Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Children's Protagonism - Distant Learning Course

Exciting things are happening in distant learning courses on children's protagonism, children's rights and concepts of childhood.

The Institute for the Formation of Educators of Working Youth, Adolescents and Children of Latin America and the Caribbean (IFEJANT) has opened an on-line course on "old and new paradigms of childhood". The duration is from March 24 - June 27 2008.

Fees are very reasonable: 50 (fifty) USD for the full course.

For that amount you will get:
1. The support through email of a full-time teacher from a pool of experts on issues of family and childhood
2. Access to thought provoking (and often non-mainstream and therefore little known) literature on childhood, children's rights, children's participation and protagonism
3. Access to a Latin American discourse on childhood and children's rights through exclusive translations into English of texts that have been only published in Spanish
4. A certificate of IFEJANT and the School for Social Work of the Main National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru (indicating the academic hours fulfilled)

The course content:

Unit 1
The concept of Childhood
The vision of childhood in the Andean and Amazonian Worlds
Approaches and paradigms in childhood cultures

Unit 2
Searching for a new pedagogic thinking
Child dignity
Dismissing the language we use with children - metacommunication
Advancing towards cultures that promote learning communities

Unit 3
A childhood with rights - from an object to a subject with rights - the child as a social actor
Rights and duties of children in comparative legislation - Evaluation of the rights situation of girls, boys and adolescents in different parts of the world.

The course will consist of reading a number of key texts followed by written assignments and self-reflection.

Enrollment: Scroll down the page, download and fill in the admission card and send it to:

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Minors and young migrants’ involvement in errant mobility and sex work within the European Union

Minors and young migrants’ involvement in errant mobility and sex work within the European Union. By Nick Mai. 2007

The troubling fate of young migrants in Europe is the subject of this research paper by Dr. Nick Mai from the London Metropolitan University, that provides interesting research and an unconventional view on the shortcomings of standard protection mechanisms.

Perhaps, the most important aim of this study is to provide people and institutions carrying out social intervention projects targeting minor and young migrants with strategic qualitative information about their migration projects and the strategies of survival they engage in, with a specific focus on prostitution. With this study, we hope to show that selling sex can be, for some, the only known viable way to meet many combined cultural, economic, psychological and social needs: to be perceived as likeable and successful, to have a sexual outlet, to be independent economically, to find excitement and adventure, to have new experiences, to send money home, to find a suitable accommodation, to receive care and attention, to challenge and receive moral boundaries, to survive, to detach from parents, to grow up.
For social intervention to become an efficient alternative to errance, all of these needs and the reasons and dynamics underlining them must be recognised and addressed at the same time. The research starts from the de-construction of the victimising paradigms (trafficking, exploitation, etc.) shaping research and social intervention targeting unaccompanied minors and errant migrants. Acknowledging the agency of the subjects involved, the complexity of their needs and priority and the reasons at the basis of their affective detachment from ‘home’ is the only way to respond efficiently to their needs through social interventions. (pages 4-5)

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Children as active citizens

The Inter-Agency Working Group on Children’s Participation (IAWGCP)has just published two publications on children’s citizenship:

Children as active citizens - a policy and programme guide for commitments and obligations for children’s civil rights and civic engagement in East Asia and the Pacific

Children as active citizens - an introductory booklet

The ‘Children as Active Citizens’ publications define children’s citizenship and show how children’s civil rights can be operationalised. The publications explain links between children’s citizenship and development goals, between children’s civil rights and their rights to survival, protection and development. Responsibilities of government and adults are clearly listed along with measurable results for children’s civil rights and active citizenship, including indicators for measuring children’s civil rights and citizenship.

Children as Active Citizens presents an agenda for the promotion of children’s civil rights and civic engagement:

Promoting a common understanding of children’s citizenship, civil rights and civic engagement;

Defining programme-specific implications for children’s civil rights and civic engagement (for example in education, child protection, communication, health, emergencies);

Developing global, regional or country-specific agendas for children’s citizenship and civil rights;

Developing systems for monitoring children’s civil rights and civic engagement;

Advocating for wider respect, protection and fulfilment of children’s civil rights, for example on issues of complaints mechanisms for children, early marriage, justice for children, and children’s right to information.

Contents of the booklet:

Introduction to children as active citizens

Birth and civil registration

Expression of opinion and involvement in decisions

Access to information

Complaints mechanisms

Justice for children

Civic engagement and competencies of citizens

Children and the media

Children influencing public decisions

Children-led associations

Content of the programme and policy guide:


Part One: Defining children’s citizenship and civil rights

What is citizenship?

Are children citizens?

Capacities for citizenship

Why are children’s civil rights and citizenship important?

Why have children’s citizenship rights been neglected?

An agenda for children’s citizenship and civil rights

Regional context for children’s citizenship and civil rights

References and resources

Part Two: Operationalizing children’s civil rights

1. Birth and civil registration

2. Children’s expression of opinion and control over decisions in daily life

3. Access to information

4. Feedback and complaints mechanisms

5. Justice for children

6. Economic citizenship and access to resources

Part Three: Developing and practicing active citizenship

7. Citizenship competencies and civic engagement

8. Children as active citizens in the media

9. Children influencing public decisions

10. Children-led associations


Indicator checklist for children’s citizenship and civil rights

Common myths about (and some risks in) children’s participation

Glossary and acronyms


Thursday, 17 January 2008

Children's participation in decision making: Why to do it, When to do it, How to do it

Children’s participation in decision making: Why do it, When to do it, How to do it

Published in Bangkok in 2007 by the Inter-Agency Working Group on Children’s Participation (IAWGCP): ECPAT International, Knowing Children,Plan International, Save the Children Sweden Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Save the Children UK Southeast and East Asia Regional Office,UNICEF EAPRO and World Vision.

This concise and informative booklet has just been made available in PDF format. The publication clearly explains:

  • Why children's participation is increasingly accepted and promoted;
  • How children's participation should become part of the normal operation of governments, institutions and communities;
  • How children's participation is practiced throughout the world.

Children’s participation in decision making is an important tool for parliamentarians, national leaders and other decision makers as they put into practice greater involvement of children in decision making,

From the introduction:

“People’s participation in public decision making has become increasingly established in a variety of political systems. Children are now beginning to add their ideas and actions. Decision makers and opinion leaders are asking what children’s participation means and why it is essential.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which has been ratified by all but two member states, establishes the rights of children in three important areas: provision, protection and participation. Everyone would surely agree that provision of health care, shelter and education is essential to children’s well-being. In recent years, governments and civil society – not forgetting the mass media – have focused on fulfilling children’s rights to protection from abuse, violence and exploitation. But participation is often seen as something new – and perhaps difficult to carry out.

This booklet shows how to put children’s participation into practice. It is for everyone in roles of public leadership and service, answering questions about how and when children’s participation is needed. Links to further resources are also provided.”

The Inter-Agency Working Group on Children’s Participation is a consortium of Bangkok-based organizations dedicated to promoting and implementing the meaningful and ethical participation of children in decisions made to further their rights and welfare. Member agencies are: ECPAT International, Knowing Children, Plan International, Save the Children Sweden SEAP, Save the Children UK SEEA, UNICEF EAPRO and World Vision Asia Pacific. The IAWGCP now has its own website where its publications can be downloaded.