A - Children's and Young People's Participation
Children’s participation in decision making is one of the guiding principles of the CRC. Since CRP works under the guidance of the CRC, it gives crucial importance to the participation of children and youth in its project activities, not only because participation is a basic right but also as a fundamental way to foster peaceful and democratic governance.
• Facilitating Children’sParticipation through Information Technology
ICC has been working with the Bilkent University Department of Computer and Instructional Technology Teacher Education and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology since 2010 in order to engage university youth in facilitating children’s participation.
• Interactive learning environments so children learn their rights and have opportunities to claim their rights and voice their concerns http://www.cocukhaklariizleme.org/cocukhaklari/
Thus far, youth from both universities worked together with children in developing websites to provide children with:
Forums to engage in creating their own online content so that they will not only be consumers of information online but producers of their own content and able to voice their concerns in a protective online environment.
(“Free Child E-Journal” for and by children)
Youth from both universities also worked together to create another website to host a child rights e-journal for NGOs so that NGO practitioners can share their experiences in the field in Turkey. (www.cocukhaklaridergisi.org
• Facilitating Establishment of a Child Rights Unit in the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality
Co-funded by the European Union, this project, in accordance with fundamental building blocks of Child Friendly Cities, established a Child Rights Unit within the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality through a process involving capacity building of municipality personnel and involvement of children in Gaziantep in the governance of the municipality.
The project produced a number of outcomes, the most important of which is a Child Friendly Municipalities Implementation Guide which has been widely disseminated and used in a number of other towns and cities around Turkey.
The project reached thousands of children through several activities to enable children to work with the municipality in addressing concerns voiced by children themselves such as procurement of smaller garbage trucks to clean narrow streets, design of new public parks, and publication of a booklet on children’s right to play.
• Strengthening Capacities of Child Rights Provincial Committees
ICC has been working with the Social Services and Child Protection Agency’s (SHÇEK) Provincial Child Rights Committees and UNICEF Turkey since 2007 to provide technical support to the Committees. ICC first signed a project agreement with UNICEF Turkey in 2007 to implement the project “Building Capacities of Provincial Child Rights Committees through Technical Support” in a pilot scheme in 25 provinces in Turkey.
During the project implementation, a child participation handbook was developed with and for Provincial Child Rights Committees.
Following the success of this project and its outcomes including the handbook, further consultation with UNICEF Turkey and SHCEK was undertaken. It was agreed by all parties that with regional training, the Handbook should reach all Provincial Child Rights Child and Adult Committee members and a training module should be developed to make the Handbook more accessible to child and adult members of Provincial Child Rights Committees. A second project agreement was signed between ICC and UNICEF Turkey to undertake “Strengthening the Sustainability of Child Participation and Reporting Capacities of Provincial Child Rights Committees” as the second phase of the project.
With the development of a Child Participation Handbook Training Module, seven regional training sessions for child rights focal points in 81 provinces (one adult from each province) and seven regional training sessions for child rights child focal points in 81 provinces (one boy and one girl from each province) were provided in 2009 and 2010.
Both the Child Participation Handbook and the Training Module have been in use by provincial child rights committees and NGOs working with children.
• Children’s Advisory Group
ICC teamed up with the Turkish Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV) in facilitating establishment of a group of children attending educational activities in the Education Park of TEGV in Etimesgut Ankara (an economically disadvantaged neighborhood) in 2010. Upon announcements and preliminary information sessions at TEGV Education Park, 12 children volunteered to form a children’s advisory group (CAG) to inform and affect decision making processes at ICC as well as developing and running their own activities parallel to ICC’s. TEGV staff and volunteers supported this process by providing child rights training opportunities. For example, on 18-19 December 2010 ICC provided training based on the Council of Europe’s Compasito human rights education for children training manual.
During 2011, the children’s advisory group undertook the following activities:
Apart from contributing to drafting of the NGO report prepared for consideration by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the CAG also wrote their own situation of children report in consultation with their friends and other children in their neighborhoods and schools.
The report was presented to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which used it while drafting their list of issues to be addressed to the Turkish government. The Turkish government will respond to the list of issues by the end of March 2012.
CAG members have given speeches and conferences in their schools and TEGV Education Park on children’s rights and have called for other children’s involvement in decision making processes in their neighborhoods and schools.
CAG provides invaluable insights to the strategic direction ICC takes in the field of child rights.
CAG also contributed to the development of the website “Free Child E-Journal”.
CAG has recently begun working to contribute to the process of consultations on a new Turkish constitution by providing their views and participating in lobbying activities together with ICC.