Study Session 2

Question 2.1

  • 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.

Question 2.2

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.

Question 2.3

  • 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.

Question 2.4

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