By PhilRights Staff
What makes a successful Children’s Rights advocacy?
Initiating a Children’s Rights advocacy can feel like a huge undertaking. But in our experience, there are core factors that increase the chance of success when applied consistently.
First, an initiating group must commit to the basic Human Rights principles of universality, inalienability, interdependence, interrelatedness, accountability and participation. Understanding these principles require proper orientation and exposure to Human Rights work. These guiding principles will ensure that the approaches of the implementing team will adhere to the proper ways of promoting of Children’s Rights.
The implementing organization must ensure that its personnel are equipped with skills on research, information, and education work. These skills are important in every advocacy initiative starting from situational analysis up to the succeeding awareness-raising activities. Note that these skills must also be combined with applying the principles of Human Rights and Children’s Rights.
Aside from research and education skills, the staff must also be able to apply Children’s Rights principles in formal and informal community activities. Aside from formal activities such as meetings, trainings and assemblies, informal conversations with community members are also opportunities to learn from the people and teach them about your advocacy. Integrating with the community during the course of the initiative enables the building of trust among the people and improves the chances for success.
The project team must think of new ways of communicating advocacy messages with the community and partners. Especially for children, the use of creative arts as a medium of expression is more apt, compared to banking methods of education. Of course, you must design your activities based on the current capacities of your participants. Creativity, when nurtured and embraced, emanates most meaningfully where the community members are, from their talents and aspirations.
The team must adapt to the unique culture of the community and be attuned to community dynamics. Beyond cultural sensitivity, you need to acknowledge that the community is an equal partner who have an equal stake in the success of the project. While advocating Children’s Rights mean that some community practices must change, influencing these changes may come at phases which is acceptable to the partner community.
Availability of Local Structures
One must look for local structures, both formal and informal, that can support and continue the initiatives. These may be local government units, schools, people’s organizations, churches and other groups that may be tapped as partners. All of the groups in turn can take over the project once they have been capacitated and empowered.
The presence of a favorable environment – e.g., organizations with rights-based and people-centered approaches, receptive and open community – is an additional success factor. This is mostly an external aspect which an advocating organization does not have any control. While a favorable environment may not be present in all communities, the organization may still find ways to proceed with their initiative. You may still carry on with the advocacy, while consciously leading the way in creating a more favorable environment together with their partner community.