Building Capacity in Advocacy to End Violence against Children

Summary: Outcome of the workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The International Save the Children Alliance brought together 50 Save the Children staff members from 27 countries around the world to build capacity in advocacy to end violence against children and to strengthen the global challenge on education project. The workshop was hosted by Save the Children Sweden, Regional Programme for South and Central Asia.
Although the workshop was originally intended for Save the Children’s national and regional focal points for the UN Study on Violence Against Children, it was considered useful for  key staff members from the global challenge project to participate in the event.
The UN Study on Violence Against Children has revealed violence in all arenas of children’s lives, affecting girls and boys, of all ages, all social backgrounds and nationalities. A sustainable international effort is therefore needed to address the situation. The year 2006 is a crucial year for ensuring that the recommendations of children and the Save the Children Alliance, including those of appropriate follow-up mechanisms, are included in the final UN Study report. This year is also important to ensure these recommendations have sufficient support from member states in the UN General Assembly debate and are included in the final General Assembly resolution. This will require national and international advocacy to mobilise support and counter potential opposition. Advocacy is also required to ensure that national governments acknowledge the importance of the UN Study and initiate follow-up processes.
Save the Children needs to intensify its actions, at both national and regional levels to build capacity, present good practices on programmes to address violence against children and lobby governments, UN agencies and civil society to implement the final recommendations from the UN Study. Children’s involvement and participation in these advocacy processes is also essential to ensure that they are recognised, empowered and strengthened as rights holders and appropriate child-friendly measures are taken.
To achieve these objectives, the workshop provided participants with global updates on the UN Study and global challenge on education, highlighting Save the Children’s relationships and its strengths. Emphasis was placed on linking local, national, regional and international advocacy work to bring about a lasting change. In order to learn from Save the Children’s own experience in advocacy, participants shared good practices in advocacy from all the regions.
The facilitators examined what advocacy means. They looked at the importance of mapping relationships and building on strengths by involving more people and constituencies. This also requires strategic planning. The workshop highlighted two such models - the ACTON and the Nine Steps model.
Supporting children to be social actors and active citizens, by placing them at the centre of advocacy was highlighted. The importance of adult support in child centred and child led advocacy was stressed upon. Practice Standards were shared as a basis for child participation in all processes and follow-up including those of advocacy activities. A good practise on child led media advocacy was shared by children representing a local NGO in Nepal ‘Hatemalo’, who supports children to use media to further child rights. 
Monitoring the impact and processes of advocacy initiatives was highlighted as central to any advocacy initiative. Participants also constructed one-minute messages and posters to practise creating their own media for advocacy.

All the above information and discussion was applied to the following four specific themes by the participants:

Gender-based violence (with focus on early marriage);
Physical and humiliating punishment;
Child sexual abuse;
Children in conflict with the law.
In addition, international advocacy strategies on the UN Study and the global challenge were shared at the workshop. The workshop also prepared the participants to take the lead in advocacy related to violence against children in their own countries and regions. The first step in this direction was to prepare concrete regional and national action plans with linkages to the global Save the Children strategy. Action plans also detailed the support required from the global task force to implement them.
The strategies highlighted the use of existing regional and national forums that could be mobilised as potential partners to end violence against children. Emphasis was placed upon strengthening children’s participation at the regional and national levels in all advocacy work. The regions also emphasised support from the global task group in areas of management, information sharing, communication, material development and capacity building. At the global level, the task group has also created an advocacy group which will work in conjunction with the communication and child participation group, to support the work at the national and regional levels.
Participants represented the following Save the Children organisations in various regions and countries:
Europe: Save the Children Sweden HQ, Save the Children UK (South East Europe Regional Programme), Save the Children UK (Serbia), Save the Children Romania

East and Central Africa: Save the Children Sweden (Eastern and Central Africa Region), Save the Children Sweden (Kenya), Save the Children Sweden (Sudan), Save the Children in Uganda

Latin America:  Save the Children Sweden (Peru)

MENA: Save the Children Sweden (Yemen), Save the Children Sweden (Lebanon)

South Africa: Save the Children Sweden (South Africa Regional Programme), Save the Children Sweden (Zambia)

South Asia: Save the Children Sweden – Denmark (Bangladesh), Save the Children Sweden (Pakistan), Save the Children Norway Nepal, Save the Children Sri Lanka, Save the Children’s Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme in India, Save the Children Japan in Nepal, Save the Children Sweden, Regional Programme for South & Central Asia

SEAP: Save the Children Sweden in Vietnam, Save the Children Norway in Cambodia, Save the Children Sweden, Regional Office in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Save the Children Norway in Laos
In addition, Global Task Group members also participated in the workshop.
Focal points for the Global Challenge – Education project came from various Save the Children organisations in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Sweden, US and UK.

For more details, please contact:
Lena Karlsson
Chair, Global Task Group on Violence against Children
International Save the Children Alliance
Email: [email protected]


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