As a Child Protection organisation, Terre des Hommes Netherlands strongly believes in making children participate in their development process. One such example of a Child Participation intervention is the training and facilitation of Youth Advocates under the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) project.
In India, the project identifies socially conscious youngsters below 18 and provides them various platforms to raise their voice against girl child exploitation. These Youth Advocates are also sensitised and made aware of child rights, child protection acts and consequences of child exploitation. Further, they are trained in innovative advocacy tools such cartooning, street theatre, public speaking and so on.
To ensure that this practice sustains during the pandemic, GAA India in the month of September conducted workshops with the parents of Youth Advocates to ensure a strong support system for the youngsters’ advocacy. Motivation and guidance from their parents would ensure that the advocacy action continues even after the closure of the project.
These workshops were conducted by GAA Partners, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Social Service Society in Warangal district, and Shramika Vikasa Kendram (SVK) in Telangana for parents of a total of 100 Youth Advocates.
In these workshops, parents were briefed about the advocacy programme and the impact it has generated. The significance of their contribution was emphasised on. The parents were extremely proud of their children and pledged to support them in their advocacy efforts.
Youth advocate parent continued “I lost one of my daughters when she was a child. Since then I have taken utmost care in bringing up my only daughter, in keeping her safe and providing her with the best of opportunities. I will support her in every way possible.”
Now that the children have their parents on board, the advocacy action will be more intense, effective, regular, and prolonged. Additionally, the parental support would ensure the smooth functioning of the advocacy during COVID-19, ensuring that the child are not deterred by the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the pandemic.
The project presently has a total of 240 Youth Advocates, and workshops for the other parents from remaining project districts is planned for the coming months.