“The willingness of churches to unite for children and join hands with secular partners led to a network of 1,400 influential supporters, ranging from church leaders to Nobel Prize winners and activists at the grassroots level, collaborating around the action plan for now over 5 years, and sharing hundreds of tools to end violence,” said Sauca, who is also a board member of the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children.
“Last year, the ‘Out of the Shadows’ toolkit was developed by the WCC to support churches’ response to sexual violence against children, and adapt prevention measures to the COVID context,” Sauca said. “In Nigeria, where the Christian Council of Churches has now adopted the ‘Out of the Shadows’ materials as part of its official materials, around 40 million people in church communities and church-run schools are reached by the campaign.”
As a pre-condition for any activities related to children, every church must have a solid child safeguarding policy, added Sauca.
“I speak here not only about prevention of grave crimes, such as sexual abuse of children, but the whole range of mistreatment of children,” he said. “The WCC’s child safeguarding policy and related tools now serve as model for member churches.”
Sauca also mentioned “Theopopettes,” a special puppet theatre play for Sunday schools developed by the Protestant Church in Geneva in partnership with the WCC. “Their video episodes also explain how churches support refugee children and undertake initiatives to protect the planet with and for children,” he said.
In addition, in response to the climate emergency, Churches’ Commitments to Children accelerates efforts to address climate-related root causes of child rights violations. "Through support received from the Keeling Curve Prize, we strengthen the initiatives of young people to influence decisions that affect their future,” Sauca said. “And we look forward to collaborating with many of you attending this event in doing what the children and teenagers in the climate marches are demanding from adults: changing the systems which fuel the climate crisis while we speak.”