Child Initiative Forum

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

 
 

Children as Global Citizens

Every year Child Rights International, in partnership with UNICEF, organizes an event, formerly known as Easter School, which provides a dynamic forum for children to actively participate in an open discussion about critical issues that affect their welfare and their enjoyment of their rights. 

The active, voluntary and informed participation of the children is at the core of Child Rights International's agenda. This event celebrates and promotes children's unique contributions as citizens of the world, and values their voices and personal experiences.

Past forums include themes such as Juvenile Justice.

Promoting Positive Attitudes in Children: How Best can the Law Help?

Over the course of three days, Child Rights International, in collaboration with UNICEF, engaged children in our annual Child Initiative Forum, “Promoting Positive Attitudes in Children: How Best Can the Law Help?” with support from Right to Play and Mondelez International. The activities took place from August 15th to August 18th, 2016.

Day 1

To begin the forum, the guest speaker, Professor Ken Attafuah, a lawyer and current Dean of the Faculty of Law at Central University, spoke on the issue. 

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Professor Attafuah spoke on how the law can support children, emphasizing that it is paramount that, at all levels and in all aspects of the law, the best interests of the child are served, which is called the welfare principle. He educated the children on three primary legal acts which are paramount to the wellbeing of children. These are: The Children’s Act, the Domestic Violence Act and the Juvenile Justice Act. He explained that these acts protect children from abuse, and provide the best possible means of rehabilitating children who violate the law.

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Using his childhood and life as an example, Professor Attafuah motivated the students on the need for persistence and endurance. Students were made to understand that persistence and hard work wins, irrespective of difficulties and presumed limitations. He encouraged teachers and patrons present to consistently instill confidence in their students as it goes a long way to impact their lives.

Following this talk, the children participated in interactive sessions. These sessions took place with three guest speakers, including Doctor Francis Agyarko Wiredu, Country Head Madam Yaa Amekudzi of Mondelez International, DSP Hilda Akarimanga, and Child Protection Officer Foster Adzraku from the Child Marriage Unit of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, who provided their unique views and experiences with child protection issues in their professions and their lives. In order to get the most out of these sessions, the children were split into three smaller groups, which were formed at random in order to ensure that each group included children from a variety of communities and of all ages. This enabled the children to form new relationships, to learn about perspectives different from their own, and gain a well-rounded understanding of child protection issues.

Child Protection Officer Foster Adzraku shares a laugh with some students at the Child Initiative Forum while answering question during an interactive session Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Child Protection Officer Foster Adzraku shares a laugh with some students at the Child Initiative Forum while answering question during an interactive session

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Day 2

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

The second day commenced with a presentation by a Mr. Christopher Lartey, an officer from the department of Children, under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. Afterwards, children from secondary school Child Rights Clubs presented on what they had learned.

In the afternoon children spent time developing a child friendly version of the Child and Family Welfare Policy, as well as the Justice for Children Policy. The students also spent time working on a “Child Protection Monitoring Tool”. This will be used us a main document for children to monitor child protection issues in schools, communities and places designated for the welfare of children in Ghana.

Day 3

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

The final day of the Child Initiative Forum featured trips to the Cape Coast University and Cape Coast Castle. However, before the children departed, there were sessions led by Inspiring Ambassadors, tertiary Child Rights Club members, who shared their experiences, successes and struggles, and inspired the children to pursue their dreams through hard work and perseverance. Following these sessions, the children departed for Cape Coast University.

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

At Cape Coast University, childre visited with school departments, where department representatives spoke about what they do and achievements students have made in this field. In addition, the children had the opportunity to visit areas of interest, including being able to sit in a university classroom to fully experience the university environment and inspire them to continue their education.

The final day of the forum ended with a visit to Cape Coast Castle, where the children went on a guided tour and heard the history of the castle and the city. 

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

Photo by Stephanie Gasana

For more details on all the activities during the Child Initiative Forum, visit our News page.