ADVOCACY – July 15 2023

General Assembly: Panel discussion explores strategies for accelerating implementation of strategy 2030

The panel discussion on accelerating the implementation of Strategy 2030, organised to expand reach, create a childcare movement, and ensure safeguarding standards, brought together National Directors from ten countries. Moderated by Ingrid Johansen, CEO of SOS Children's Villages, the discussion delved into innovative initiatives and 'out-of-the-box' thinking, shedding light on the diverse strategies employed by participating national associations. The panel discussion took place as part of the General Assembly of SOS Children's Villages, scheduled from July 3rd to July 5th, 2023.


Promoting Quality Care through Innovative Approaches:  

Samya El Mousty, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Morocco, shared the success of youth clubs in promoting sports, reading culture, and technological advancement. These initiatives empower young people to be proactive and vocal about their rights. However, Mousty also acknowledged the challenge of lacking professional care practitioners who understand the needs of children and young people. “In response, SOS Children's Villages Morocco has established training centres to sensitise coworkers and partner association members about quality care,” shared Mousty.  


Integration with the Community:  

Abidova Gulnoza, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Uzbekistan, emphasised integration in the community. Collaborating closely with community members, SOS Children's Villages Uzbekistan provides care services to children and young people, fostering a sense of belonging and support. 

Saba Faisal, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Pakistan, also shared success in implementing five projects that focus on supporting children from households led by single women. “SOS Children's Villages Pakistan priority lies in community-based family strengthening programmes, and we strongly believe in integrating young people into the community once they leave their care,” shared Faisal.  


Balancing Quantity and Quality:  

Ganga B. Gurung, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Nepal, shared SOS Children's Villages Nepal's approach to implementing programmes that balance quantity and quality. Highlighting SOS Children's Village’s Nepal’s focus on mental health and psychosocial support, Gurung emphasised the presence of professional counsellors in their villages. Moreover, SOS Children's Villages Nepal offers self-care sessions for mothers and coworkers while also training children to become peer counsellors.  

Additionally, in the light of the ISC Report, Gurung also mentioned that SOS Children's Villages Nepal is actively addressing sexual and reproductive health through awareness sessions targeted to children, young people and co-workers including mothers and aunts.  


Keeping Siblings Together and Mental Health:  

Isabelle Moret, National Director of SOS Children's Villages France, addressed the mental health challenges faced by many children. Furthermore, she emphasised the importance of keeping siblings together within the care system. Moret emphasised the need to build additional villages to support this crucial aspect of care in the future. 


Equitable Opportunities and Partnerships:  

Sahlemariam Abebe Aniley, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Ethiopia, highlighted the implementation of 52 projects that provide children with equitable opportunities to thrive. Aniley emphasised the importance of advocacy and partnerships, citing SOS Children's Villages Ethiopia’s collaboration with the government to implement the National Gatekeeping Guideline. 


Child Safeguarding and Policy Advocacy:  

Diana E. Rosales Espinosa, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Mexico, and Salimane Issifou, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Benin, both stressed their organisations' focus on child safeguarding and creating enabling environments through advocacy and policy change at the government level. 


Expanding Funding Mechanisms:  

Mads K. Kristensen, National Director of SOS Children's Villages Denmark, discussed the collaboration between PSAs (Promoting and Supporting Associations) and the Federation. He highlighted the need for a gradual shift in fundraising mechanisms, from approaching regular individuals to engaging companies, governments, and larger agencies. This shift would ensure increased support for the vast number of children in need. 

The panel discussion shed light on the innovative approaches and collaborative efforts employed by National Directors across various countries to accelerate the implementation of Strategy 2030.