Effective training approaches in Tanzania

Here in Tanzania we have just completed  a second workshop for national facilitators for the School Readiness Programme.

The core aspect of the training is that what we practice during the national training is exactly what we expect the Community Teaching Assistants to do in their classrooms, so there is little loss in quality as we pass through the cascade.

As you can see, we spend much of the time on the floor!

We spend time on the floor national facilitators2 national facilitators1

At National Level




using masks in groupUsing pictures

During training for District facilitators (Regional level)



cta Mpwapwa

Application by Community Teaching Assistants at village level.

Not only are the results noticeable within a couple of weeks but the feedback to facilitators enthuses them greatly and they can feel great pride that their work, at such a distance, can have such an impact on children directly, within a relatively short time. During their next training they are so motivated and are able to build their ‘vision’ of their impact on the next generation of Tanzanians. This professional vision develops into a true intrinsic motivation that really changes behaviour.


The Convention on the Rights of the Child – 25 years on

The Convention on the Rights of the Child – 25 years on

Different perspectives on the need to underline the promises made to children everywhere – and take action!

The Convention on the Rights of the Child represents a remarkable milestone in the journey to build a more just world: it is the first international instrument to articulate the entire complement of rights relevant to children – economic, social, cultural, civil and political. It is also the first international instrument to explicitly recognize children as active holders of their own rights.

The importance of the Convention was recognized from the outset and it quickly became the most rapidly and widely ratified human rights treaty in history. The Convention has now been ratified by 194 States.Its almost universal ratification shows an unparalleled level of agreement among the world’s nations: That children must receive the treatment and respect to which they have an innate and immutable right.

The Convention offers a vision of a world in which children have a healthy start in life and are educated and protected, a world in which their views are respected and they can develop their full physical and mental potential. its guiding principles – non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child – have had a profound influence on how children are treated and regarded the world over.



The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history.

The Convention changed the way children are viewed and treated – i.e., as human beings with a distinct set of rights instead of as passive objects of care and charity.

The unprecedented acceptance of the Convention clearly shows a wide global commitment to advancing children’s rights.

There is much to celebrate as we mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention, from declining infant mortality to rising school enrolment, but this historic milestone must also serve as an urgent reminder that much remains to be done. Too many children still do not enjoy their full rights on par with their peers.

Business as usual is not enough to make the vision of the Convention a reality for all children. The world needs new ideas and approaches, and the Convention must become a guiding document for every human being in every nation.

Twenty-five years ago, world leaders were united behind a common vision: to promote and protect the rights of all children.

The adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child was a landmark moment: For the first time, children were recognized as the holders of a unique set of rights — education, leisure, participate in society, health and protection.

We’ve come a long way in those 25 years. For example, the number of children under the age of 5 that die each year from preventable causes has almost halved globally, and almost 50 million more children are in school. Yet the fact remains that we are a long way from realizing the vision set out in the CDC. Children’s rights are still violated daily, in the European Union and globally. Today, 57 million children are still unable to go to school and 250 million children are either out of school or not learning. Up to 1.5 billion children experience violence annually. Almost 27 million European children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

While the EU has played its part in the progress made, it must also accept responsibility for the gaps which remain. Too often, despite promises on paper, Brussels has failed to live up to its commitments to children. The current Human Rights Strategic Framework and accompanying Action Plan, for example, is a case in point. While this had the potential to make a positive and lasting difference to the lives of children around the world, many of the proposed actions — such as the campaign aimed at eliminating violence against children — were never implemented.

On the 25th anniversary of the CRC, we want more EU action on these three topics to fulfil the bloc’s commitments to children:

1. Develop a strategic and comprehensive human rights framework. The protection of children’s rights is an explicit objective in the EU’s internal and external action thanks to theLisbon Treaty, and the new EU leadership has a golden opportunity to address previous shortcomings and realize the bloc’s objectives in this area. The newly appointed European Commission must actively develop a comprehensive vision for the future of the EU’s policies and legislation that will impact on children within and outside of Europe. It must do this through tools such as Policy Coherence for Development, as well as through specific policies on children’s rights. The European Commission and European External Action Service must therefore strive to deliver a much more strategic and comprehensive human rights framework when it is renewed in 2015. Crucially, there must be concerted action by EU delegations to implement the framework.

2. Ensure adequate and sustained investment in children’s rights. This must be backed up by adequate, sustained investment in programs which take a holistic approach to promoting children’s rights. Through the “child well-being” budget line in the 2014-2020 Development Cooperation Instrument, the EU has the ability to do precisely this. Working in concert with other budget lines affecting children, such as those covering health, education and gender equality, the EU has the means necessary to ensure the rights enshrined in the CRC are fulfilled.

3. Emphasize participation, equality, inclusion and accountability post-2015. Globally, the EU must push for a post-2015 framework that places the rights and the well-being of children at its center, with a strong emphasis on participation, equality, inclusion and accountability. Given the universality of the future framework and its wide scope in covering social, economic, environmental and governance issues — all of which are critical for children — the EU must ensure that the goals and targets are both ambitious enough and relevant for implementation internally in the EU as well as externally. Sustained and long-term action is required for all children to claim their rights. Investing in the survival, development, protection and participation of all girls and boys is essential for the promotion of sustainable development, the fulfilment of human rights, and addressing structural inequalities and intergenerational poverty.

As the EU’s new leaders take over the reins, they must push for children’s rights to be mainstreamed throughout all the bloc’s development work. Change requires action, and action requires political will and real investment. Good intentions are not enough. The EU should play its part in making the promises of the CRC a reality for all children.

By Alexandra Makaroff, Ester Asin Martinez, Deirdre de Burca 20 November 2014.

In addition to the authors and their organizations, this article is also co-signed by the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group, Eurochild, Missing Children Europe, PICUM and SOS Children’s Villages.

And how the CRC is progressing:

Three optional protocols to the Convention have been adopted by the General Assembly. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography was adopted on 25 May 2000 and came into force on 18 January 2002. It requires States parties to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict was also adopted on 25 May 2000 and came into force on 12 February 2002. It requires States parties to take all feasible measures to ensure that children do not take a direct part in hostilities. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on a communications procedure was adopted on 19 December 2011 and provides a mechanism for the submission of communications by or on behalf of an individual or group claiming to be victims of a violation of the Convention. Communications submitted under this Optional Protocol are received and considered by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which was established under the Convention. This Optional Protocol has not yet entered into force.



CRIN reminds us of the many conflicts in which children’s rights are certainly not protected or promoted.

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). To mark that event, this special issue of the Children and Armed Conflict CRINmail draws attention to conflicts and issues affecting children in conflict that have slipped out of our consciousness or never made it there in the first place.

In times of armed conflict, children’s rights are violated in horrific ways: they are killed and maimed, abducted, recruited to fight, and experience sexual violence and attacks on their daily lives.

According to the 1996 UN report on the ‘Impact of Armed Conflict on Children’, prepared by Graça Machel, “in recent decades, the proportion of war victims who are civilians has leaped dramatically from five per cent to over 90 per cent.“

Hundreds of children are dying, with many more injured and displaced, while those responsible escape with impunity. Perpetrators of violations of children’s rights in times of armed conflict must be prosecuted to ensure victims obtain justice and reparation.

Information is a powerful – and necessary – tool for conveying the horrors of warfare, understanding the impact of conflict on different population groups, gathering evidence on possible rights violations and eventually securing accountability.

Action for the Rights of Children – new resource pack

Even though the Convention on the Rights of the Child came into force in 1990, anyone watching the news from around the world might question how far some countries have gone in protecting the basic rights of children.



So , more resources on how to interpret and implement the CRC in emergencies as well as ‘everyday’ life is a welcome addition.

Action for the Rights of Children


The ARC Resource Pack contains a critical issue module on Education that serves as a capacity-building tool for child protection in and after emergencies. In this module you can find a PowerPoint Presentation and study materials, including exercises and handouts divided into five topics (1) the issue for children, (2) the law and child rights, (3) assessment and situation analysis, (4) planning and implementation and (5) monitoring, evaluation and learning. In this module, the term education is used to define a lifelong process where individuals continue to learn: they learn how to cope with their immediate environment; how to cope with life’s challenges; how to equip themselves to understand the world around them; and how to access more knowledge, skills and information which may improve their prospects for growth and achievement. There is also an emphasis on understanding the vital need for re-establishing education during and after an emergency so as to minimize the psychological impact of the event and maximizing the opportunity to strengthen pre-existing education structures.

To download the complete Education module, click here, and for additional critical issue modules from the ARC Resource Pack, click here. For resources on child protection in the INEE Toolkit, click here.

KidsRights Index – International launch

It has been over twenty years since the initiation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with most countries now being signatories, however the scale of abuses against children is still great, some conscious and some unconscious abuses due to lack of knowledge on children’s rights. This new KidsRights Index may at least ‘name and shame’ some countries into taking the CRC and its implementation more seriously.

International Launch of the KidsRights Index
KidsRights FoundationOn 19th November 2013 the KidsRights Index was launched at the Peace Palace, The Hague, the Netherlands. The KidsRights Index is an initiative by the KidsRights Foundation and the Erasmus University Rotterdam (Erasmus School of Economics and International Institute of Social Studies).

The KidsRights Index is the first global ranking on how countries are adhering to children’s rights. The KidsRights Index is concrete, compact, constructive and adaptable. The country-ranking will be published yearly and will be made available to the public through a comprehensive website. New dimensions may be added over time to enrich the index. Country-specific recommendations can be made on the basis of the KidsRights Index.

The KidsRights Index draws on two key available sources of information: firstly, the Concluding Observations adopted by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and secondly, UNICEF’s annual State of the World’s Children reports. The Concluding Observations complement the available quantitative data by adding information on the key general requirements of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). These requirements are crucial for establishing an adequate formal enabling environment for children’s rights in a country. They extend to the general CRC principles that are prescribed for all implementation efforts (non-discrimination, best interests of the child, respect for the views of the child) and to the structural provision of legislation, budget, data and state-civil society cooperation.

To view the KidsRights Index, please click here.


Focus on Children’s Rights – Blog Action Day


Children’s rights are the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to minors, including their right to association with both parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for food, universal state-paid education, health care and criminal laws appropriate for the age and development of the child, equal protection of the child’s civil rights, and freedom from discrimination on the basis of the child’s race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion,disability, color, ethnicity, or other characteristics. Interpretations of children’s rights range from allowing children the capacity for autonomous action to the enforcement of children being physically, mentally and emotionally free from abuse, though what constitutes “abuse” is a matter of debate.

Other definitions include the rights to care and nurturing.

(From Wikipedia)


The United Nations’ 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC, is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. Its implementation is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. National governments that ratify it commit themselves to protecting and ensuring children’s rights, and agree to hold themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community.

My concern is that no matter how many nations (over 190)  have signed up for the CRC, children are still being beaten, humiliated, abused sexually and verbally, excluded and generally having a bad time, just trying to get some sort of education, no matter how poor the quality and how low their achievement at the end.

Where are their rights and where are the defenders of their rights?

check out the Human Rights Watch page on children’s rights:


Photography’s power to advocate for children and their rights:

Watch a presentation that celebrates and reflects on the role of photography in advocating for children’s rights.

For more information, visit: http://www.unicef.org/.

Please note that in some cases photography can intrude, humiliate and reduce dignity. Children are rarely asked if their pictures can be used for publicity. Things are changing and parents should now provide approval for images of their children to be used. However in emergency situations, this is often difficult. We have to trust UNICEF photographers that they will be sensitive to the rights of children to have privacy and dignity and not to produce images that could humiliate or intrude.


Take a look at the publications listed by the Child Rights International Network (CRIN)



Some child rights  images from Steve McCurry


A new practical teaching/learning resource via Human Rights Education Association (HREA)


HREA announces the release of Human Total: A Violence Prevention Learning Resource, a new manual created by HREA, the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) and the Instituto Mexicano de Investigación Familia y de Población (IMIFAP).

“Adolescence is an ideal time to promote attitudes and behaviours that prevent interpersonal violence. Human Total is the first resource to blend life skills with human rights education” says HREA’s Founder and Senior Advisor, Felisa Tibbitts, who helped prepare the pilot draft of the manual.

Human Total will be a vital resource for students, educators and parents. Targeted towards young people between the ages of 10 and 14, the manual helps learners understand attitudes that promote violent behaviour (often brought about by the misuse of alcohol) by males and cultivates methods to minimise these behaviours’ harms and prevent their perpetuation.

Human Total contains 32 adaptable lesson plans, including ways to recognise and understand violence in social contexts and techniques for minimising violence through education about human rights and active participation in the community. The manual also features a note for facilitators on how to use it, tools for outreach to parents and guardians, recommendations for additional resources, and eight annexes with supplemental information. The resource was piloted in El Salvador and Kenya.

Human Total: A Violence Prevention Learning Resource is currently available in English and will soon be available in Spanish.



The UK chapter of Amnesty International has organised a 

Children’s Human Rights network

Are you interested in discussing children’s rights issues with other Amnesty supporters? Would you like to see how the network work on children’s rights abuses? Would you like more information on children’s rights campaigns?

  • Visit the blog, a new forum for discussion on children’s rights and for updates on children’s rights
  • Take action against children’s rights abuses by writing emails, letters and faxes from our actions page.
  • For resources and materials on the latest in children’s rights work from other Amnesty sections and international organisations, please see the resources page.

And a resource for literacy:

Engage students in literacy across the curriculum as they discover the power of writing letters for people whose rights and lives are at risk.
Download your free packAnd for Human Rights Education at Secondary level

Eight human rights lessons linked to curriculum areas including maths, languages, drama and more. Perfect for drop down days, theme weeks, and to address human rights across the curriculum. Order your free copy

World Day Against Child Labour – 12th June

World Day Against Child Labour – 12th June

“This year’s World Day against Child Labour puts the spotlight on the plight of 115 million children involved in hazardous work – more than half of the estimated 215 million child labourers in the world. … It is unacceptable that economic growth and development should permit complacency or resignation about child labour or be premised on the expendability of the lives of the most vulnerable.”

Juan Somavia  Director-General of the International Labour Organization
Message for World Day Against Child Labour, 12 June 2011

The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year on 12 June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.

The ILO’s adoption of Convention No. 182 in 1999 consolidated the global consensus on child labour elimination. Millions of child labourers have benefited from the Convention, but much remains to be done. The latest figures estimated that 215 million children are trapped in child labour, and 115 million of these children are in hazardous work. The ILO’s member states have set the target for eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016. To achieve this goal requires a major scaling up of effort and commitment.

A future without child labour is at last within reach. Significant progress is being made worldwide in combating child labour. The new global estimates of trends reinforce this message of hope. However, a strong and sustained global movement is needed to provide the extra push towards eliminating the scourge of child labour. This is no time for complacency.


Concerning child labour, the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) requires States to specify in law a minimum age for admission to employment not less than the age of finishing compulsory education, and which in any case, should not be less than 15 years. A member country whose economy and educational facilities are insufficiently developed may under certain conditions initially specify a minimum age of 14 years.2

The ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) calls for “immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour as a matter of urgency”. The worst forms are defined as:

  • All forms of slavery, or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom, as well as forced labour, including forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
  • The use, procurement or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances.
  • The use, procurement or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in relevant international treaties.
  • Work which, by its nature or circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children, such harmful work to be determined by national authorities.

Other key international standards and declarations

Over the years, growing awareness of the need to ensure that children receive education and protection has spurred the development of a body of international standards to help guide governments in enacting domestic legislation.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights features the right to education prominently stating that “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available…”

There is near universal ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention states that children have the right to be protected from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. It also states that primary education should be compulsory and available free to all and encourages the development of different forms of secondary education available and accessible to every child. The United Nations General Assembly has also adopted two Optional Protocols to the Convention to increase the protection of children from involvement in armed conflicts and from sexual exploitation.3

The importance of protecting fundamental principles and rights at work during the ongoing global financial and jobs crisis was reflected in the communiqué of the G20 Summit held in November 2011 which encouraged the ILO to continue promoting ratification and implementation of the core Conventions ensuring fundamental principles and rights at work.

Ratification and implementation of ILO Conventions on child labour

Although the ILO’s child labour Conventions are among the most widely ratified of ILO Conventions there is a need for countries that have not yet ratified the Conventions to do so, and to ensure their effective implementation. On this World Day we call on all governments that have not already done so to ratify and implement the Conventions.

National policies and programmes

The ILO’s Convention No. 182 requires that each Member which ratifies the Convention shall design and implement programmes of action to eliminate as a priority the worst forms of child labour. Many countries have now established National Action Plans that provide a framework for such efforts. However many other countries have yet to do so and countries that have established plans need to monitor and review their effectiveness. If the challenging target of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016 is to be achieved, urgent action along these lines is required now!

The worldwide movement against child labour

Although governments must take the lead role in tackling child labour, the ILO standards stress the important role that employers and workers organizations should play in setting and implementing action programmes. Many civil society organizations are also closely involved in efforts to tackle child labour. Building the worldwide movement against child labour at global, national and local level remains a priority.

Join with us on June 12!

The World Day Against Child Labour promotes awareness and action to tackle child labour. Support for the World Day has been growing each year and in 2012 we look forward to a World Day that will again be widely supported.

Who knows best? Children do!

We underestimate children. In all my education careers (there seems to have been many) I have tried to facilitate the development of skills for participation by children (and adults). Allowing opportunities for participation are not enough -first develop the skills, such as communication and social skills – then provide the  real opportunities for using them. More and more organisations are realising the importance of article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and are now willing to not only give children opportunities to express themselves but are also willing to listen to them. War Child has produced a report based on children’s evaluations of their programme in Uganda.

(War Child)

We are pleased to share the report ‘Who knows best? Children do!  How children evaluate the effects of a War Child programme. In this report we present the findings of a study in Uganda which explored the effects of War Child’s life skills based intervention ‘I DEAL’. In the study child-friendly and participatory monitoring and evaluation tools were piloted. For more information, contact ellen.eiling@warchild.nl.

The full report is available here