Nigel Chapman is the Chief Executive Officer in Plan International Devolpment Agency, one of the largest child-centered community development organizations in the world. It was founded 70 years ago and has been operating in Egypt since 1981 under the supervision of the Minstry of Social Solidarity. Chapman worked for the BBC for more than 20 years and held senior management and editorial posts in television, radio and online, many with a strong emphasis on news and current affairs.
In addition to his World Service role, Nigel is also Chair of the BBC World Service Trust and the World Service's charitable arm, which uses communications and new technologies to aid development in some of the world's poorest countries and spent over 6 years working at the highest levels of the international Board and Members Assembly. He is currently the Chair of the UK National Organization.
"The media is very important on two levels. The first one is that you have many supporters around the world in Plan and they need to know about what you’re doing with the money and also the media is a tool for raising awareness to what we do. The second level is that it also plays a role in the development of children; as I’ve seen many projects around the world have access to the media to provide skills, training, video work, internet activities. And how to develop the skills of boys and girls and provide confidence to young people get" Chapman tells us.
He recently visited Egypt to meet with all the National Directors from Plan. This group is the countries that are responsible for raising funds for Plan Programs. He also met with Plan team that works in East and South Africa (RESA region) and all the directors and also the Regional staff. The visit was an opportunity for African countries of RESA (Plan Regional office of East and South Africa) to ensure support and commitment from the National Directors Team as they are the ones that mobilize money in 17 countries from Europe, North America and Asia.
During his field visit in Egypt, he went to Ezbet Khairallah, a place where Plan has many child-developing projects. "The field visit was really good as I've seen people working under a tough climate but despite that, there are challenges and children have to get the right balance as many young people work and we want to make sure that they go to school and work in a safe environment. In an ideal world all children would be in primary and secondary school and they won’t be working but that’s the way we’re living," he says.
Chapman also thinks that children must have other skills than working and education, "we must find initiative solutions for that. Plan helps with that by getting the right teachers with the right curriculum," he adds.
Plan has released emergency funds and is on the ground to help deal with the immediate aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti and also to protect the children there from child trafficking.
"We are creating Safe places where there is security and the children shouldn't be moving around without boundaries. Children should live in large groups so abduction won’t take place. Also we have to make sure they have the right documentations so as not to disappear out of the country," Chapman says.
The Egyptian government is working hand in hand with Plan Egypt to support child-centered development projects.
"We have a long-term relationship with the Egyptian government and sure there is a good atmosphere between Plan Egypt and the government and if there was no positive relationship we won’t be working like this as they give us a good space to work," Chapman tells us.