The Right to Participation
The Right to Participation
"Participation means Protection"
Arab Children Forum
The practice had shown that most programs directed to or addressing children problems in the Arab world were formed and planned without the participation or consultation of children. Children are denied the right to express their views in programs directed to them.
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.
To ascertain the right of children to express themselves and have their input with regard to programs that are directed to them and affecting their future, aiming at protecting them.
This is going to be achieved through analyzing the status of children's participation in the Arab world, and establishing children's forums at a national level, in addition to launching interactive electronic website for children.
Identifying the level of children participation in decisions directed to or addressing them, through developing a field study in eight Arab countries.
Creating a dialogue between children and adults, and among children themselves, through establishing national forums for children.
Identifying children's views and opinions regarding their issues, through electronic website.
Raising awareness of Arab children of their rights and the concept of partnership.
ACCD is implementing this Project in partnership with AGFUND
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.
Sawa online is an interactive website based on the technology of content management system (CMS), and it includes a portal for all national websites of children forums.
The website offers every child the possibility of creating his/her own website, granting Arab children the opportunity to establish live conversations among them; whether within the National Forum of their country or in dialogues with children from other Arab countries and other national forums. In its provision, activation, and proposing innovations, the website depends primarily on the active participation of the children themselves, by introducing their thoughts about their daily lives, their schools; the activities they do and their relationships to their families, as well as the problems they face in their lives, adding their contributions; whether technical, social, sporting, psychological or historical, through a story, a movie, a painting, a song or an article, etc.. It can also be lively discussions between the children and some officials as shall be agreed upon and arranged.
Providing a constructive dialogue between children in the Arab world on issues related to them.
The website addresses children ages eight to fourteen, aiming at providing children with a permanent sphere to express themselves to decision makers in Arab countries and international community.
For more information on this Project, please contact: [email protected]