Through PACT, adult volunteers in the community are trained and empowered to be alert to child protection issues such as early marriage, trafficking, violence and abuse; to respond to the harm that children face; and to activate government systems and services to promote children’s safety and protection.
Why work with adults?
While building children’s resilience individually and in peer networks is important and powerful, child protection cannot be the responsibility of children themselves. Unless adults (be they the government, family, school or community at large) understand and commit to mitigating the long-term impact of insecurity on children , positive change will be unsustainable.
Creating functioning mechanisms to ensure children’s safety, development and well-being is the duty of government. When community adults are emboldened to stand up on behalf of children and find the means to support each other both while demanding their rights and in times of crisis, then children’s safety can be assured.
How PACT Works
Motivated adults become PACT members and are trained to be informal child protection workers—to share information, spread awareness, find allies and activate services. At weekly meetings, they learn about the risks and abuse children in their community face, about children’s rights and other legislations and schemes that ensure social protection, about how to listen and respond to children and families who may have experienced particular harm. Modules on personal care and well-being are intended to help PACT members, who themselves may face difficult circumstances to take care of themselves.
To raise child protection issues, disseminate information and mobilize support for actions, the PACT team hosts bi-monthly meetings and community help desks with larger groups of community adults. At these meetings, the community is linked to child protection functionaries (such as anganwadi workers, the police, local government providers like the block education officer).
Informed communities are empowered communities. Armed with information about rights and entitlements community adults are able to seek accountability from local authorities. They are better able to approach appropriate stakeholders to ensure child protection officers become active and that families have access to needed services, thus making formal systems responsive.