For adults only? No way! Social accountability is for kids, too!

FGD with children and young adults for Project CHARGE

In our culture, children are usually seen, not heard. Children are expected to be quiet and let the grown ups make all the decisions for them.

And indeed adults, who inhabit the world of governments and civil society organizations (CSOs), have become used to representing children when it comes to policies, programs, and projects that affect these young people’s lives.

But is this right? Or is this a right? (Pun intended)

Certainly the latter.

In fact, the law says that 1% of the barangay’s Internal Revenue Allotment should be allocated for the local councils for the protection of children (LCPC).

More important than local government budget, several provisions of the Convention of the Rights of the Child reflect children’s right to participation.

Specifically, Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have the right to participate in decision-making processes that may be relevant in their lives and to influence decisions taken in their regard—within the family, the school or the community. The principle affirms that children are full-fledged persons who have the right to express their views in all matters affecting them and requires that those views be heard and given due weight in accordance with the child's age and maturity.

Article 12 recognizes the potential of children to enrich decision-making processes, to share perspectives and to participate as citizens and actors of change. The practical meaning of children’s right to participation must be considered in each and every matter concerning children.

With this in mind, ANSA-EAP’s Learning Team interviewed local government officials, CSO members and child advocates, and children themselves. The team sought to find out how local governance works for children, what ways ordinary adult citizens can advance the interests of children, and how children see themselves as a vulnerable sector in the context of disaster risk reduction management.

These questions were asked during interviews conducted with six local government representatives on August 28 to 31 and September 18 to 19. Focus group discussions were attended by a total of 55 children and 38 CSOs, all coming from Project CHARGE’s target municipalities -- Ormoc and Kananga for Western Leyte, Mayorga and Dulag for Eastern Leyte, and Concepcion and San Dionisio for Iloilo.

Results of the interviews and FGDs, while yet to be reported, will feed into the training design on social accountability and tool development.

The trainings will be attended by target CSOs, children, and LGU representatives, and will be conducted between October and  November 2015.

We represent children and serve as their voices. However, programs, projects and activities can be more appropriate and relevant to children’s context if the children themselves express their needs and engage with the government in formulating possible solutions to their concerns.

CSOs and other child advocates can help setup this avenue. Appropriate and adequate capacity building must be conducted for each stakeholder to create an environment where social accountability can be practiced.

 

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Project CHARGE or “Promoting Children’s Rights in Rehabilitation through Government-Civil Society-Children Engagement” is an initiative of Save the Children Philippines in partnership with ANSA-EAP, Ateneo School of Government, SALIGAN, and other local civil society organizations. In this project, ANSA-EAP’s capacity building component aims to strengthen the capacity of citizens including children, youth and community groups, in engaging government in the implementation of child rights in emergency responses, rehabilitation and disaster risk reduction programs using social accountability framework.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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