Partnerships can strengthen and build resilience by enhancing capacity building, providing access to more educational resources and funding, and facilitating local outreach. In East Africa, these partnerships have enabled The Mauritius Scouts Association (MSA) to create a meaningful impact in communities by bolstering the safeguarding of children, youth, and adults in Scouting and beyond.
Like other Member Organizations, MSA is committed to ensuring the safety of all its members - whether they are taking part in activities through Scouting or outside the Association. With the support of WOSM Services and the Catholic Church - through cooperation with its safeguarding office -, the Member Organization has reinforced this dedication by championing Safe from Harm not just on paper but also by integrating it into the very fabric of its Scouting activities.
Around 100 Scout leaders in Mauritius are furthering the Scout motto of “Be prepared!” by helping implement Safe from Harm in their country. On this journey, they have received support through WOSM Services to review MSA’s draft Safe from Harm policy and to start its implementation at the local level in all regions of the country.
In partnership with the church, particularly with the Diocese Safeguarding Office, Mauritian Scouts organised a three-day training programme for Scout leaders from around the country. The training equipped participants with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to better understand child safeguarding, including how to spot and respond to abuse and mistreatment, how to recognise the warning signs of a child who is a victim of sexual aggression and trauma, and how to leverage “Listening Ears” at Scouting events.
The programme enhanced MSA’s knowledge of Safe from Harm, and the Association would like to extend a special thanks to the Catholic Church for all its support in advancing their common goal of child safeguarding. Emphasising the importance of the church in these efforts, Father George Kenny, Vicar general of the diocese of Port-Louis and responsible for Public Relations at the bishopric, said that “it is our mission to protect the victims and sensitise [the population] to ensure no abuse occurs”.
He added that while he believes that a Safe from Harm Policy is useful, it is not sufficient on its own, and support MSA in taking additional steps to ensure greater awareness of safeguarding and the prevention of abuse throughout Mauritius.
Through these positive actions, MSA hopes to attract more young people and adults to join its membership. By offering ever safer spaces for Scouts to interact and grow, the Association has shown that Safe from Harm is more than just a series of policies. It provides essential building blocks to ensure that everyone involved in Scouting is responsible and committed to protecting children and young people. Equipped with the right knowledge and tools, MSA is leading by example in the region and across the world as a pillar of safety, growth, and hope.