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EU, ChildLink targeting sexual violence against thousands of children

Ambassador Robert Kopecký [right] and Ms. Omattie Madray [left] sign the grant contract while Chantalle Haynes, [standing right] Director of Forward Guyana and Ann Greene [standing left] of the Child Protection Agency, Ministry of Human Services look on

The European Union (EU) on Monday inked a 200,000 Euro grant contract with a local non-governmental organisation, ChildLink, to help fight sexual violence against thousands of children over the next two years, the diplomatic mission here announced.

EU Ambassador to Guyana, Robert Kopecký and Ms. Omattie Madray, Programme Director of ChildLink, signed the document to implement a project titled “Empowering Children in Difficult Circumstances”. The grant involves the support of a maximum of   €200,000 and will be funded from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) 2012-2013 country allocation for Guyana.

The overall objective of the actions by ChildLinK is to strengthen policies, practices and approaches to ensure social welfare services to prevent and protect 12,650 children from sexual violence by December 2015. Further, the activities foreseen under the grant supplement work done already by ChildLinK under two previous grants totalling €180,000, which were funded from previous EIDHR Call for Proposals put out by the EU Delegation in Guyana.

Ambassador Kopecký highlighted that, ‘Human Rights are one of the core values of the European Union and its Member states going like a silver thread though its many, if not all activities. The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights provides the possibility to support civil society projects in this area also in Guyana. The rights of vulnerable groups, especially children are particularly important in this regard and the Childlink proposal convinced us. We look forward to a successful implementation that we perceived to be fully complementing the Government of Guyana’s priorities, activities and intervention in this area.’

Ms. Madray explained that, the project seeks to protect children, specifically children who are at risk of sexual violence through the Tell Campaign and children who have been sexually violated, through comprehensive services in three Child Advocacy Centres.  This initiative has been developed in partnership with the Ministry of Human Services – Childcare and Protection Agency, Forward Guyana and ChildLinK Inc., and funded by the European Union, UNICEF and other local donors.  The European Union grant will over the next two years staff and equip the centres, build the capacity of the staff and increase advocacy to stop the abuse of children.”

ChildLinK Inc, a local Non-Governmental Organisation, was established in 2009 and its mandate is to work with its partners towards a Guyanese society where every child has the right to grow up in a safe and secure family and community.

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is a self-standing financing instrument that provides assistance for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide and specifically aims at assisting civil society to become an effective force for political reform and defence of human rights. The European Union launches regular call for proposals under this initiative.

ChildLinK Inc has previously received two grants totalling €180,000, both funded from the EIDHR initiative and recently completed activities under one of them, i.e. the HUG project which was implemented over thirty months. The HUG initiative was envisioned with the principal objective of improving the lives of Guyanese children experiencing violence and domestic abuse. The project exceeded its stated objectives in sensitising almost two thousand (2,000) children from the Agricola and Ruimveldt communities who were able to access services and information to enable them to realise their rights to protection from abuse. 

Additionally ChildLinK has already completed ten (10) months of implementation out of a two year project for the Alternative Family Based Care (AFBC) initiative funded by the EU. This intervention aims to provide children an opportunity to grow up in environments that are safe, secure and conducive for their all-round development. Its focus is to ensure that children receive direct psychosocial support in the form of counselling and family support to help them develop resilience in their varying situations and where possible, to accommodate changes. This initiative will lead to ChildLinK working directly with five hundred (500) children; three hundred (300) in alternative family-based care comprising of foster care and kinship care and two hundred (200) children who are at risk of losing parental care.

It is envisaged that this latest EU grant will complement the work already undertaken and ChildLinK will be working along closely with its partners over the next two years towards the effective roll out of the activities foreseen under the intervention.