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Integrity Institute

Using child rights as a bridge to reduce risks of trafficking, build resiliency in vulnerable communities, and secure promising futures.

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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional insights gathered from Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Our User Experience Map follows the story of a child who was trafficked in to child labor in the fishing industry on Lake Volta. His journey continues, however, after he is rescued. He has a chance to be a child again, with a life in his community, joined by family and friends. Kwame participates in the Integrity Institute and shapes human rights activities with fellow students in the communities where they live. They change their community for the better, and flourish as successful students.

Why does the target community define this problem as urgent and/or a priority? How is the idea leveraging and empowering community assets to help create an environment for success? (1000 characters)

The target community (students) see addressing children’s rights as a need because they believe it leads to more children attending school. They believe when children know their rights they have the power to speak up for themselves. Our implementing staff’s direct experience with pilots show when children are educated about their rights, they seek help and join us in pursuing a shared mission of advancing children's rights. The biggest asset of our community is the population of youth. Our participants are hard working, with tenacity, diligence, and will. Our idea leverages them, their voices, and their power because it deconstructs traditional Ghanaian hierarchy. The Integrity Institute is a platform where children can gain confidence, learn their rights, and speak out against injustice. The platform serves as a foundation, a starting point, but is intended to support and cultivate leadership so our participants feel and believe they can tackle issues within communities on their own

How does the idea fit within the larger ecosystem that surrounds it? Urgent needs are usually a symptom of a larger issue that rests within multiple interrelated symptoms - share what you know about the context surrounding the problem you are aiming to solve. (500 characters)

Poverty, naivety, and the culture of entrusting children to the care of extended family members and friends are widely acclaimed to be fundamental causes of child trafficking. Challenging Heights approaches all initiatives by addressing root causes of trafficking, and by recognizing how interconnected and intertwined they are. We know these root causes increase the risks of trafficking and endanger children. Trafficking impacts families and children, coastal communities, and Ghana as a whole.

How does the idea affect or change the fundamental nature of the larger ecosystem that surrounds it (as described above) in a new and/or far-reaching way? (500 characters)

The Integrity Institute changes the fundamental ecosystems it surrounds by changing systems of power in the community. By leveraging the voices of children, we address naivety. The Integrity Institute encourages thinking beyond one's self, seeing and caring for one another, acknowledging others’ needs, and validating them. This care helps children look out for one another, and report when instances of trafficking occur; it combats naivety.

What will be different within the target community as a result of implementing the idea? What is the scope and scale of that difference? How long will it take to see that difference and how will it be sustained beyond BridgeBuilder support? (500 characters)

Our past success shows the impact of the child rights clubs on our community. More students are enrolled in school and stand for rights, parents are aware of the dangers of trafficking and tactics used by traffickers. Fewer instances of trafficking occur. The 36 month support will allow us to build a strong foundation for the clubs, without creating reliance, and set in motion a lasting programme. We will cultivate community ownership of the clubs to transition from BridgeBuilder support.

How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

We have built the design of the Integrity Institute on collaboration. To us, this means our implementing staff design the programme in a way that best fits the needs of our audience, within a scope they determine, to achieve the most necessary outcomes which they (alongside the community) have declared a priority. It also means we create space for our participants to provide us with feedback, and bring ideas of their own, to shape the child rights clubs in a way they believe is most beneficial to their communities. Engaging these voices is vitally important to the sustainability of child rights clubs in our community, and we hope the organisation can act as a facilitator which guides the foundation of the clubs, without creating reliance. In addressing age hierarchies, we will engage local leaders of community institutions such as schools, community organisations, and local businesses to see, understand, and invest in the work our youth leaders of the child rights clubs embark on.

What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (You can attach a timeline or GANTT chart in place of a written plan, if desired.) (1000 characters)

Above is a sample timeline projection for implementation over the next 3 years. Before hosting the community durbar introducing the Integrity Institute, we will host radio announcements to reach large audiences, who otherwise may not be notified of the community durbar event. In addition to the durbar, we will use our established relationships with families in the communities to recruit students for the Integrity Institute and to spread the word. Our team of Reintegration Officers spend time in the field, monitoring and supporting children, and are our greatest asset as a tie to the community. Their lasting relationships with families and children endorse our efforts and child rights initiatives.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (Feel free to share an organizational chart or visual description of your team). (500 characters)

Implementers: - Challenging Heights Reintegration Officers - Challenging Heights Rescue & Community Engagement Manager - Community Child Protection Committee Members - Teachers and School Administrators

What aspects of the idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (500 characters)

The BridgeBuilder funds would support the full cost of implementing the Integrity Institute, as well as any start-up costs associated with the child rights clubs (ie: materials for participants).

In preparation for our Expert Feedback Phase: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in your project? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea and needs.

1) Our Beneficiary Feedback interviews showed us the children who know about their rights are the ones who are in school, and those who aren’t in school are the ones who know nothing about their rights, so how can the Integrity Institute target children who are not in school and therefore least informed about their rights? 2) How can we best address the cultural implications of age hierarchies that exist in Ghana? What examples do you have of successful approaches to challenging this hierarchy to create a space for youth to have a voice? 3) Beyond reserving spaces for a balanced and equitable gender distribution of attendees, how can we continue to disrupt the power imbalance between genders that is prevalent in Ghana? For example, you may notice in our Student Feedback Interview, Obed almost always answers before Faustina. We believe this is representative of classroom dynamics in Ghana, and would like feedback on how to best approach this cultural norm?

Final Updates (*Please do not complete until we reach the Improve Phase*): How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

As part of the expert feedback phase, our expert Laura mentioned engaging parents of children who are not enrolled in school to better reach those who do not know their rights. The importance of long-standing relationships within the community is a key component to success here. Luckily, our physical presence in the community we work in, combined with our reputation and history supporting local fishermen and fish mongers, positions us well with strong ties in the community. Our incorporation of Laura’s recommendations emerges as the initial community durbar event we plan to host. At this event, families and community members will be invited to learn about the mission of the Integrity Institute, the goal of reinstating the child rights clubs, and what their children have the opportunity to take part in. The durbar will be a way for us to reach children who are not in school, connect with their parents, and discuss participation in the Integrity Institute.

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

Taking a global agenda like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and using it as a foundation to inform and educate youth to help them apply those global issues to a local context, is important for ensuring they are the ones driving change and creating solutions to problems in their community. We see the SDGs as addressing Peace, Prosperity and Planet and we believe the global agenda creates a strong foundation to address Peace, Prosperity and Planet in a radically new way - by allowing youth to make informed decisions about identifying problems in their communities and then forming solutions to solve those issues based on the background knowledge they gain from the global agenda. We think it is important for youth to drive the solution and idea generation in their communities to disrupt cycles of trafficking which impact peace in Ghana’s coastal communities. Through discussions and participant led debates on teen pregnancy, corporal punishment, child labor, child trafficking, and access to education, we will cultivate each child’s right to think freely and form their own opinions about issues facing their community. By introducing leadership and team building activities, students will have the chance to think beyond themselves and participate in collaborative idea-generation and problem solving, preparing them to lead child rights club programming in their host communities. The curriculum will present children with education on SDGs, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Peace, Prosperity and Planet. Lessons will help bridge all three and provide students with an example of how their club could execute a project bringing those things together. For example, bridging Prosperity and Planet to SDG 2 Zero Hunger and Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we may bring in local farmers to teach children about growing maize or farming cassava. We would apply that to the local context by recommending an activity that the child rights clubs could launch, such as creating a farm on their school grounds. This activity means students have ownership of raising those crops, and practice financial management with selling and distributing the crops.

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Our project bridges Peace, Prosperity, and Planet by leveraging the power of youth as ambassadors for change, community development, and human rights. We believe children have the power to create change and if given the opportunity, will lead change in their communities. The Integrity Institute will develop leaders who will bring knowledge back to their communities and lead local child rights clubs, driven by the visions they have for their communities, where more children will learn critical information about addressing global challenges that also touch them at home. By bringing leaders back to the communities to begin clubs, the program will be sustainable and scalable. These locally-led, student-driven clubs will address children's rights, commit to the SDGs, and foster change. We foresee this program helping youth change the world by empowering them to create innovative solutions to the challenges they face by investing in leadership development and youth-led community change - a practice not yet explored where we work. The project idea bridges solutions to global challenges by connecting the SDGs and human rights education with the power of children, their voices, and their leadership. The Integrity Institute will help to solve root causes of trafficking, particularly poverty and naivety, by sensitizing children, cultivating their leadership potential, and encouraging their visionary contributions to the betterment of their communities. Child leaders will participate in trainings and youth camps to gain vital leadership skills for them to begin the clubs, then prepare more children to become change agents. The participants will learn the value cooperation, respectful conflict resolution, and autonomous dialogue all have for coexistence and collaboration. The aim of the program is not only to educate and foster strong leaders, but also to ensure children have a voice, and use that voice to create resiliency and meaningful change in their communities.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Direct Beneficiaries - Children aged 10-15 from coastal communities vulnerable to trafficking in Ghana including but not limited to: Winneba, Apam, Mumford, Senya, and Gomoa - Child survivors of modern slavery and trafficking aged 10-17 - Reintegrated children aged 10-17 Beneficiaries will be selected from the demographics above by our Community Child Protection Committees - community volunteers who build resiliency in the community & our Reintegration Officers. Indirect Beneficiaries - Parents and community members of coastal communities vulnerable to child trafficking in Ghana - Siblings of participants - Peers and students of participants from coastal communities vulnerable to child trafficking - Coastal communities vulnerable to child trafficking in Ghana including but not limited to: Winneba, Apam, Mumford, Senya, and Gomoa. - Durbar attendees: community members aged 3-50 from communities vulnerable to child trafficking

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

We know the global challenges of peace, prosperity, and planet are complex and must be addressed collaboratively, interweaving existing interventions to solve them. To adequately solve this problem, we are leveraging the power of children. Participants will disseminate knowledge in their communities, discussing the importance of everyone’s inherent right to Peace, Prosperity, & Planet. They will discuss, plan, and lead initiatives they believe will best ensure prosperous communities. By sharing knowledge and allowing their perspective to guide initiatives, greater social cohesion, interconnectedness, and community-led change will be strengthened in Ghana. Inherent to the design of this programming and its activities is the unique advantage of being catered to the specific needs of the people in the source communities where we work. We believe our holistic model of listening to local voices and understanding local contexts works, and is the greatest strength of the Integrity Institute.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

For 15 years Challenging Heights, a survivor-led anti-trafficking NGO, has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to protecting children’s rights by consulting local populations, shaping programming in innovative ways to solve the specific issues, according the needs & desires expressed by these populations. Our founder James committed himself to educating children about their rights & provided a safe, protective environment where vulnerable children were able to thrive

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Past experience with child rights clubs inspired our idea. James is a survivor of child slavery; he worked for 7 years on Lake Volta. After managing to escape, and overcoming community rejection, James put himself through school then returned home to impact children's lives for the better. In 2005, the clubs were born. Building resiliency against trafficking and educating children about their rights, the clubs had a lasting change on the community, providing a safe place for children to be free.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Prosperity means poverty alleviation and economic empowerment; it occurs when basic necessities are met. Prosperity and Planet are influenced by overfishing in Ghana's coastal communities; the fish stock has been depleted to the point of threatening the livelihoods of fishermen. Overfishing has led impoverished fishermen to recruit children for unpaid labor. Many have resorted to illegal fishing methods, but these methods are not sustainable. We define peace as an interconnectedness between human beings that allows for cooperation, inclusion, and equal participation in society. Peace is influenced by family separation and the movement of children. The movement of children amongst relatives for the pursuit of better opportunities is a Ghanaian cultural norm. Traffickers capitalize on this tendency by deceiving parents into handing over their children. Threats to PP, & P demand our attention. Responding to their interconnectedness with integrity, partnership, & humility is our aim.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We learn from our experiences and from those around us; we hear what people hope for children in their communities, listen to their visions for the town, and cater the clubs to the needs and wishes of those most vulnerable to trafficking. We believe strong, collaborative partnerships create a powerful momentum of change and are part of a rich anti-trafficking community of NGOs, with whom we will work alongside for this project. We are founding member of the Coalition of NGOs Against Child Trafficking, working to end child trafficking in Ghana. We work closely with Family for Every Child, a global alliance of organizations working with vulnerable children. Imagine You Can will lend curricular support. James’ recognition as a World Children’s Prize hero has connected us with a community of global change makers. We have used this network to share knowledge, and drew support for our Integrity Institute from Maiti Nepal, an organization fighting for girls’ rights in Kathmandu, India.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Strengths of Community - 1/3 of the population in Winneba are 15 years or younger (according to the 2010 census data) - Culture of accepting community projects and initiatives

Geographic Focus

The Child Rights Clubs are a resilience-building strategy to combat trafficking in Ghana.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

We will begin the Integrity Institute plans immediately upon receiving the grant; all activities will be completed in 36 months. First we will host the Integrity Institute. The students will then gather peers for their very own child rights clubs. We will host three community durbars to explain project mission and vision. The clubs will meet weekly and will host community events addressing the SDGs. The Integrity Institute graduates will meet three times for training and once for a final wrap

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Attachments (4)

Integrity Institute Workplan and Logic Model.pdf

Attached is a first draft of out Integrity Institute Workplan and Logic Model.

Integrity Institute Sample Lesson Plan.pdf

A sample lesson plan for the introductory session of the Integrity Institute. At their core, the child rights clubs are grounded in preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society and encouraged discussion of what rights mean for children as individuals and for their society, how rights can only have meaning if they are balanced by responsibilities and how young people can exercise their rights in everyday life.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Christina Schwanke

Nicole Ballou 

Good Morning! I have been meaning to read your proposal for some time and I am so glad I finally got to sit down and read it! I used to run a program that was intensive education for at risk children about sexual assault, bullying and domestic violence. One of the things that I learned during this time is that the most effective way to reach children....just like you are through other children. It also takes multiple interactions with children to help them truly embrace the information. It looks like you guys are on the right track for huge impact! I don't know if it would be helpful because you are dealing with alternative abuses but I think the Green Dot training from CALCASA is informative. I would love to see how your project evolves. If you would like please connect with me on Linkedin:

Best of Luck!

Christina Schwanke

Photo of Nicole Ballou

Hi Christina Schwanke !

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about our project. We're really excited about the potential impact student-driven clubs could have on our community. Thank you for sending along Green Dot! I've downloaded some materials to see how we can best incorporate the strategy into our curriculum!


Photo of Christina Schwanke

Great! Thank you for adding me on Linkedin! I look forward to seeing your progress.


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