Child Protection Policy

The Big Hand® is committed to defend all the Rights of the Child, determined in the UN Convention, where it is clearly expressed that all children have the right to protection against abuse, neglect and exploitation.

In this logic, as a non-governmental organization for the development centred on the well-being and safety of children, The Big Hand® does not tolerate child abuse. Children are at the center of our work and we are therefore very demanding in compliance with the measures that are part of our child protection policy.

Our child protection policy comprises various aspects that our agents and partners must respect, prevent or stop to prevent children being abused or mistreated.

Our child protection policy may seem excessive, but we believe that prevention is critical to protect children as well as donors of actions that could be malicious.

When someone related with The Big Hand, including donors, is against our child protection policy, we will take the necessary legal measures to resolve the situation.

Employees, Interns and Volunteers From THE BIG HAND®

Any organization that works with children should have special attention in order to select employees, interns and volunteers.

The Big Hand® develops a rigorous recruitment process in order to prevent the entry into the organization of adults who violate children´s rights. All employees, interns and volunteers must have an up to date criminal record as well as institutional contacts for reference.

It is mandatory for all elements of the Big Hand® to report any suspicion or evidence of abuse and disrespect of the child protection policy.

Donors and Godparents

Sponsorship is a wonderful opportunity to help a child as well as the entire community. Through sponsorship the donor may establish a very rich cultural exchange with the child, its family and community. However, it is important that the sponsorship project does not put the child at risk. The Godparent, on initial contact, shall receive in writing an explanation about our child protection policy and the procedures that must be respected.

The Big Hand® reserves the right to deny or exclude a donor from a project if he/she does not show respect for our child protection policy or that puts into question the rights of the children as determined in the UN Convention. Our staff are trained to look for signs that a donor can represent a threat to the welfare of the child.

All communications (verbal, written or visual) of donors to sponsored children are supervised in order to intercept inappropriate material. Any material that generates concern shall be duly processed and forwarded to the legal institutions.

Images

Pictures of sponsored children can only be used with the express permission of The Big Hand®. Images that are the property of The Big Hand® may be used only for the purpose for which permission was granted, and only with the approval of the final proof.

Personal or physical information that can be used to identify the location of a child cannot be used on websites, blogs or social networks, nor published in public places. The last child’s name or the name of the Community shall only be used with the express permission of The Big Hand®.

If the life story of the children or of the community are used for promotional purposes, or in the media, we shall ensure that no confidential information is provided so that it is not possible to locate the child by other external children or adults outside the program.

All photographs and images shall dignify and respect children. The images should not portray children in a vulnerable or submissive manner. Children should be fully dressed and in their natural environment.

Visits to our projects

The Big Hand® encourages and organizes visits of the Godparents and donors to the communities in which we work.
Policy of visits to our projects:

  1. All requests must be arranged in advance through The Big Hand®. Visitors must submit their application a month before the proposed date for the visit.
  2. If visitors arrive at a community without prior notification of The Big Hand®, the field team reserves the right to refuse the visit.
  3. Visitors should deliver an up to date criminal record in the central services. Only the staff of the Department of Human Resources and the President of the Association will have access to these documents. The records shall be stored in a secure location and adequately protected.
  4. Visitors will be invited to show photo ID (passport, for example) to the team who are coordinating the program on the ground.
  5. The Big Hand® team on the ground will be present during each visit to a sponsored child or a community. In many poor communities the threat of abduction of children is very real, and families expect that all visitors are accompanied by elements of The Big Hand® team. To visit a community on one´s own creates an alarm within the vicinity.
  6. Children may not be invited or removed from their communities, even if for a short walk. To meet with outside visitors can be a traumatic experience for a child of a poor community that needs the security of family environment, with their parents and community.
  7. Visitors may not invite the children to visit them in their own country. The Big Hand® does not support or hold this visit.
  8. Visitors and children/families should not swap mailing addresses during the visits.
  9. Visitors should not discuss, propose or agree to the provision of services and/or direct financial support to children or families.
  10. The photographs taken during the visit shall be construed as for personal use and should not be published on the internet or any other means, without the express written permission by The Big Hand®.
  11. Visitors should realize that they are subject to the laws of the country where they are in and act accordingly.
  12. Visitors are advised to obtain an insurance for their travel and to ensure medical authorization to travel.
  13. In case of cancellation of travel visitors should get in contact with The Big Hand® as quickly as possible.
  14. Visitors should arrange their own accommodation for the country of destination. In addition, there may be additional costs associated with the visit (for example, for a translator).
  15. After each visit the ground team prepares a report and sends it to the headquarters of the Big Hand® in Lisbon. All visits are monitored.
  16. We give special attention to donors who wish to visit their godsons with some frequency.
  17. Visitors recognize that travelling to another country involves risks and dangers, as well as the possibility of personal injury and loss of property. Visitors agree to take all necessary measures to protect their own health and their goods. Visitors assume all risks associated with the preparation and implementation of the trip.
  18. The visitors, through the signing of a declaration, agree to exempt The Big Hand® from any liability in personal injury and/or damage to personal property that may arise during the visit to any element of the group.
  19. Visitors must sign a declaration to  demonstrate that they understand and agree to comply with our policy of  visits.
  20. Visitors when accompanied by children must submit, in writing, the consent of the parents to visit, including details about contacts in case of an emergency.

 

If you have questions or concerns about our child protection policy please contact us:

21 753 02 20
geral@thebighand.org