Recommendations of the First Scientific Conference for Orphan Care (online)
The Scientific Conference for Orphans Care: Past Experiences and Development Prospects were held on 4 - 5 November 2020, online, with more than 1453 participants, included stakeholders, decision makers, directors and researchers. 31 arbitrated scientific papers were presented covering major subjects in caring and developing orphans care sector.
Speakers and researchers presented rich and varied experiences from different regions of the world (Africa, Asia, Europe and America), and conveyed different experiences and cases related to orphan’s care sector (education, health, institutional care, children of unknown parentage, orphans in areas of conflict, empowerment, violence, development and governance of organizations including other subjects).
The conference participants provided rich materials in thought and knowledge, and bold ambition for change; most important question to achieve this was: How will we move from theory to practice? Or in other words, how will we be able to translate the research and discussions that accompanied it on the ground? There is no doubt that this will require a continuous effort, to accomplish, achieve goals and develop it. Recommendations from lectures, discussion sessions, and working papers were collected, especially common issues that were shared and confirmed by researchers.
The recommendations were as follows:
- The need to develop and adopt an educational curriculum that relies on modern educational methods, taking into consideration the peculiarities of the sector from practical point of view, and evokes the concept of subordinate action in care, guidance and community cohesion.
- The need to achieve social responsibility in the field of educating orphans and helping them, preparing programmes to rehabilitate orphans' families and develop their cognitive abilities.
- The need to make residential care a last resort, not first or best, motivate professional and well-trained employees, and focus on education, training and development of life skills for resident orphans, as well as activating social communication for them and sponsors, especially among their peers, and focusing on higher level of self-esteem to help them overcome the painful loss they went through.
- Mental health for widows, a number of recommendations focused on holding psycho-social sessions, involving widows in community service, and holding multiple sessions to increase the level of economic empowerment, as well as following up the provision of psychological support programmes for displaced orphans in particular, regardless of the demographic differences between them. It recommends studying several variables related to the level of trauma in children.
- Orphans of unknown parentage, the researchers direct the necessity of uniting the efforts of the legislator, the media, and civil society organizations, in order to ensure adequate training and awareness of the foster families, and to educate society as a whole about the importance of exerting efforts aimed at achieving the identity and citizenship of the orphan of unknown parentage.
- Violence against orphans, we recommend that widows support each other to combat vulnerability and poverty among women in general, and enable them to benefit from all available development that are entitled to strengthen their abilities, impose compulsory education for children in the first place, and educate the family on the role of education in raising their competencies and capabilities, and the opportunities it provided for them to be better in the future, and engage various media platforms in raising awareness of the dangers of child labour and exploitation. Children should be monitored closely, penalizing violators of the labour law, with strict implementation of such penalties.
- Orphans in conflict zones, the need for coordination and unification of efforts among institutions providing care for orphans. It is imperative to devise modern methods that are effective and able to influence society, to benefit from investing orphans' money. And work to rehabilitate orphan’s health, education, so that they have an active and effective role by participating in projects funded by their money (sponsorship funds), and to have a role in the development of their affected areas.
- Empowerment of orphans and their families, researchers are interested in working to empower the widow economically, through the expansion of unconventional work patterns, in line with the global changes and developments of the era. And the importance of developing the social service profession and promoting social work, through the establishment of specialized institutes, and the introduction and generalization of this knowledge-applied field to universities. Likewise, gender issues must be incorporated and laws must be put in place to ensure women's economic participation. And to provide an attractive environment for widows' work, by amending labour laws to achieve fairness and equality with males’ wages, and to facilitate widows' access to part-time work and paid vacations.
- Researchers also recommended the necessity of establishing psychological and educational counseling centers for orphan children with disabilities and their families, which would contribute to achieving the required social integration. As well as providing academic, and educational support for orphans with disabilities. And work to train and rehabilitate the disabled and his family in order to achieve the psychological and social acceptance, provide opportunities for integration in its various educational, psychological, cultural and family aspects, and create opportunities for work, marriage, and health care.
- On governance and development of organizations working with orphans, the participants see that the concept of orphan’s sponsorship lies within the areas of performance that has great need to apply standards of total quality management, whether in planning, implementation or in monitoring processes. As well as the importance of applying comprehensive quality management standards as a mechanism for transferring organizations sponsoring orphans from traditional organizations governed by randomness and personal orientations, to distinct organizations that run according to professional mechanisms avoiding negatives, face challenges, and meet the emerging needs of orphans.
- We call on researchers, specialists and research centers to carry out academic research and field studies that establish the concept of comprehensive quality in sponsorship systems, processes, components and outputs, and the need to find appropriate mechanisms for cooperation in achieving this between local, regional and international stakeholders, and benefit from experiences of pioneering institutions in the field of sponsorship and its various programs.
- As for donors organisations, the necessity of adopting studies that combine reality with ability to change the future, the creation of alternatives, and the development of capabilities to cope with the change ... etc. As well as changing the mindset for fund, investment not consumption mentality, and considering funds as a message of medium and long-term change, and not as a message of relief, development, and restraint. With the need to raise the efficiency of the implementing agencies and build their structural, human and digital capabilities, in order to achieve the most effective spending and less waste.
- On the other hand, considering the donor organisation – implementing organisation partnership as a guarantee of achieving higher merit space, longer term, and practical solvency ranges. And considering the diverse global experience in giving, on how to link giving to different progressive and transformative agendas, and to study the determinants, standards and differences between the agendas.
- As for the implementing organisations, researchers see the need to work according to a systematic sectoral and specialized classification, and to establish specialized and network systems to achieve interests, advancement, strength, and coordination. And the need to move from reports, research and monitoring of reality, to futuristic studies, for the change that can be brought in the medium and long term, and to work on transforming it into feasibility studies with a holistic extractive mentality, and not purely a limited socio-economic mentality.
- As well as the gradual shift in financial dependency, from total dependence on grants and donations for spending, to their dependence on spending and investment together, and to building future endowment assets to liberate and guarantee the decision, and to secure business continuity in times of crisis and influencing variables.
- Considering future studies, with an organic link to reality and its needs, creating capital of forming a critical mass, effective, capable and productive for generation by focusing on (children and youth) and attribution groups (parents / schools / community facilities), to build personality capable of partnership in making the future, then in exceling and later leading it.
- Researchers and participants present their gratitude to Orphans Care Federation for organizing and implementing this distinguished conference rich in research, experiments and cases, which has achieved a quantum leap in ways of thinking, application and professional practice, and they recommend the repetition of organizing this conference, turning it into a periodical, progressive, developmental event, and a space dedicated to the exchange of practical experiences, guiding ideas, and visions for the future.
- Participants also recommended holding executive workshops, following this conference, in order to study and develop ways to activate the outcomes of the conference, circulate them, and work to adopt them among various organizations and partners sharing same interest, work and service.
Issued and recited to participants at the end of the conference.