CIMS: 5th Standard on Safeguarding Training for Coordinators and assessors in Asia Region

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“Individuals who care for those in need must first be professionally competent: they should properly be trained in what to do and how to do it, and committed to continuing care”

[Pope Benedict XVI]

Following the success of the regional introductory webinars on the fifth Management Standard on Safeguarding held in March 2021, Caritas Internationalis has proceeded to the next step of the rollout phase, which included the various virtual trainings for coordinators and assessors in all the seven regions.

In Asia region, the training was successfully organized in two batches, the first of which was conducted on 30 April 2021 and the second was held on 6 May 2021. Both batches, which  were jointly facilitated by Caritas Asia and Caritas Internationalis, have attracted a total of 34 participants from 22 Caritas Member Organizations (MOs) in Asia, as well as from some Caritas global partners present in Asia.

The main objective of the training is to let the CIMS coordinators and assessors in Asia be familiar with the CIMS assessment mechanisms, the revised tools, and the new Management Standard on Safeguarding. The learning process is not limited only to the 3-hour training session, but all participants were also asked to do individual preparation prior to the training. Post-training follow up is also set up as an integral part of the process, which includes dialogue with and support from the Regional Secretariat and the CI General Secretariat, to conduct the assessment process and strengthen safeguarding mechanisms in each MO.

During the virtual training,. Benedict D’Rozario, Caritas Asia President, warmly welcomed all the participants and provided them a general overview of the development of CIMS through the years, starting from its early stages in 2012, and  leading up to to the inclusion of Safeguarding as a fifth standard. He emphasized on the importance of the CIMS in sustaining Caritas organizations and ensuring that quality and professional services, with a formation of the heart, are appropriately provided to the community. Dr. Benedict also added that CIMS puts the profiles of each MO at a high pedestal, while also maintaining the dimension of Caritas as the Church’s concrete expression of its work of charity.

Ms. Moira Monacelli, the Head of CI Institutional Development and Capacity Strengthening (IDCS) Unit, explained that Safeguarding is grounded in the values and principles that guide Caritas mission, including Human Dignity, Sacredness of Life, and Preferential Option for the Poor. She also added that CI is committed to mainstream safeguarding across the Confederation to ensure all MOs have adequate policies, systems and procedure in place. This training is one of the ways to contribute to the prevention of abuses and/or address them appropriately whenever they occur.

Ms. Annamaria Vrzáčková, the CIMS Program Manager, facilitated the training session and started with raising some warm-up questions to the participants related to CIMS and its newly introduced Safeguarding standard. After getting some responses to her questions, she invited the participants to try the new standard by analyzing some case studies that are inspired by real situations experienced by some MOs. She reminded the participants that CIMS is not merely about getting the highest scores in the matrix to pass the compliance requirement, or to get acknowledgement from CI, but it is really about how each MOs is properly dealing with cases, and ensuring that safeguarding policies and procedures are in place.

Both internal and external assessors should always remember that CIMS assessment is a process where all parties involved are journeying together to capture the current situation of the organizations and collectively formulate the plan to improve it. It is crucial to ensure involvement of all elements within the organization and apply participatory process in responding to all questions in the input form.

Through a brief sharing, participants acknowledged the importance of conducting the self-assessment right away and without having to wait until the organization has all the policies and regulations.

At the conclusion of the training, Mr. Zar Gomez, CA Regional Coordinator, encouraged participants to start with the self-assessment/process in their respective organizations and consult Caritas Asia and Caritas Internationalis of the progress.