Nepal funds a safe home in Hetauda, Nepal, for 28 children who are at-risk or survived trafficking, and sends them to private school. The organization also provides scholarships for 58 children in the Hetauda community, as education combats the risk of trafficking and provides a better future. Friends of WPC Nepal also conducts a Trafficking Awareness and Child Rights program that reaches rural villages in Nepal where trafficking is prevalent. This program educates children and families on how to recognize deceptive promises from traffickers and to report it to community leaders and authorities. This program even led to the takedown of a well-established trafficking network.
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is the leading national organization advocating for the rights of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children in the U.S. In 2008, KIND was founded by the Microsoft Corporation and UNHCR Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie, to address the gap in legal services for unaccompanied minors. Through strategic partnerships, KIND provides pro bono legal representation for refugee and migrant children across the country. Over the past decade, KIND has expanded its services to develop a holistic strategy for addressing the needs of these children and the systemic causes of forced migration. This includes mental and social services, advocating for new law and policy in the U.S. and countries of origin, and educating policymakers and the broader public about these issues. To date, KIND has been referred to more than 20,000 children since 2009, has had over 50,000 training participants on how to represent children alone, and fostered over 644 legal partners.
Millions of girls around the world are kept out of school, married as children, abused, trafficked and discriminated against. Simply because they are girls. Girl Rising uses the power of storytelling to change the way the world values girls and their education. When girls are valued and educated they become women who are healthier, have fewer children, earn more, stand up for their rights and educate their sons and daughters equally. Families thrive. Communities, nations and the world are healthier, safer, and more prosperous.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world and directs its advocacy towards governments, armed groups and businesses, pushing them to change or enforce their laws, policies and practices. After having interviewed students, parents, and teachers in 55 countries about their experiences during the pandemic, Human Rights Watch warns that “[g]irls, children with disabilities, children living in poverty, and others are often at greater risk.” As leaders work towards a safe reopening of in-person schooling, here are five things Human Rights Watch recommends doing right away: First, schools that offer remote learning should reach out to students missing from online classes, try to help them re-engage, and provide remedial education. Second, illegal and arbitrary policies that were already keeping children out of school should be lifted. Third, school buildings must be protected, and fourth, affordable, reliable, and accessible internet service must be secured for all students. Finally, any technology recommended for online learning must protect children’s privacy rights.
Save the Children
Unprecedented in scale, COVID-19 is a global crisis that poses immediate threats to children’s rights to survival, development, learning, protection, and to be heard. Unless mitigated, the pandemic risks undermining progress made on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and puts an entire generation of children at risk of not fulfilling their potential. From the beginning, Save the Children has been working on the ground to ensure that children are protected. This includes providing learning materials for children out of school, working to protect children from violence, and training and supporting health workers in some of the most challenging places in the world. In September, Save the Children launched Protect a Generation, the largest ever global survey of its kind since the pandemic was declared. Covering 46 countries, with 31,683 parents and caregivers and 13,477 children (11-17 years old) participating, the survey revealed that the pandemic has had an especially devastating impact on the education of children from poorer backgrounds and is widening the gap between rich and poor and boys and girls. Two-thirds of the children had no contact with teachers during lockdown; 93 percent of households that lost over half of their income reported difficulties in accessing health services; and violence at home doubled during school closures.
Children continue to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted everything that we know is critical for children’s social, physical, mental and emotional development, learning and well-being. As a result of COVID-19, nearly 1.19 billion students in 150 countries have been affected by school closures; 80 million children in at least 68 countries may be at risk of diphtheria, measles and polio due to a decline in immunizations; and 369 million children have missed out on school meals. UNICEF contributes to both outbreak control and mitigation of the collateral impacts of the pandemic, including interruptions to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition, education, protection and essential social services for children, women and vulnerable populations. The organization is also striving to ensure children are protected at home and in the transition to online environments. To learn more, visit UNICEF’s page on protecting children’s rights: https://www.unicef.org/topics/childrens-rights
Covenant House Meets Vulnerability with Care
By Amber Cortes
Covenant House is one of the oldest and largest charities in America dedicated to helping children and youth overcome homelessness and trafficking. Though its roots are in Catholic social justice teaching, Covenant House serves all young people regardless of their backgrounds, religions, and beliefs.
Its constituency is huge—just last year Covenant House reached almost 74,000 youth in the U.S. and globally. The organization operates in 31 cities across six countries: the U.S., Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
And in fact, Covenant House has had an international presence for the past 40 years of its almost 50-year history—its second site was built in 1981 in Guatemala, as a response to the vast number of children left orphaned and homeless there during the civil war.
“We’ve actually been international from the very start,” says Chris Megargee, the Seattle-based Latin American Ambassador for Covenant House International. “And it’s kind of unique in that Covenant House is both a domestic and international NGO—there’s not a lot of organizations that fit that bill.”
Covenant House’s commitment to meeting the immediate, basic needs of youth experiencing homelessness in the U.S. includes both drop-in and residential centers.
“When a kid walks through our doors, we’re providing them food, a shower, clean clothes, medical attention, and a safe place to sleep,” explains Megargee. “But we are far more than just a homeless shelter. There’s a broad suite of programs that extends far beyond those immediate needs.”
These programs are part of what Covenant House calls the “continuum of care” model—an array of services, including mental health care, substance use treatment and prevention, education and job readiness programs, legal aid services, pre- and post-natal support for young mothers, and transitional and supportive apartment living programs. These services are provided on site by multi-disciplinary teams of doctors, lawyers, social workers, teachers, and addiction treatment specialists.
“We have a robust lineup of experts to address those broad needs along that continuum of care,” says Megargee.
Megargee describes the programs and services that Covenant House provides as being “very much trauma-informed,” and meant to operate as a bridge from homelessness to hope.
“Because the young people that we’re serving are coming from significant trauma—the trauma that led them to be on the streets, and then the trauma of their harsh life on the streets.”
When it comes to confronting homelessness abroad, Latin America presents distinct challenges for the organization, in a dramatically different socio-economic and political context—one with high levels of poverty, widespread violence, as well as gangs, trafficking, and migration.
Another big difference between Covenant House’s work in Latin America versus the United States is the average ages of youth. In the U.S., the age range of the youth Covenant House serves is between 18 to 22 years old. But in Latin America, the age range is younger—from 12 to 17 years old.
And most Latin American countries, Megargee points out, lack the kinds of social safety nets that exist in North America, like equivalent foster care systems. In the U.S., Covenant House’s focus is on preparing kids for independent living, while in Latin America, the focus is on family reintegration. This includes working with unaccompanied migrant youth who have either started on the migrant trail on their own and turned back because of the danger, or have been separated from family along the way.
Or even deported back by the U.S. In San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a town that borders Guatemala where deportees are dropped off by the busloads, Covenant House works with youth to return them to safe family members and situations. A family reintegration team then keeps track of their progress for two years afterwards to continue supporting them.
Covenant House operates as “Casa Alianza” in Nicaragua, Mexico and Honduras, and simply, “La Alianza” in Guatemala.
“We refer to them as our Casas,” explains Megargee.
Every night across all four Casas about 350 youth spend the night. And over the course of the year, the full breadth of Covenant House programs in Latin America reaches almost 8,000 youth.
“One thing that we always highlight with the work of the Casas is the level of literal heroism of the staff there,” says Megargee. “Because they’re often serving youth escaping from dangerous situations—gang threats, violence and trafficking—they’re doing their work in a context that puts them at great personal risk.”
For example, in Guatemala, Covenant House staff are working with youth to prosecute their abusers. They also created safe houses specifically for survivors of human trafficking to reside and heal. La Alianza in Guatemala is the only Covenant House site that serves only girls, most of whom have been victims of trafficking or sexual abuse.
In 2012, in Guatemala, La Alianza played a role in the creation of a new government office at the national level dedicated to fighting human trafficking, and was active in passing a national migratory code with a human rights lens, rather than just a security lens.
“Built into that code is recognizing that the issue of trafficking and the reality of migration go hand in hand,” says Megargee.
Since trafficking is big in border areas and towns along the migrant trail,
Covenant House also created a presence in Coatepeque, Guatemala, where it opened a drop-in center located in a very high-risk transit zone, frequented by traffickers and the unaccompanied migrants that they prey upon.
“It’s part of our way of trying to disrupt that machinery of victimization and abuse that happens in trafficking,” Megargee says, adding that each step forward helps “chip away” at the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.2—ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children.
On the advocacy level, Covenant House is busy chipping away as well—making shifts on that systemic level, through public education and prevention programs.
“Covenant House started in 1972 as a drop-in center in New York City,” says Megargee. “And now, we’re a movement.”
On the ground, street outreach teams connect with youth to build trust and get them off the streets. Covenant House staff also work with schools, communities, civic organizations, and government agencies to provide information and training on the risks of homelessness and how to spot signs of trafficking.
Despite some of the differences that cause unique situations in Latin America, like trafficking and migration, Megargee sees a common thread among homeless youth everywhere.
“If we think about the vulnerability of youth who are experiencing homelessness, and youth who are on the migrant trail, it’s a similar kind of vulnerability,” says Megargee.
And this kind of vulnerability has only become heightened in the age of COVID—especially for youth experiencing homelessness. Lack of food, health care, and the rough life of the streets leaves this population more susceptible to the novel coronavirus.
“That’s already their norm. And now the stress and anxiety induced by this pandemic on top of that is just unimaginable,” says Megargee.
In addition, jobs have been lost, college classes cancelled, and with the closure of schools, meal production across all Covenant House sites has gone up significantly.
“We’ve been serving 75% more meals because a lot of youth were getting food at school, or if they did have a job, they eat on the job.” Megargee says.
For Covenant House, a frontline organization responding to the crisis, this has meant keeping its sites open 24-7 throughout the pandemic. The organization has also repurposed physical space to accommodate sick or symptomatic youth—administrative spaces and offices have become wellness rooms or quarantine isolation spaces, so even if youth test positive, they can still stay at the site.
Luckily, out of the 2,000 youth sleeping at Covenant House every night across all the sites, only 75 youth to date have actually tested positive, and zero in Latin America—currently the global epicenter for COVID-19 cases right now.
But as is the case throughout the world, the headway that many NGOs and agencies have been making towards the Global Goals is now in jeopardy.
“And thinking back to the Sustainable Development Goals, it’s been this success story about global poverty, the numbers have been going steadily down,” says Megargee.
“But we’re losing ground now because of the pandemic, and certainly that’s the case in Latin America.”
The rise in poverty and hunger puts youth in dangerous situations where they can be preyed upon by traffickers. In fact, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported that the pandemic creates new opportunities to exploit vulnerable, economically disaffected youth.
But Megargee hopes that by recognizing the intersectionality among all 17 of the SDGs, progress can still be made—but only if everybody works together.
“Obviously, when we think about the SDGs, we’re thinking about scale, as well. When you look at that wording—’to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children’—what you realize is that the root causes need to be addressed.”
Confronting poverty and gender inequity, creating access to economic and educational opportunities, promoting good health and well-being—for any one of them to succeed, Megargee says, all of them need to be lifted up.
“And I think that’s the sentiment shared by my colleagues is that there are amazing agencies and NGOs at work on their respective slices of the SDG pie, if you will.”
“So, I have hope,” he adds. “I know we’ll make progress towards the goal. If not, we’ll just move the goalposts and keep working.”
Mark Dasco, Director of Program Delivery Support for ChildFund International
By Joanne Lu
Mark Dasco says that growing up in a poor family in a “far-flung village” in the Philippines taught him first-hand the realities of deprivation, exclusion, and vulnerabilities, but it also showed him just how resilient children and communities can be. But just because they are resilient doesn’t mean they should have to be.
Dasco is now the Director of Program Delivery Support for ChildFund International, and he works with Country Office teams around the world to implement strong core programs that address children’s experiences of deprivation, exclusion and vulnerability. But throughout his decades-long career, he’s remained grounded in his home country, where his career began and where he continues to live.
As a child, Dasco says his parents always pushed him to study, because they saw education as the key to success and getting out of poverty. So when he started his career, he decided to become a high school teacher. He spent three years teaching English literature, world literature, Philippine literature, and world history. But after a couple years, a friend convinced him to apply for a position with a child sponsorship organization. He thought his main responsibility would be translating children’s letters to their sponsors into English. But to his surprise, when he got the job, he was assigned to a remote village to facilitate child-centered community development. There, he helped marginalized families organize and mobilize to promote their rights, demand the basic services they deserved, and participate in and benefit from development programs.
“I realized that this job was still teaching and empowering people, but this time it was beyond the four walls of the classroom,” says Dasco.
Around this time, the UN also signed its landmark Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, which guarantees children’s rights to education, healthcare, play, and protection from violence. Dasco describes this as a pivotal moment in his career because he was among the first cadre of staff in the organization he was with at the time to become trained advocates of child rights. This experience was Dasco’s first introduction to rights-driven, community-led development work, where initiatives are not done out of pity for children and their communities, but because it’s their right. And development workers aren’t saviors bringing in solutions, but rather facilitators, helping communities drive their own development. These became values that Dasco has integrated into his approach to and practice of development work throughout his 25-year career.
Dasco first found his way to ChildFund International as a business development consultant in Timor Leste. After a few months, he became a program manager. But three months in, the 2006 East Timor conflict erupted, sparking violence and unrest throughout the country and turning his role into that of an emergency response team leader, including helping to create safe spaces for children to participate in psychosocial activities that provide them a much-needed routine and sense of normalcy.
When he finished his stint in Timor Leste, Dasco returned to the Philippines to work as a regional funding manager in the Asia-Pacific region for another organization. But it wasn’t long before he realized that he missed working closely with communities like he did with ChildFund. In his position, he felt detached from the work and its results. So when he saw another opening at ChildFund, he immediately applied and has been with the organization for nearly 12 years.
Even though in his various director positions, he doesn’t always get to work directly with children, Dasco finds real fulfillment in being able to improve the systems around children, because “development doesn’t always trickle down to children,” he says. Children don’t always directly feel the impact, get to participate in it or benefit from it, so he’s made it his life mission to change that.
For example, he says that at ChildFund, they always incorporate the voices and experiences of children into their programming. In Ecuador, for instance, teens are producing their own radio programs to discuss issues and concerns in the community. And in the Philippines a group of children with disabilities are taking the lead on their own community planning, community-based child protection initiatives, identifying issues and problems that impact them and suggesting solutions. Dasco says ChildFund is careful to always use child-friendly methodologies that are based on children’s capacity and developmental levels, that won’t jeopardize their safety, and that will build up their confidence to become their own advocates.
During the pandemic, much of Dasco and ChildFund’s attention has been on prevention and response to online sexual exploitation and abuse of children (OSEAC), as more children are spending unsupervised time online for remote learning and social connection. ChildFund has been hosting webinars and social media campaigns with technology partners that teach parents how to protect their children from online predators. In the Philippines, ChildFund has launched the #ShutdownOSEC campaign on social media with the country’s leading civil society network, where children urge the government to prioritize OSEAC and take stronger actions to address it. In Mexico, ChildFund established a relationship with the Mexican Center for Electronic Crimes against Minors (CENADEM), the government entity responsible for investigating online sexual exploitation and abuse of children. In Ecuador and Kenya, ChildFund is looking to build on its work through a series of initiatives to address increased risks of OSEAC due to COVID-19. The organization will conduct national assessments to identify gaps in OSEAC policies and knowledge, as well as gain an understanding of its prevalence in each country. Because the nature of OSEAC is continuously evolving, ChildFund plans to advocate for governments globally (including the U.S. government) to begin collecting data on OSEAC and its prevalence. Further, ChildFund has joined with technology companies, international alliances such as WePROTECT Global Alliance, civil society, and the media to address this problem.
Dasco was also recently appointed to the Philippines’ Council for the Welfare of Children Board, where he will continue to raise the issue of online sexual exploitation and abuse and advocate for addressing policy gaps, as well as increase the capacity of law enforcement to respond to it.
Currently, Dasco is also leading a task force that hopes to identify alternative program delivery tools that are “low-touch, high-tech, high impact” and, of course, safe for children. Although this task force is inspired by current limitations on interacting face-to-face with communities during a pandemic, it’s also a way for ChildFund to innovate by leveraging technology and partnerships to expand its reach to more children and families.
Dasco and the ChildFund team are looking forward to developing their new global strategy for the next 10 years. “We’re calling it our big, hairy and audacious goal,” Dasco says with a smile. “We’d like to reach 100 million children by 2030.”
From Our Blog
“Years don’t wait for them”: 5 Things to Do Now to Protect Children’s Rights During Covid-19
By Zama Neff
“It does not make me happy that my children are no longer going to school,” the mother of two preschool-age children in North Kivu, a conflict-affected region in the Democratic Republic of Congo, told us. “Years don’t wait for them. They have already lost a lot. . . . What will become of our uneducated children?”
Children around the world face an unprecedented threat to their human rights. Pandemic-related school closures have affected 1.5 billion students, placing children at immediate risk of labor exploitation, hunger, recruitment into armed groups, and, especially for girls, child marriage, and sexual violence. Two decades of gains in reducing child labor and increasing school enrollment are under threat. Read more.
Welcome New Members
Please welcome our newest Global Washington members. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with their work and consider opportunities for support and collaboration!
Child Foundation is an international charity organization that helps children living in poverty remain in school. The children sponsored through Child Foundation programs are high achievers, and many of them are orphans or children living in emergency situations. By enhancing the quality of life for children in need, as well as their respective families, Child Foundation actively helps them gain access to education. https://www.childfoundation.org/
CORE is the only player in its field that convenes the practitioners and public health professionals in global community health to share knowledge, evidence, and best practices, and then translates these into the real world with a direct impact, creating new standards in clinical and public health as it advances dialogue at the country and global levels. https://coregroup.org/
GAPPS – Global alliance to prevent prematurity and stillbirth
GAPPS seeks to improve birth outcomes worldwide by reducing the burden of premature birth and stillbirths. GAPPS is working to close the knowledge gap in understanding the causes of preterm birth and stillbirth and collaborating to implement evidence-based interventions to improve birth outcomes. https://www.gapps.org/
Save the Children
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since its founding more than 100 years ago, the organization has changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, Save the Children gives children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. The organization does whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. https://www.savethechildren.org/
September 12: Friends of WPC Nepal – Hope For Freedom Gala 2020
September 18: Spreeha’s Journey of Hope – Virtual Fundraiser
Bilingual Receptionist // Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)
Marketing and Communications Manager // Splash
Check out the GlobalWA Job Board for the latest openings.
September 25: Child Labor Increasing Amid COVID-19 Pandemic