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3rd
Apr 2018

Signing Safe Futures Jamaica! Tackling the outrage of Gender Based Violence!

With the launch of our pilot Gender Based Violence (GBV) project in Jamaica, we’re working to explore new methodologies for ending physical, sexual and emotional violence against D/deaf girls and young women. In addition, we’re looking to determine how we can enable D/deaf girls and young women to feel secure and to stay safe from harm. We see GBV as founded in gender-based inequalities. It is, quite simply, an ugly and distressing manifestation of the inequality between female and male, one that constitutes a gross violation of human rights and which hinders gender equality.

Our experience is that most GBV happens within the family and that it can take many forms such as partner violence, sexual violence by non-partners, Female Genital mutilation (FGM), honour violence, early marriage, violence against LGBTI and trafficking in human beings. We’ve found evidence of all these being prosecuted against D/deaf girls and young women, so we've decided we must act.

Signing Safe Futures Jamaica! is just the start. Funded by Laureus Sport for Good and delivered in partnership with the Jamaican Association for the Deaf, this project sees the assembly of curriculum and content which empowers and enables D/deaf girls and young women to say ‘No!’ to GBV. To self-advocate and to self-represent so that they can reduce their susceptibility to abuse and exploitation.

This through the delivery of martial arts and dance sessions, taught by trained D/deaf and female coaches, who also act as role models for D/deaf girls, promoting safe behaviours and ensuring, both, an increase in gender equality and the transformation of gender norms. But what is unique about this programme is the work being undertaken to reframe masculinity amongst D/deaf boys. Working together, the D/deaf coaches and some of their participant D/deaf girls will assemble a module for presentation to D/deaf boys. One that will look at gender expectations, roles and responsibilities from the perspective of D/deaf girls, who will then go onto present the module's composite activities to D/deaf boys themselves!

The strengthening of legal and policy frameworks to address GBV against D/deaf girls is also important as we work with a range of Criminal Justice stakeholders in Jamaica, to bridge the gap between law and practice and to end the impunity for GBV. All of which leads to a proven programme concept which, in partnership with the global donor community we will cascade to Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and South Africa.


22nd
Feb 2018

Protecting and Safeguarding the Most Vulnerable: Our Commitment

Dear Friends,

I am sure that you, like we at DeafKidz International, have been surprised, shocked and disappointed by the recent allegations in the UK and international press against aid workers in some of the largest and most respected international humanitarian organisations.

As the global leader working to ensure the protection and safeguarding of D/deaf children and young people, It goes without saying that we are committed to ensuring vulnerable D/deaf children and young people feel safe whenever they engage with activities supported by DeafKidz International and managed by our partners. Rest assured, we are committed to ensure that when abuse occurs, it is identified and dealt with swiftly, rigorously and unequivocally. Indeed, that is one of the reasons why we exist.

To make sure we deliver on this commitment, we require all at DeafKidz International and all those that work with us, to adhere to the highest possible standards of child protection and safeguarding. To this end, we conduct a rigorous, robust, due diligence and screening process with all our partners and all that are associated with us. Through this we are able to affirm that our processes are fit for purpose and also that any prospective partner has the capacity and procedures to comply with the standards we require.

If, however, you have any concerns regarding the safety of the D/deaf children and young people we work with, then do please contact us.

You can contact me directly at steve.crump@deafkidzinternational.org or my colleague Jaz Mann at jaz.mann@deafkidzinternational.org

Suffice to say, we will respond urgently and diligently to any occurrence that is reported to us.

With very best wishes

Steve Crump
Originator, Founder and Executive Director
DeafKidz International


18th
Jan 2018

Signing Safe Futures 2018

Steve Crump, DeafKidz International’s founder and Executive Director, reflects upon the challenges and opportunities facing DeafKidz International in 2018;

‘As we look ahead to DeafKidz International’s participation in the Global Health and Innovation Conference in New York, it is opportune to reflect on the growth and achievement of the last 12 months. And there is much to reflect upon; the completion of the ambitious ‘Advancing DeafKidz Jamaica!’ programme which saw more than 3400 D/deaf children access protection and safeguarding messaging, more than 1500 parents participate in safeguarding workshops, more than 150 criminal justice system professionals participate in Deaf awareness activity… And for the D/deaf children who were empowered to disclose the abuse they’d experienced; clinical, social welfare and criminal justice support in the communication mode of choice… For an evidence based organisation this is hugely significant as we work to document the evidence we’ve accrued to demonstrate need, to evidence impact and to ensure that all important long term donor / partner investment...

Our developing key message is very simple… The abuse and exploitation of D/deaf children and young people – particularly D/deaf girls and young women – is endemic. As a D/deaf led organisation fostering the integration of D/deaf and hearing, we’re not having that…

All of the learning, practice and change from the Jamaica programme has now been embedded, systematically, into Jamaica’s child protection framework and longevity has been secured through funding from the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Now working to address the challenge of Gender Based Violence, our Jamaica programme, delivered in partnership with the Jamaican Association for the Deaf, will see female coaches resourced to use the medium of martial arts and dance to ensure no D/deaf girl is subjected to the outrage of physical, sexual and emotional violence… This in turn proving an approach to addressing Gender Based Violence against D/deaf girls and young women which we will be looking to cascade across our developing footprint…

As we also progress our plans to conduct an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention pilot in Jamaica, in association with Kingston Public Hospital and the Ministry of Health, we will be working to ensure that all D/deaf female new-borns are instantly placed on a pathway of care; one that enables them to maximise their existing hearing, to self-advocate and self-represent… To be absolutely sure that this highly vulnerable group are able to say ‘No!’ to abuse…

And it is this Early Hearing screening that we’ve commenced in Pakistan in partnership with the Ayesha Bashir Trust and the Government of Punjab Ministry of Health. The training of Lady Health Workers to conduct simple screening tests is currently underway and we’re working to build an integrated capacity that will provide seamless speech and language, communication and sign language skills, parenting and mental health support in a pathway of care that is robust, sustainable and replicable. We’re currently testing our approach in Gujrat and drawing clinical support from our partners at the King Edward Medical University in Lahore. This is a three year programme and we’ll be working closely with the International Centre for Evidence in Disability, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, to document the work effected.

Fresh from our joint seminar at the World Humanitarian Action Forum, the partnership with Islamic Relief Worldwide continues apace and sees the development of a Centre of Excellence for the Protection and Safeguarding of D/deaf children in Pakistan. This is a first for Islamic Relief and one that should see a model of best practice developed for cascade across the Islamic Relief global operation. It goes without saying, this is a hugely exciting opportunity for a start-up organisation like DeafKidz International and one which will enable us to learn and develop whilst impacting at reach and scale. Suffice to say, this is a unique partnership and one of which we are hugely proud.

Our partnership with Save the Children UK continues and we will be shortly presenting the findings of our research into the current European / Middle East refugee crisis and its impact upon D/deaf children; in particular, how the humanitarian community can better respond to the protection, safeguarding, communication, health, ear and hearing care needs of children trapped in the crisis.

Mental health and D/deafness is a big area for DeafKidz International and we shall continue to work with our partners at CBM and the International Centre for Evidence in Disability to test new approaches to managing this issue. Over 70% of D/deaf children in the UK experience some form of mental health challenge as a result of isolation, marginalisation and an inability to communicate. We can only surmise that in low resource and complex humanitarian settings this number is higher… We’ll get this evidenced and start looking at methodologies for responding to the mental health needs of D/deaf children…

As an organisation, we are working closely with our investment partners such as the Geneva based Oak Foundation, Comic Relief, DFID and Islamic Relief to ensure measured and sustained growth. This through the development of a funding model which secures investment in our programmatic work and also allows for investment in our organisational capacity. In addition, investment which allows us to establish a pooled fund for the protection of D/deaf girls and young women from Gender Based Violence. This, we have to say, will take some doing as few investors understand D/deafness, seeing it as complicated and expensive, involving scarce human resources such as sign language interpreters, speech and language specialists, ear and hearing care practitioners…

But we shall address this perception as we move forward, demonstrating empirically, through the use of health economic metrics, the value of our work in screening, the prevention of D/deafness - where possible through clinical intervention - and the use of communication methodologies, within a safeguarding framework, which will seek to maximise D/deaf children’s life chances and reduce their susceptibility to risk and abuse…

Given that the global challenge of D/deafness is greater than that of malaria and HIV combined - in low resource settings, poor maternal health and poor neonatal care can lead to as many as two in ten children experiencing some degree of D/deafness, from slight to profound; we’ve seen this in Pakistan, Jordan and Iraq. There is clearly much to do especially as in many places, a diagnosis of D/deafness leads to abuse, abandonment and, in some cases, death…

And so evidencing our impact is essential as, within the construct of our new, soon to be released, five year strategy, we look to demonstrate proof of concept which is led by D/deaf children and young people - by the ‘Kidz Board’ we will be establishing this year – and which consolidates our position as the global leader for the protection and safeguarding of D/deaf children. Through our work and with our valuable partners, in 2018, we will never, ever, allow a D/deaf child or young person to be left behind…’

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