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As you can see from the photos, Amanda Golert’s Kidpower presentation at the World Health Organization (WHO) Nordic-Baltic Conference and Workshops on Protecting Children from Maltreatment in Lithuania was a great success! Amanda wears many hats in our organization, as our center director for Sweden, the artist who draws most of our wonderful cartoons, the editor of many of our books, and a trainer and senior program leader.

Amanda led over 100 government officials and leaders from other organizations in practicing Kidpower safety skills with her. Many said it was their favorite presentation because they got to do something and that this was an aspect of the work for keeping children safe that was very interesting to them. Her speech was so compelling that I want to share this part with you:

Kidpower Sweden table at WHO Nordic-Baltic conference

Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration of Human rights says: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. For me, “security of person” means being safe.

Being safe means not only the absence of violence, abuse, deprivation and neglect, but also the presence of loving, nurturing, and respectful relationships and circumstances.

Amanda presenting

The rights and protection of children – in other words how we want children to be safe – are in our laws, in our research, and in our hearts.

But, we have found at Kidpower, in working with millions of people around the world, that in order for kids to be protected from maltreatment it is essential that they – and their adults – have developed and practiced skills to take charge of their safety.

Practicing stopping unwanted touch

We can have all the information and laws in the world but if kids do not know how to recognize potentially dangerous situations and do not have the skills to take action in those situations, they will be less safe.

Kids need to be successful in learning and practicing how to move away from a potential dangers, how to protect their feelings when someone is verbally abusing them, how to stop someone from touching them in an unsafe way, and to how be persistent in getting help from busy adults.

Practicing setting a boundary

Their adults need to have practiced how to intervene powerfully and respectfully to stop an unsafe situation, how to advocate with people in positions of authority, and how to have the courage to overcome the discomfort that makes this hard.

Just like kids need to know how to swim so as not to drown, how to look both ways before crossing the street to not get run over, we can give children thetools they need to stand up for themselves and give adults the tools they need to effectively intervene and support children to create positive and healthy relationships.

WHO poster on preventing child maltreatment

The Kidpower Tree at WHO Conference

And we can do this in a way that infuses hope and empowerment and gives children and teens and adults skills to implement right away and use throughout their whole life.

After taking part in the conference and workshop Amanda said, “I am touched by the passion of the people who were at this conference and their determination to work hard to change laws and research on the best ways to keep kids safe. And I am excited to see how we can integrate the skills and strategies we teach in Kidpower with the important work they are doing.”

In these troubled times, when my heart breaks at so many things that harm innocent people, especially children, it is healing and gives me hope to see how we at Kidpower and other caring people are making a difference all over the world.


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Published: June 21, 2018   |   Last Updated: June 21, 2018

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.