Study Session 2
- Children cannot vote and have very little power to influence communities, health administrations or governments.
- The views of children are often ignored.
- Despite international and national laws to protect them, children’s rights continue to be violated and abused.
Factors that make advocacy successful and effective include:
- thorough research and analysis of the problem
- evidence that the problem is significant and serious
- broad alliances of significant organisations
- support of key individuals within the community
- effective use of the media
- targeted interventions at the people who have the power to make the changes needed
- willingness to be persistent, proactive and patient.
- You have direct experience of how children are affected by the services you provide, the way they are treated in the community, the impact of government policies on their lives.
- You can bring the problems alive by being able to describe how the children you work with every day are affected by the environments in which they live and work.
- You have credibility as a result of your profession, education and training. People in your community respect and trust you.
- You have influence and your investment to advocate for children can inspire others to do likewise. Your voice may be listened to when other voices are not.
- You have a responsibility as a health professional caring for children, to help those who are suffering to realise their rights.
- The same skills you use every day to establish trust, develop relationships, and provide solutions to your patients and clients can be applied in your community advocacy work.
- You are able to build alliances with other health practitioners, school personnel, youth organisers, agricultural groups and others, who, through their efforts, can advocate effectively for change.
Children have a unique contribution to make towards any understanding of their lives. They can therefore contribute value to advocacy. In particular, their involvement:
- adds a different perspective to that provided by adults – children can offer their direct experience and reality and help provide solutions to the problems they face
- can engage the attention of policy makers who are often interested to hear directly from children
- promotes recognition and awareness that children can express their views and can be active citizens
- enables children to learn new skills, gain self-confidence, and begin to have a voice and exert influence
- encourages children to become active citizens, engaged in democratic processes.
4 Answers to self-assessment questions
Study session 3