Data and Privacy Protection in our SOS Programmes

21-Jan-2020 | News | Petronella Chindumba

Introduction

The topic of data and privacy protection is highlighted already in the Child Protection Policy which was launched in May 2008. However, the findings of the child safeguarding annual survey confirm that this topic has not been properly reflected in the implementation process of the Child Protection Policy in many member associations and MA Zambia is no exception. The procedures ensuring and protecting privacy of children and young people supported in the SOS programmes are very weak; sometimes they exist only on paper because officers do not use them. There have been incidents reported either within the member associations or directly to the GSC where the privacy of children and young people supported in different SOS programmes has been breached.

It would not be possible to collect necessary funds from the corporate donors and individual sponsors without communicating successes, but also challenges and difficult life situations that the children, young people and families supported in different SOS programmes have to face. This fundraising income is essential for covering the costs of most of the programmes across the federation. 

However, the child safeguarding requirements insist that it is necessary to find a balance between the fundraising activities and “using” the information about children and young people in our programmes (including their pictures and life stories) and the right of children and young people for their privacy and its protection.
Recommendations

To help remedy the situation, please here are reminders on what we need to do in order to protect the data and privacy of children in our programmes.

  1. To improve protection on data and privacy at programme levels staff should limit the amount of interlinked personal information used in the external communication and fundraising activities to avoid identifying the child. Sensitive information (health status, sexual orientation, history of abuse) cannot be linked to a specific child i.e. where the name, picture and/or location is publicised. Children and young persons should be informed why / when information is collected (including pictures, life stories etc.) and they have a right to say “No”. Consent should always be sought form the child or young person.
  2. External visits
  • External visitors should always be accompanied by an SOS co-worker when visiting the programme.
  • All sponsors wishing to visit the programme and the sponsored child need to deliver a background check before they can come for the visit
  • Children and care givers need to be well-informed about the visit / event in advance (why, when, who etc.)
  • Children should have the final say whether they want to participate in an event or in a meeting with a visitor
  • External visits cannot be organized as sightseeing tours – children are not tourist attractions. (see the existing policy support documents)
  •  Events of sponsors / donors should not be organized in the pro


Petronella Chindumba
Brand and Communications