Salty Childhood

Salty Childhood

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Increase Public Awareness to the problem of Child Abuse and Neglect by means of interactive photo exhibitions and installation highlighted in national mass-media and Internet.

About You
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Your idea
Sector Focus

Civil society

Year the initative began (yyyy)


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Positioning of your initiative on the mosaic diagram
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Invisibility of problem

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Increase community resilience

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic

Belarusian society is going through a transitional period. Transition is escorted by tough pressure upon civil society from the Governmental side. Socio-cultural peculiarities of Slavic nations define disclosure of child abuse as great shame. And people do not have the habit of reporting cases due to absence of confidence in Govt. bodies.

What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

Increase Public Awareness to the problem of Child Abuse and Neglect by means of interactive photo exhibitions and installation highlighted in national mass-media and Internet.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

Exhibition “Salty Childhood” was launched on April 11, 2007 with presence of Parliamentarians, Diplomatic Corp, International Organizations, and Governmental bodies, NGOs, Mass-media, Business, Artists, and Children. Organizers prepared a surprise for the participants of the ceremony – presentation of a new web-site “Salty Childhood” where children, youth, parents and professionals could find information about child abuse and neglect, about the ways to overcome or avoid and solve this problem. This web-site is designed for collection of data for Alternative Report on Implementation of UN CRC and, of course – for organizing of real help to victimized children through their reporting to independent body such as INGO “Ponimanie” and further referring process to professional sources with civil participation. Main achievement of the project is consolidation of different sections of the society to achieve a very humanist goal of prevention of cruelty to children. Most important lesson learned is “enough to be afraid”, we are able to make big public events for the sake of children without fear to get penalties from Governmental bodies.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?

Project "Salty Childhood" was held three times in 2007 and 2008. More than 10 000 people visited the Exhibition free of charge. The Feed-back Book is filled with warm and cordial words of gratitude from visitors. The Exhibition received an enormous number of thanks for the activity of Exhibition’s volunteer team. Excursions, games, movie presentations were presented to visitors. Two films were demonstrated in the days of opening and closing of the Exhibition thanks to support of local office of UNICEF .

How do you plan to grow your innovation?

The Exhibition helped to attract the public to the problem of child abuse and neglect in Belarus. During the exhibition and later on the Internet-site we received feed-back from the public and it helped to disclose further needs of the target audience. Thus, in future we plan to carry out further exhibitions, filling them with the relevant things to attract a greater scope of the public to the problems experienced by the children. Particular importance will be given to the exhibition in destant areas of the country. Increased public awareness of the problem and the Internet-site will help to form an independent reporting body which will be able of real protection of the rights of the children.

Do you have any existing partnerships, and if so, how do you create them?

Salty Childhood is the result of very hard organizational and collaborative work. Pool of organizers including local office of UNICEF, Municipal Enterprise “Kinovideoprokat”, Cinema “Pobeda”, Gallery “Terre d’es Hommes”, and INGO “Ponimanie” were supported by Embassy of USA and national social-responsible business, who helped to organize this event three times in 2007 and 2008. I create this partnership through active and honest communication and involvement of partners in peer and fair partnership.

Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact.

We really exploded indifferent public opinion and changed the situation with prevention of child abuse in Belarus for the better. We have to continue, especially in conservative and closed rural areas to improve the situation.

What are the main barriers to creating or achieving your impact?

The main barriers are lack of financial support and lack of desire of state agents to take upon oneself the responsibility of solution of the problems we address.

How many people have you served or plan to serve?

During the 3 Ehxibitions carried out in 2007 and 2008 more than 2 000 000 people have been served. Among them children, young people, parents, professionals, decision and policy makers, general public.


Directly more than 10 000 people have been served. These are the visitors of the Exhibition.


Indirectly more than 2 000 000 people have been served. These are mainly the people who received the information about the Exibition and its ideas through the mass media and from those who were involved into the Exhibition (either as participants or as visitors).

Please list any other measures of the impact of your innovation?

Besides the number of visitiors of the Exhibition (about 10 000 people), the number of mass media coverages, the number of web-site visitors and the number of reported cases of abuse can be named as measures. Thus, since the first Exhibition we have been referred to by 11 printed, 5 radio, 5 TV and 17 Internet mass media. The site has been visited by 30 000 people. The number of reported cases only half a year after the first Exhibition increased by 93.

Is there a policy intervention element to your innovation?

There is a potential policy intervention element in the innovation, though it is indirect at present. The exhibition is a premise for the policy intervention which will take place only when the general public is fully aware of the situation with children and their rights in Belarus and the problems they experience.

Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

The direct beneficiaries of the Exhibition are the visitors:parents (who experienced the reality as their children do and thus said NO to viloence and neglect toward the children), young people and children (who made the decision to bring up their future children without violence and abuse) and professionals (who saw the ways of bringing the ideas of child abuse prevention across to the public).

How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

The iniciative has been financed by the USA Embassy in Belarus, by representatives of socially responsible business and by UNICEF.

If known, provide information on your finances and organization

Annual budget of INGO "Ponimanie"/"Understanding" is USD 70 000.
No revenue is generated because it is forbidden by legislation for any NGO to carry out any commercial activities that bring income.
Staff uncludes 4 employees.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

The potential demand for the innovation is rather big judging by the feed-backs left by the visitors. It is very important to implement this innovation in every region of the country. The innovation is especially relevant for Belarusian society, because it helps to overcome traditional Soviet approach of saving appearences with positive official statistics at the expense of real solution to existing problem. The innovation introduces to Belarus democratic mechanisms typical for a civil society.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

The main barrier of the financial sustainability is caused by the legislation under which no NGO can carry out activities which bring revenue. Thus there is no sustainable sourse of income. In these conditions we rely mainly on our international donors and socially responsible business.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

The innovation was originated by me together with ex-program director of INGO "Ponimanie" Mrs. Natallia Ivaniuk. We were thinking about possible solutions to the problem of low public awareness to the problem of child abuse. And at the end we decided to try to make bright and animated event which could give to adult people feelings of young children to give to adults understanding of children's needs. Then we have made big actor photos with different situations of abuse, then we found partners, then - produced big samples of furniture, rented big hall and made advertising campaign. Everything was fine, we got success.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Manager and Psychologist. International Consultant in Education and Protection of Children’s Rights.
Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of INGO ”Understanding”. Leader of ISPCAN National Partner. ISPCAN member.
Author of 7 books, number of abstracts and articles. Coordinator of first national Study of Child Abuse in Residential Institutions. Participant of National Study of Child Abuse. UNICEF Contractor. Coordinator of Belarus Child Counter-Trafficking Team. Evaluator of the SIDA Program.
Author of the Concept of the Ethic for NGO Community in Belarus.

Emphasis of Work

NGO/ Advocacy in areas of Protection of Children in Difficult Situations, Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Support to Abused and Trafficked Children, Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Support to Forming of Life Skills of Orphaned Children – Wares and Ex-wares of Residential Institutions.