New Community Program helps children develop knowledge and skills
When people think about sustainability, they think of a change that can continue and bring a new future. To accomplish this they need to work with the grass root. Strengthening Community Organizations not only means working with adults, but also with children and adolescents. Children who grow up developing their knowledge and skills in issues like participation, democracy, and rights, will definitely change -- for good -- their families and their communities.
This is the case of Arroyos Esteros Program, where child participation is promoted and strengthened the same as any other actions with adults. CCFC and community efforts have had huge results; seven children from the childhood committees have been selected to be part of the Municipal Council of Childhood and Adolescence of Arroyos y Esteros. “Before, we didn’t have the opportunity to be heard; now we do” expressed Arania, who is 15 years old, President of the Childhood Committee of Arroyos y Esteros. The Municipal Council is led by the Major with the support of the CODENI (The Counsel for Children’s Rights), and is integrated by local authorities like councillors, school principals, the police, the city Court and other members of the community such as neighbourhood commissions, cooperatives and NGOs. CCFC’s partner Fundación Dequení is part of it. A Municipal Council is a body to guide, articulate and coordinate programs and actions for a comprehensive promotion of children's rights. The Municipal Council integrates the Departmental Council, led by the Governor and departmental authorities.
In the case of the Municipal Council of Arroyos y Esteros, its priority is to work to prevent school dropouts, early pregnancy and child abuse since these are issues that have increased in the city according the data from the CODENI.
Even when these entities are established by law, it is very common that authorities don’t acknowledge them until an organization promotes them and there is strong community support. For this council, Arroyos y Esteros Program’s support was key, thanks to its work and follow up with parents, schools, children and the community in general. For all children, not only the ones who are part of the council but also others who are part of the different committees, this experience is important because it is a way to develop citizenship, to create awareness that children have rights and that they have voices. In Paraguayan society many people are still not aware of children's basic rights. The council is a way for children to grow up with greater knowledge about their rights. This is an opportunity that most of their parents didn’t have.
PY APR FY14 Success Story SCO