In 2009, the Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD) conducted a study on identifying the level of children's knowledge of their rights and roles in planning programs directed to them, which covered eleven Arab countries. The results of the study revealed the weak level of children participation, in addition over 80 percent of the children studied reported the desire to practice their right of participation and freedom of expression. Therefore, ACCD held Arab Children Forum from 22nd till 25th of February 2010 in Cairo, which aimed to emphasizing children's right to participation in programs directed to them, and affecting their lives, in order to ensure their protection. Thirty one children, representing nine countries, had participated in this Forum.
Vision of Arab Children Forum:
The vision for the Arab children forum is based on the significance of encouraging and facilitating efficient children participation by providing the suitable social environment for this participation through the establishment of national forums for children whereby their views in their issues would be heard, their participation in the planning of programs directed to them would be facilitated. As well, these forums are considered to be secured channels for communicating with decision makers.
Arab Children Forum, a Mechanism for Participation:
The outputs of discussions during the Arab Children Forum revealed the desire of Arab children to establish their permanent forum as a mechanism for participation; a forum that believes in every child right to participation without discrimination, and regardless of his/her education, sex, religion, or home land, in addition to encouraging children in difficult circumstances to participate in this forum. The Establishing Forum of Arab Children concluded with a number of recommendations expressed by children in their closing ceremony that included a call for ACCD to adopt the following:
- Hosting and supervising the headquarters secretariat of "Arab Children Forum".
- Establishing an interactive website for the Arab Children Forum whereby children will be able to express their opinions regarding issues related to them.
- Coordinating among the members of the Forum in all Arab countries.
Goal of the Arab Children Forum:
Encouraging children participation and acknowledging their views about the appropriate way to effectively increase their participation in decision making concerning their issues.
Objectives of the Arab Children Forum:
- Introducing children to the concept of participation as a principal element in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Identifying different forms of participation and how to benefit from them to expand children participation.
- Identifying the role of Arab children forum in increasing children participation.
- Developing a plan for the children forum for the next two years.
Activities of the Arab Children Forum:
- Demonstrating, by children, different forms of children participation in the Arab world.
- Workshops for children about the website and how to develop it.
- Training workshops for children on child rights focusing on participation.
- Planning, by children, for the Arab children forum, according to nationally shared needs.
- Children will elect, from among participants, a steering committee for their forum.
Expected Outputs of the Arab Children Forum:
It is expected that the Forum would lead to a better understanding to the best means to expand children participation; and to develop the website; and come up with a work plan for the next forum.
The Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD) is an Arab non-governmental development organization that has a legal entity and operating in the field of childhood under the presidency of HRH Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz. ACCD was founded in 1987 upon the initiative of the late HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz...read more