Sunday 12 August 2007

The African Movement of Working Children and Youth

The African Movement of Working Children and Youth

The AMWCY was set up in 1994. As of March 2007, the African Movement of Working Children and Youth had 80 associations, in as many as 64 towns of 20 African countries. It is made up of about 728 grassroots groups including more than 37,000 active members. Members include housemaids, girls who are vendors in the market, independent working children and youth in streets and markets, as well as female & male apprentices. 70% of members are below 18, and 53% of members are girls. More facts (in French) including all contact details of the associations can be found in the latest annual bulletin of the movement: "WCY face the challenge, volume 7".

The Working Children and Youth began by organising themselves in their working and living places. They set up associations in their own towns in order to strengthen their solidarity and also gain respect from authorities, as well as from communities. From 1996 onward, the AMWCY noted that the promotion of their rights should be fulfilled through concretisation.

Movement of Working Children and Youth organisational set up
Grassroots groups from the same town get together in Associations of WCYs (AWCY), in the same area. Several AWCY are often created in the same country. They form themselves into a National Association or into a National Coordination of AWCY.

During the African meetings of the AMWCY (every 2 years), these Associations or Coordinations elect a female or male delegate (below 18 years) who will represent them at the Regional Commission of the AMWCY which meets once a year.

The AMWCY has developed clear criteria to become a member of the movement (such as being active for at least one year, providing an annual report, and having an action plan). At present 20 associations are being considered to become members.

Activities of the Movement of Working Children and Youth
  • Technical assistance
  • Promotion of the rights
  • Lobbying
  • Fight against child trafficking
  • Income Generating Activities (IGAs)
  • Technical assistancePromotion of their rights
The WCY articuled 12 rights which they consider to be the backbone for all WCY in 64 African towns. They match children’s rights, mentioned in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and in the African Charter on Human Rights and Children’s Welfare, but they are very specific towards the situation of working children such as the right to remain in the village.
Promotion of these rights can be voiced through “information” and “implementation” activities. Information about the 12 rights is dispatched to the WCYs themselves, so they can be aware of them in order to be able to defend and promote those rights by themselves. This information also gets to the public through direct contacts, or via the media.

ENDA Jeunesse Action International
The Jeunesse Action team from ENDA Tiers Monde supports children living in difficult conditions. Its objectives are to strengthen children's organisation on the local, national and regional levels. They facilitate exchange, training and communication between organisations and supporting institutions that assist children living in difficult conditions in more than 60 towns in 20 African countries. The International Office in Dakar, coordinates the regional activities of the Calao Programme. It includes three working groups which are coordinated by a Committee made up of three persons in charge and of a regional coordinator.

WCY face the challenge is an annual news bulletin of the African Movement of Working Children and Youth published by Enda Tiers Monde, Jeunesse Action in Dakar. The editorial committee is made up of WCYs with the assistance form the Dakar Jeunesse Action team. In this bulletin, we find articles, interviews, impressions, portraits, poems, games, etc. produced by the WCYs and their supporting structures from Africa and Latin America. It is aimed at the general public, authorities, decision-makers informing them about the life, problems and daily fight WCYs go through.

“Calao Express” is a monthly electronic (through Email) news bulletin published by Enda Tiers Monde, Jeunesse Action in Dakar, which was first released in February 2005. At a click, one can get lots of information on WCYs activities, as well as their supporting institutions and NGOs and other organisations in Africa and worldwide in French, English, Portuguese, Italian and German.

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