Having a conversation with Lydia Gordon and Monica Nomlala about Protective Behaviours (PB) makes it clear how passionate they are about the internationally acclaimed personal life skills safety programme.
“It promotes personal safety with children. It can be applied in all settings; for children, adults, parents, professionals, workplaces …. and, it prevents abuse from happening.”
Lydia and Monica work for Give a Child a Family (GCF) and have, as part of their portfolio, several years of experience implementing PB in various ways. Recently, Lydia (with the assistance of Monica) trained two groups in the 1,5 days Level 1 workshop, which equips participants to deliver PB to others.
The groups compromised 9-10 people each and showed a wide range of diversity in age and experience; including child care workers, social workers, a community worker, teachers and a representative for faith-based organisations and a community-based organisation.
Lydia and Monica mention how both groups showed high energy levels and great participation, even though the topic was serious. Eye-opening realisations were made and comments like these were given:
“I knew about child rights, but that prevention can be done in this format is new to me.”
“I learned how to notice warning signs if a child cries for help or a child is being in any sort of abuse.”
PB empowers and teaches strategies that adults can teach all children they have in their environments in simple ways. Lydia points out that people can easily adopt elements of the programme, as it is relatable and is applied on a personal level. The aim of the programme is for all children to feel safe, to experience safer households and communities.
Aligned with GCF’s objectives to create conditions necessary for the provision of nurturing care to support and sustain the development of children as well as strengthen child care and protection systems, PB undoubtedly fits in. The programme helps to ensure that children and families can live their best lives, that they are protected and will have opportunities to thrive to their full potential.
So, what impact has PB had on the ones GCF has reached already? Lydia and Monica have much to say on the topic. Examples of what they bring up is howinformation sessions, awareness sessions and the 10-lesson programme have led to that people, children and adults, take ownership of their new knowledge and really understand how it works. “They have become the boss of their own bodies.” Practitioners have completed the Level 1 training and as a result, creche’s (pre-schools) have created safe policies and staff have been screened against the National Child Protection Register. A local cultural organisation equipped learners from different schools with PB, creating a safer school and community. Community-based organisations have made sure that their whole staff compliment has been trained. Monica mentioned how she facilitated the full course in support groups for foster parents, where they realised that some of them or someone they knew, had been targets of grooming and abuse when they were children, but that they had not been aware of how to react. Today they know.
As an ending to our conversation, Lydia and Monica say that “PB should be facilitated wherever children are. In every space, it needs to be filtered through. For the well-being of the nation, everyone must learn to respect and value each other. It is a toolkit on your life journey. It is a necessity, that must not be left at home.”
It is evident that if one has embraced the PB programme, one will never be the same again. It will become a lifestyle. Answer these questions; are you a parent? Do you work with children? Do you know children? Then, this is for you!
For more information about GCF go to: www.gcf.org.za We can also be found on other social media platforms (@GiveChildFamily).