We’ll always have Stockholm…

Day-3---MT

With around 200 delegates, including 64 member child helplines, and after more than 3-and-a-half days of workshops, presentations and side meetings, the 10th International Consultation has come to an end!

Together with our members, partners and special guests we’ve shared experiences and learnings, talked about problems (and their solutions!) challenges (and their outcomes!), new developments, ongoing projects and upcoming events. We’ve rekindled old contacts, strengthened existing partnerships and made lots of new connections and many new friends.

The 10th International Consultation of Child Helplines (or IC 2022, to give it an easier name) started this time around even before it had actually started! An additional extra session – focusing on ‘The Future of Tech and Child Helplines’ – was added to the agenda as a special presentation, with contributions from our members from Canada (Kids Help Phone), Denmark (Børns Vilkår) and Tanzania (C-Sema), as well as our friends from Tech Matters and others.

All images (C) Crelle Photography, 2022

The IC 2022 was officially opened on the morning of Tuesday, 27 September by some very special guests indeed: Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden inaugurated the meeting, and speeches were made by Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid (the Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General on Violence Against Children) and our very own Cathryn Anila, co-chair of #Youth, our Youth Advisory Council. Our Executive Director, Patrick Krens, together with Magnus Jägerskog, the Secretary General of Bris, our Swedish child helpline member who hosted the event, completed this grand opening!

Day 1 saw a focus on both aspects of the IC 2022’s overarching theme of ‘Resilience‘. Firstly, we celebrated the resilience of children and young people in the face of the challenges presented to them over the past few years, whether natural of human-made, the results of the coronavirus pandemic or climate change, or the consequences of natural disasters or armed conflicts; and we discussed the important role of child helplines in helping to support children through all of these different and difficult scenarios. Secondly, we looked at the resilience shown by child helplines themselves, in ensuring that their services remained open and available to children and young people throughout these critical times.

All images (C) Crelle Photography, 2022

A major announcement during the formal IC 2022 dinner held on the evening of Day 1 concerned the Supervisory Board of Child Helpline International. In a special ceremony hosted by our founder, Jeroo Billimoria, we said goodbye to Professor Jaap E Doek, who stepped down as Chair after two amazingly successful terms, and welcomed Corinne Dettmeijer, our former Vice Chair, as she took on this demanding, but exciting, new role.

Many workshops took place during the IC 2022, including ones focusing on evidence-based advocacy, quality and impacts of child helplines and accessibility and inclusive practices of child helplines, children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, staff wellbeing, youth participation and technology. A marketplace on the afternoon of Day 2 also gave our delegates the chance to showcase their work and achievements. In addition, Day 3 allowed our child helpline members to come together in their respective ‘regional spaces’, to discuss the specific issues and challenges relating to them in their regional context.

First 7 images (C) Crelle Photography, 2022

The culmination of the IC 2022, however, was in the launch of ‘The Stockholm Declaration of the 10th International Consultation of Child Helplines‘. The Stockholm Declaration is the statement made on behalf of all of our members, and outlines the seven essential measures to be undertaken by governments and the UN to ensure the rights of children, and the protection of children and young people all around the world. In addition it outlines the actions that should be undertaken by partners in civil society, international agencies and the private sector to support these measures.

All in all, we enjoyed a happy, successful, productive and inspirational International Consultation. We send our eternal thanks to the fantastic team at Bris who made this experience possible, the indispensable team of translators and interpreters who made the event accessible for our French, Spanish and Arabic-speaking members and guests, the technicians who took care to ensure all of the presentations went according to plan, IC 2022 photographer Christian Crelle, guest moderator Fredrik Berling, and the staffs of both the Sheraton Stockholm Hotel, who hosted the main event, and of the Hotel C who looked after our special day-zero technology presentation.

And, as our wonderful delegates, special guests and my hard-working (…and no doubt thoroughly exhausted!)  colleagues at Child Helpline International make their ways back home this weekend, all that’s left to say is: See you all next time at the 11th International Consultation in 2025!

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