Enabling children to imagine a better world

As the pandemic continues to rage around the world, impacting the daily lives of everyone, children are showing incredible resilience. In a world with many global threats, children around the world are showing a growing commitment and involvement, which is becoming a source of inspiration and hope for a better future. This 20th November is an opportunity for us to highlight their value once again, despite these uncertain times.

2020 has been a source of challenges for children around the world. The global COVID-19 pandemic has added to the many large-scale challenges that loom large over a generation, such as global warming, the resurgence of armed conflict, and mistrust of national governances. In this unstable context, children’s vulnerability is increased by the risks of violence, food and health insecurity, growing inequalities and lack of prospects for their education.

However, this has not prevented them from mobilising to denounce government inaction in the face of global warming, systemic racism and sexism, harassment in schools, and domestic violence. We already mentioned this last year (see our article). Children see the flaws in our systems and institutions, and no longer hesitate to speak out publicly to denounce them and change things . For us, this is the greatest achievement of the last few years. But we must also give them the opportunity to do so.

Their commitment, especially in times of uncertainty such as these, should be a source of inspiration and motivation for leaders around the world. We therefore call, on this special World Children’s Day, to foster participation, engagement and initiatives involving children around the world.

It is often said that children are our future, yet they are already our present. We must let them take part in the debates and give them the opportunities and tools to reimagine their future.

This year, the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a child rights crisis. The costs of the pandemic for children are immediate and, if unaddressed, may last a lifetime. It’s time for generations to come together to reimagine the type of world we want to create. 

United Nations

And in our actions, what about child participation?

Involving children and giving them the space to express themselves and take a stand is part of the DNA and actions of the Bureau. Our projects are designed to put the child at the heart of his or her protection, and we promote the idea that the child must be involved in the process of accompanying his or her journey within the institutions responsible for his or her protection (police, justice, social work but also education, health…). This approach is at the heart of our training and our recommendations, and plays a major role in our advocacy with child protection actors. 

On 20 November, as part of our project in the DRC, we are receiving children from the Réseau des encadreurs, who have come to record a radio programme on the theme of Children’s Day. Accompanied by representatives of the three sectors targeted by the project (read more here), with whom they will be able to exchange on the project’s activities and results. This programme follows on from several activities, during which we presented to the children the progress made thanks to the Batela Mwana project carried out in the country since 2015. We could gather their points of view and their priorities for child protection in DRC. These elements will then be part of an advocacy addressed to the minister of social affairs (ministry in charge of the project).

In Burkina Faso, a parallel consultation process with children will be launched in order to involve them in the organisation of the closing workshop and to make their voice heard for their rights by the country’s institutions and project stakeholders. This consultation will be conducted from 1st December to 15th January, and will include the Burkinabe Children’s Parliament.

Workshop with children to design the audiovisual tools associated with our training courses, Ouagadougou, 2017

Amazon Fair, 2020, awareness of human trafficking

Radio program to launch our video game, hosted by elementary school children, Montreal, 2019