The African Union Ending Child Marriage Campaign Child Participation Guidelines
Objectives of the African Union Ending Child Marriage Campaign Child Participation Guidelines
In alignment to the framework of the AU Ending Child Marriage Campaign, the child participation guidelines seek to create platforms and define structures and strategies that safely and actively engage children in learning, gaining a stronger understanding of their rights and forming key actions for their protection against harmful traditional practices especially child marriage.
The guidelines also seek to highlight provisions for the creation of a space where children’s views on how to end child marriage are generated, documented and disseminated for adaptation as key drivers to the ongoing member state, partner and African Union strategies for ending marriage.
- To create a safe, interactive and regular online and physical interface that is well coordinated to effectively engage young boys and girls representing each member state of the African Union on discussions pertaining the End Child Marriage Campaign including what their views are, risk factors that predispose them, strategies they can lead for risk reduction and the support they need to lead campaign activities in their communities.
- To provide a multisectoral interactive online and face to face platforms that allow for capacity building, knowledge transfer and awareness raising for boys and girls on the African continent on the protection of their rights against child marriage and their specific role in ensuring their protection.
- To create at space that stimulates key child led discussions that engage and advocate for specific actions and support from African Union divisions, partners, members states and stakeholders on the incorporation of child generated End Child Marriage strategies in all current campaign activities.
- To capture, document and widely disseminate key deliberations and perspectives on what African children are asking key stakeholders for to End Child Marriages. These will be compiled as case studies, best practices, lessons and recommendations which can generate learning and scale up of child generated and led ECM campaign strategies.
Modality of Child Participation and Engagement within the African Union Campaign
- African Union will organise monthly child led webinars that engage children nominated from all member states in themed discussions that re aligned to the implementation of the African Union Campaign on Ending Child Marriage e.g.
- African Union Summit roadmaps. Children and young people will be given an opportunity to share their own experiences, challenges and risks that they face that predispose them to harmful practices, and effective approaches and innovations that young people are using to protect them from harmful practices.
- In addition, the webinars will provide a learning space where key strategies for harm reduction are shared with children and partners, as well as key updates and messaging that children and young people need to know regarding the campaign.
Podcasts: as part of a capacity building and experiential learning efforts, the African Union will organise quartely podcasts which will match child protection experts with children and young people from the continent on key elements of child protection and safeguarding. For further learning and referencing purposes among the young people, these multilingual podcasts will be recorded and broadcasted on the African Union websites including the Ending Child Marriage Campaign.
Social Media Live events:
- The COVID19 pandemic has resulted in a bigger proportion of children and youth readapting to the use of digital communications platforms and social media channels for both education and interaction with friends, relatives and other peers over the globe.
- Taking this in stride, the African Union Harmful Practices Unit will utilise the key African Union Social media platforms of Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp and Youtube to create real time engagements and discourses with young peoples on key topics related to the Ending Child Marriage Campaign.
- This will include engaging children and young people in social media activations and promotions of upcoming and ongoing media events and document launches where their participation and voice will be captured and fronted during all associated event or document processes.
- In line with the African Union End Child Marriage aligned technology activity- Girl Can Code, the African Union Harmful Practices Unit with support and partnership of key UN agencies, development partners and civil society organisations will conduct biannual hackthons that engage children from the entire continent in innovating and shaping digital applications that can be used to effectively accelerate the ending of child marriages.
- These digital symposiums will entail the member state and civil society led nomination of groups of students and young innovators who will be paired with African software development leaders to collectively generate Child marriage prevention, reporting and rehabilitation applications.
- Children will especially be engaged in these activities to enhance their problem solving, creativity, collaboration, and networking skills; they will also learn and be supported to add their own piece of code or idea that can solve the issue of child marriage. Children will also be equipped with skillsets for moving their solutions or innovation from development to market through a demand creation exercise which will skill them for future programming and product marketing opportunities. In addition, these hackathons will link children especially girls, to existing free learning opportunities in the digital world.