|SAFEGUARDING AND SUSTAINABILITY: OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19 |
While our facilities remain closed and our face-to-face activities suspended, we remain steadfastly committed to adapting and continuing our work in these unprecedented times. As always, the well-being of our team, their families, the communities and young people we serve, and our partners are our top priority.
Our response to this global crisis follows two principles: safeguarding and sustainability. Safeguarding means a focus on the safety of everyone who attends our programmes against contamination by COVID-19, as well as ensuring we meet the needs of young people when they need our support most. Sustainability means ensuring that Fight for Peace as an organisation continues to support young people now and in the future, when the current situation has passed.
Following the closure of our Academies in Rio de Janeiro and London, we have rolled out remote support programmes for the young people we work directly with. This includes online delivery of programmes from across our Five Pillars methodology, using virtual meeting software and social media channels. We are livestreaming interactive combat sports, employability, education and personal development sessions, and holding closed online group sessions, including for our Youth Council, to bring young people together in virtual spaces. Our staff are also carrying out one-to-one mentoring check-ins by telephone with our members.
Communication lines have also been set up on telephone and social media through which young people can contact our staff for advice and support on an ongoing basis. And we have launched online campaigns in Rio and London designed to ensure that young people and their families have access to the correct information, and are aware of how best to protect themselves and slow the spread of coronavirus.
The response of the Fight for Peace Alliance has been to move face-to-face training to one-to-one support online. Weekly virtual gatherings have been established to bring Alliance partners together to share best practice on how to respond to COVID -19. Online safeguarding practices, food programmes for children and families, and emergency funding opportunities have been key areas where the Alliance has shared knowledge, tools and ideas over the past week.
Our Safer Communities Programme (SCP) in Kingston, Jamaica, has also adapted to deliver programmes online – including education, psycho-social support, and combat sports sessions – and is developing training materials to facilitate remote self-paced learning. Our team is also supporting state responses, and, in partnership with the National Parenting Support Commission, UNICEF and a private sector foundation, has set up a coronavirus helpline for parents.
We believe that partnerships and networks will be essential for us to overcome the challenges we now face. Therefore, we are in constant communication with local partner organisations to try to build alternative solutions to this crisis together. Across our organisation, meanwhile, our staff continue to work from home in support of our services and we have begun regular intensive online training sessions to upskill our staff and our partners where possible.
We are following the developments of the pandemic and the situation is being assessed daily. We will return to our normal activities as soon as we are able to do so and we will return stronger, for this moment presents an opportunity for us to demonstrate our determination, resolve and our values as an organisation and as a global Fight for Peace family. As Abdul, a Fight for Peace coach in London, said during one of his livestreamed boxing sessions last week, “no matter what obstacle comes our way, we will find a way to overcome it and achieve our goal of success. This is the mindset of Fight for Peace – we don’t stop, we don’t quit, we find obstacles and overcome them.”