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War Child Press Release
Nov 25, 2009, 17:08
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War Child

20 years convention of the rights of the child
War Child promotes child rights

Freetown, 24th November 2009

War Child celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) last Friday, November 20th at British Council. More than two hundred key stakeholders including children, councillors, NGOs and the Deputy Minister of Education, Youths and Sports, Dr. Lansana Nyallay attended the event. The drama performance and photo exhibition seen at the event are two new methods that War Child uses to promote child rights. Unfortunately, the rights of children around the country are still violated, in spite of the CRC and the Governments efforts to promote child rights through the implementation of the Child Rights Act. Structures like the Child Welfare Committees need more support for them to function well, in particular in the rural areas of Sierra Leone. The Child Rights Steering Committee of the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Childrens Affairs is tasked with the implementation of the Child Rights Act, which is based on the CRC. Children are given the opportunity to advocate for support to these structures through the drama performance by Performing for Peace as well as the Photographs developed in the Photography for Childrens Rights activity. Elise Griede, Programme Specialist for War Child: "In these activities children appeal to decision-makers to pay attention to their rights and allocate more resources to Child Welfare Committees."Drama performance

An example of a photo from the photo story developed by the children from Sanda Tendaren (Bombali)

Young people are supported in their effort to advocate for their own rights in the "Performing for Peace" drama performance. Children need to develop their confidence to be able to achieve this. The confidence of children grows during the rehearsals in preparation of the performance. Elise Griede: "In the beginning, the children were very shy and quiet, but after a couple of weeks they can rap, sing and act. That has really impressed me". Besides on stage, the children have also become more confident in daily life. One of the cast members from Maghata Community (BKM, Chiefdom in Port Loko District) proudly said: "I used to be afraid to talk to my parents, now I really am confident to discuss my problems with them."Photo exhibition

The exhibition included a mural, body paintings, photo-story, social mapping, paintings and adapted photos by the children. These exhibits are quite unusual art forms in Sierra Leone. An example of the photo-story which comprises of a series of photographs taken by the children that tell a story of so-called "unsafe area" is given below.

Through this exhibition the children from Rogbin, Rokulan and Rogboreh in Sanda Tendaren Chiefdom (Bombali) appealed to the authorities to allocate resources towards the establishment of Child Welfare Committees. These village and chiefdom level structures invoked by the Child Rights Act form a frontline response to specific child rights issues and cases.

After the performance the children approached the decision-makers in the public to ask them what they thought about the performance and get their commitments to support Child Welfare Committees. War Child will help the children to carry out a follow-up activity after a few months to check whether the decision-makers have kept their promises.

For more information:

Eamonn Hanson, Project Manager Advocacy and Communications: 076 912513 or through
Press Release: Note No. 20091124 PR 006

The cast of the drama performance during a try-out at their home community in Maghata (Port Loko)

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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