Safeguarding Workshop held at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish Hall, Harare on Saturday, February 29, 2020

65 participants comprising of Child Protection Officers (CPOs), Headmasters, Matrons, Directors of works, Jesuits, religious and ZIM Commission members converged for the workshop organized by ZIM Province Safeguarding Commission. The participants were representing 43 structures of the ZIM Province in Zimbabwe which are parishes, schools, hospitals, social and spirituality centers, orphanages, and youth apostolate.

This workshop was a follow up on the three-day training workshop held at Silveira House in May 2019. Its two main aims were to review progress on the goals and tasks set in 2019 and to prepare a new roadmap for 2020 onwards.

safeguarding ZIM

Fr. Lawrence Daka, SJ, the ZIM Safeguarding Delegate and convener of the workshop, welcomed all participants and introduced the facilitators for the day, Mr. Musekiwa Makwanya and Mr. Alvord Sithole and they, in turn, introduced the programme for the day.

The Provincial Fr. Chiedza Chimhanda SJ emphasized the importance of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults by narrating a very moving story which highlighted various forms of abuse of which many could identify with as occurring all too often in our society. He explicitly reiterated the importance of the work being done by the province and endorsed it with the authority of not just his office but the office of the Superior General and indeed the Holy See.

Fr. Daka presented a recap of the work that has been done so far both at the province level, in the wider context of Africa and Madagascar and at the universal Society of Jesus. He also reminded participants of the goals expected to be achieved from the May 2019 workshop. This background provided the necessary yardstick against the next presentation by Mr. Makwanya. Through his presentation institutions could measure their progress or lack thereof and also identify the challenges in order to overcome them for better progress. He emphasized the Results-Based Management (RBM) approach as a way to guarantee that safeguarding work is done systematically, measurably and in a manner that enabled accountability.

Feedback from the first group discussions revealed that while most institutions had begun looking at child protection, a considerable number had hit some conceptual challenges and in many respects, this workshop was precisely what was needed to reorient the work right across the establishments be they schools, parishes or other places over which the Jesuits have some responsibility

ZIM workshop Group session during the safeguarding workshop

The main outcome of the day was the re-emphasis of a systematic way to do child protection. That is through the outlining of key result areas, right through the RBM approach to the setting of specific activities and their timelines. Participants expressed a general sense that the day had been extremely beneficial and that coming out of it, they had a renewed sense of both the work they do and how to do it. One of the most obvious ways was to have functional child protection committees that met regularly to review their work as well as to plan the next steps.