PARTICIPATION: Global children's panel to influence NGO's work

In February 2007 the Board of Save the Children made a decision to set up a Global Children’s Panel. The Panel is a diverse group of young people that will meet annually with the Save the Children Board of Trustees to hold them to account for Save the Children's work. The first meeting was held this week.

The fourteen participating children came from  Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Liberia, Mongolia, South Africa and the UK. CRIN met some of those taking part.

Ulzii, 17, is from Ulanbataar, Mongolia. This is the first time he has been to the UK.

I think this initiative has been very helpful in involving children at a decision-making level in Save the Children’s work.

Some of the root causes of the problems children in Mongolia face are because of poverty and unemployment. These things are leading to discrimination and violence in the home and in schools.

I was recently involved in helping to protest against a teacher who hit two children in the classroom. We got lots of children to sign a letter to send to State officials to object. It was on TV and there was a lot of debate about it but then it died down and nothing happened. Because of this, we organised a press conference and there was chaos: some people were saying that the teacher was right to hit the children; others thought it was awful. But it got people to talk about the issue again. I think this press conference helped to get the teacher expelled.

I had a plan for what I would do before, during and after this meeting. I have made notes on the discussions we have had and will tell children in Mongolia about them and raise some issues for them to think about. We are having a child-led meeting in September this year, so that will be a good opportunity.

Polite, 12, is from Limpopo, South Africa, which borders Zimbabwe.

One of the biggest problems for children in South Africa is that lots of children have parents who have died from AIDS and now live in the streets. Lots of children from Zimbabwe also come over and live in the streets. I want Save the Children to build an orphanage for them.

Shahti, a girl from Bangladesh who is here today said that in Bangladesh many children work; some go overseas to work and send money to their parents. It’s a terrible thing.


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