News in South Africa
UNICEF and OLIVE LEAF Foundation collaborated during the world cup
OLIVE LEAF Foundation partnered with UNICEF during the World Cup
“An enduring legacy to protect children during the World Cup and beyond”
The hosting of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa during June and July 2010 attracted large numbers of local and foreign soccer supporters. To make it possible for millions of South African football fans and foreign supporters to watch the matches on television, FIFA declared ten official public viewing sites, known as FIFA Fan Fests, in all host cities.
UNICEF child-friendly spaces
UNICEF, in co-operation with the Government of South Africa and NGO partners such as the OLIVE LEAF Foundation, Child Welfare and Child Line established child-friendly spaces as part of a national child protection programme at four of the FIFA Fan Fests in three host cities for the duration of the FIFA World Cup to serve as a refuge for children who are at risk.
The establishing of child-friendly spaces formed part of a comprehensive UNICEF programme aimed at helping children and communities to celebrate the games in their schools and communities. In the longer term, the purpose of this project is to contribute to a strengthened child protection system as an enduring legacy of the event.
The child-friendly spaces were located at Innesfree Park in Sandton, Elkah Stadium in Rockville Soweto, St Georges Park in Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit.The child-friendly spaces comprised a dedicated, covered area that was UNICEF branded, and made provision for a reception area, counselling area, nutritional area and a recreation area.
The objectives of the child-friendly spaces were:
• to provide emergency care and tracing services for unattended children in and around the FIFA Fan Fests.
• to provide a base for specialised child care workers to ensure early identification of at-risk children and referral to appropriate services such as police, social workers, emergency children’s shelters and medical assistance.
• to provide a safe, supervised environment where children can watch the matches on television screens and enjoy child appropriate activities while receiving child protection services.
• to raise awareness among children and parents on how they can protect themselves while enjoying the games.
Activities of staff at the child-friendly spaces included:
• conducting a rapid assessment of the circumstances of all vulnerable children and child victims of abuse who may be brought into the child friendly space;
• conducting child case management;
• providing immediate response to the physical needs of vulnerable or abused children;
• conducting verification and reunification actions of lost children with their parents/care-givers;
• providing psychosocial support, including counselling and support to vulnerable children and child victims of abuse if required;
• conducting statutory intervention and placement of children in child-friendly spaces if needed;
• referring children and adults to the services and/or the child-friendly spaces;
• accompanying children referred to other services when necessary including medical care, police or other relevant services;
• meeting the social and emotional needs of children through daily routines, age and developmentally appropriate activities, meals, toys and games, comfort items, blankets, clothes etc.;
• referring children under the influence of alcohol or drugs to agreed service provider; and
• sending daily reports and statistical information on services provided to children and their families to the Provincial Joint Operation Centre.
This article published with thanks to Katarzyna Pawelczyk from UNICEF South Africa
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