Recently, at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Mendi, a five-day training was held for parish & community child protection volunteers. Participants were invited from all of the parishes and pastoral areas of the Diocese of Mendi, which comprises the Southern Highlands Province and Hela Province. The training was sponsored by the Caritas and Family Life Secretariats of the diocese and conducted by Child Protection Officers Mr Ian Apeit (Caritas Secretary) and Mr Mark Kolandi (Family Life Secretary). Fr Pius Hal and other presenters also participated in the intense training program.
The training was centered on sharing knowledge and strategies regarding the rights of children under the Lukautim Pikinini (child protection) Act, as well as the UN Charter of Rights, and other Human Rights frameworks. The training also sought to enable participants to identify environments of risks, community or parish support services, identifying children in need, and the development of an action plan for child protection in parishes and local communities. Procedures of how to handle allegations of child neglect and abuse were also reviewed.
Child Protection Volunteers are local resource persons who raise awareness in local communities with the goal of reducing and eventually eliminating small and serious incidents of child endangerment, neglect and abuse.
We are grateful to the Australian Incentive Fund for their support of this program.
Futher trainings are being planned.