Presentation on theme: "BY: BAKARY Y. BADJIE PROGRAMME OFFICER-CHILD PARTICIPATION CHILD PROTECTION ALLIANCE THE GAMBIA CHILD PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE: VOICE OF THE YOUNG-A MODEL."— Presentation transcript:
BY: BAKARY Y. BADJIE PROGRAMME OFFICER-CHILD PARTICIPATION CHILD PROTECTION ALLIANCE THE GAMBIA CHILD PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE: VOICE OF THE YOUNG-A MODEL
CPA: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Formed in The Gambia on 26th April 2001 Formation was instigated by the absence of a civil society consortium on child rights and child protection in The Gambia Current membership stands at 48 organizations
VOICE OF THE YOUNG-WHAT IS IT? Established in 2002 Serves as the mouthpiece of children Present in the Greater Banjul Area and in Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in Lower River and Central River Regions of The Gambia Comprises boys and girls under the age of 18 years-from all social backgrounds: majority of the members are girls
VOICE OF THE YOUNG-WHAT IS IT? Voice of the Young is administered by a 14 member Executive Committee (the ‘Core’) with support of Youth Coordinators Each Voice Club is run by a 7 member Executive Committee and supported by 2 Teacher Coordinators Develops or Plans and implements its own activities which forms part of the CPA annual Work Plan Represented by its President in the CPA Board of Directors
OBJECTIVES Raise awareness and increase knowledge of children on issues of child rights Empower children with the life skills Enhance the meaningful and active participation of children in decision- making at all levels Develop in children a sense of responsibility, civic consciousness and Discipline
PROMOTING CHILD PARTICIPATION: WHAT ACTIVITIES VOICE ENGAGES IN Monthly General Membership Meetings (Planning and skills building forum) Children ‘Bantaba’ (Advocacy platform; adoption of Declarations) Media Programme (Child panelists and moderators) Capacity Building Activities for Children
VOICE ACTIVITIES CONT. Commemoration of Special Days Advocacy and Lobbying (an established advocacy group within Voice) School Based Programmes Community Social Mobilisation Drama, Quiz and Debate Competitions
VOICE INVOLVEMENT IN LEGAL AND POLICY CHANGES IN THE GAMBIA COMMUNITY CHLD PROTECTION INITIATIVES
CHILDREN SERVING IS DIFFERENT COMMITTEES AND TASK GROUPS Community Child Protection Committees (mainly in rural areas) Neighbourhood Watch Groups (in Tourism Development Settlement) Government Taskforces: Preparation of Gambia’s reports on children, validation of research reports etc. Government delegations to UN and other international meetings /conferences
ADVOCACY FOR A CHILDREN’S ACT: WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN ON THE CRC AND ADVOCACY TECHNIQUES
INVOLVEMENT OF CHILDREN (VOICE OF THE YOUNG GROUP) IN THE LEGAL REFORM PROCESS Engaged and encouraged the participation of policy makers, parents, religious leaders and politicians in the legal reform exercise Held meetings with the Vice President and First Lady of The Gambia to garner support for the reform process Organised workshops, radio and television programmes on the UN CRC and existing laws in The Gambia (to show anomalies) Converged on the National Assembly in large numbers on the day the Bill was tabled for adoption
VOICE ADVOCACY GROUP Membership of Seven (7) children from the Executive and general members supported by the 2 Youth Coordinators Embarked on Advocacy Meetings through courtesy call on key government official, heads of NGOs UN agencies and Security
KEY OUTCOMES Kanifing Municipal and Brikama Area Councils increased the allocation of their Municipality’s budget to children’s welfare: mainly in the areas of education (scholarship), water and sanitation, birth registration, child protection and play and recreation. In 2011: Budget increment for Department of Social Welfare
SOME SUCCESSES OF THE VOICE CLUBS All 12 schools with Voice Clubs prohibited Corporal and other humiliating and degrading punishment for students Appointment of designated teachers as focal points for child abuse reporting in all schools with Voice Clubs Have increase awareness on child rights and child protection for locals in villages where the schools are base
SOME SUCCESSES OF THE VOICE CLUBS Reduces incidences of teenage pregnancy involving students and drop of school / increase enrolment of children in school Built the life skills of their members and other children in the these schools Contributed to the reduction of cases of defilement, sexual harassment and other child abuse cases in the communities
IMPACT AND SUCCESSES OF INITIATIVES Greater acceptance of child rights Children with high sense of esteem and skills in public speaking, and presentation and advocacy skills Empowered children who are able to stand up and speak out when their rights are ignored or neglected Voice a ‘leader’ in child participation Prohibition of corporal punishment in schools with Voice Clubs Sexual harassment Reporting Procedures for School with Clubs
CHALLENGES ‘Child rights’ still regarded as Eurocentric and anti-Islam Culture of silence around child sexual abuse FGM/C and child marriage sensitive and vexed political questions No Ministry for children
LESSONS LEARNED (1) 1. Children are their own better advocates when they are provided the necessary tools and guidance. 2. Policy makers tend to appreciate, respect and value the views of children on child protection issues and are spur to action on these pleas (adult advocates are often accused of being on the pay roll of the West NGOs).
LESSONS LEARNED (2) 3. Effective public information campaigns on child rights are essential catalysts for change when they accompanied by policy- oriented advocacy strategies. 4. A strong capacity for mobilisation and continuous dialogue and engagement with various stakeholders are needed to ensure acceptance of the child’s right to participate
LESSONS LEARNED (3) 5. Facilitating children’s access to the media makes its possible for many more people to hear what children truly think and allows them to express their opinions fully and in detail. 6. The people’s confidence is won when a culturally sensitive issue such as child participation is framed in a culturally appropriate context.
LESSONS LEARNED (4) 7. Social change is a slow and agonizing process that cannot be hurried if it is to be long- lasting. 8.Law reform is an important prerequisite for policy change but it is not sufficient to guarantee children’s rights.
Special Thanks Save the Children Sweden Regional Office for West Africa