To contribute to the efforts to eradicate Child Soldiering, the institution conducted a pioneering study to profile and document the situation of Children in Armed Conflict in key areas of the country. Government agencies and NGOs now have information they can use in the development of interventions that will address the needs of child soldiers. Child rights advocates, human rights organizations and other groups now have data they can use for advocacy and lobby activities.
The project was able to raise awareness on the phenomenon of child soldiering not only in conflict areas in Mindanao but also on a national level. The issue caught the attention of the national media and brought to people’s consciousness the violations committed against children because of armed conflict. State and non-state armed groups were compelled to come out with declarations and statements clarifying their policies on children and denying the practice of child soldiering.
Currently, PhilRights is engaged in mainstreaming Child Rights Programming in two provinces in Mindanao, involving local government units, civil society organizations and children. Coherence and consistency among child-related policies and programs is also being sought.
Aside from the researches elaborating the condition of child soldiers, PhilRights has also conducted educational discussions to disseminate the information in selected study sites. The two target areas for the information dissemination and advocacy are Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, where incidence of recruitment of children as soldiers was found. Among the intervention programs to be formulated in these two areas are: These are: (1) Awareness-Raising and Popular Education Activities; (2) Trainings; (3) Agenda-building and Planning Workshops; (4) Children and Youth camp; (5) Advocacy and Lobby; and (6) Information, Campaign, and Education (EIC) Material Development.