In Zhemgang, Nazhoen Lamtoen, a civil society organization in collaboration with the district administration has started community child protection teams. The pilot project is expected to enhance protection and provide support and intervention to the affected children and their families. The team’s office is in Trong Gewog.
Before the establishment of the team, Nazhoen Lamtoen provided a five-day training on how to identify, report, and prevent child abuse among others.
Local leaders, villagers and relevant stakeholders then came together to establish the teams.
There will be five teams for the five chiwogs in Trong Gewog. Each team will have eight members.
“The establishment of such a team in the district would immensely benefit. It would help in solving cases at the community level. Otherwise, district administration and CSOs alone cannot solve the problem,” said Ugyen Lhendup, Chairman of the Dzongkhag Women and Child Committee.
“If a child is below 18 years and facing abuse in the community, officials from Nazhoen Lamtoen taught us the basic guidelines on how to tackle it and the procedure of reporting cases to relevant authorities,” said Tashi, a team member.
“We were taught how to prevent child abuse and safeguard the children in the community. The benefit of establishing this team would bring good practice of nurturing our children and build strong relationships by reducing domestic violence against them. It is basically safeguarding the child,” said Sangay Dorji, another team member.
Nazhoen Lamtoen said that in Zhemgang, cases of child abuse are often unreported, and having such a team can create awareness and provide support.
“Most people in the community do not know about the team. Moreover, many are unaware of the child protection laws. They do not know what child abuse is. Because of the lack of information, most cases are not reported to the district administration or concerned organisations. So, with this training at the community level, they will now report cases to the Dzongkhag Women and Child Committee immediately,” said Thinley Tobgyel, Executive Director of Nazhoen Lamtoen.
He added that the team is expected to work closely with law enforcement agencies.
If the initiative, which is a pilot project goes well in Zhemgang, Nazhoen Lamtoen plans to replicate it in other communities across the country.