Advocacy Toolkit’s purpose is to assist child rights advocates and other professionals in influencing the governments at national and sub-national level, to promote the development of better care services for unaccompanied and separated migrant children in the EU.
The toolkit is intended to be used by NGOs working with children and young people, including Eurochild members, as well as government officials at national, regional and local level, who want to engage with children and young people. In particular government officials in charge of the implementation of the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child in the context of its Mid-Term evaluation by the Ad Hoc Committee for the Rights of the Child – CAHENF.
The EU- funded project Forum for Unaccompanied Minors: transfer of knowledge for professionals to increase foster care aims to expand national systems of family-based care for the reception of unaccompanied migrant children, partnering with organisations in Italy, Spain, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
However, this toolkit can be equally used by actors working in the field of children’s rights and migration in other countries.
This toolkit aims to:
- Provide an overview of the EU context, current policies and funding in the area of (children’s) migration and care services
- Identify the current state of discussions around the rights of migrant children and key messages
- Offer tips and tools for building an effective advocacy strategy
- Promote child participation in advocacy around decisions that affect children
Structure of the Toolkit
The toolkit starts with explaining what children’s participation means and how the toolkit will support children to advocate for the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child. They acknowledge that several tools exist already to engage children in advocacy and campaigning work and when used these are referenced in the toolkit.
The next chapter gives guidance on conditions and criteria for meaningful engaging children in public decision-making.
The last chapter is the main one of the toolkit and describes how you can develop an advocacy strategy together with children and young people. This is done with the support from different images, including a hot air balloon, which symbolises different parts of the development of the advocacy strategy. These can be used as exercises with children.
Basic Foundations of Advocacy for Children’s Rights
Child rights advocacy is rooted in the following elements:
- It aims at ensuring that national policies and legislation comply with international standards and legal commitments to promote and protect children’s rights. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the main foundation of child rights advocacy, since all countries in Europe have ratified it. In fact, it is the most ratified international treaty in the world!
- It highlights the gaps and challenges, and makes proposals for steps to be taken by different stakeholders to improve the situation of children’s rights and human rights of children, in line with the international standards and commitments.
- It targets decision-makers with power to make the change happen. The intention is that they give their political commitment; take the necessary steps to make the change; and are held accountable for their decisions.
- It recognises children as actors of change and promotes children’s participation to ensure their voices are heard when decisions are taken that affect them.