UNICEF BiH Marks the Universal Children’s Day 2011 with a Series of Events throughout Two Weeks in November
Sarajevo, 25. November 2011. - With two meetings with media representatives, held in Sarajevo and Banjaluka this week, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina – BiH concluded the two-week series of events to mark the Universal Children’s Day 2011.
All events were focused on promoting children’s rights with equity with a special attention to the most vulnerable and excluded categories of children. The events covered main priority areas for UNICEF in BiH including: social protection and inclusion, early childhood development, mother and child health, inclusive education, child protection, advocacy for children’s rights and justice for children. “Every day should be considered as a Universal Children’s Day. This is why every year we use the momentum around November 20th to remind our partners, friends, decision makers and general public that children’s rights should be recognized and considered in every decision and every action we all make.” – said UNICEF Representative in BiH, Florence Bauer.
UNICEF continues to work with a large number of partners including governments at all levels, civil society, media institutions as well as with children, their families and communities in order to contribute to the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. “Through advocacy, capacity building, mobilization of partnerships, generation of knowledge and evidence, with a special focus on the most excluded children, we aim at contributing to a world in which all rights of all children are every day’s reality.” – added UNICEF Representative.
The series of events began with the Roundtable on communication and promotion of immunization held in Sarajevo on November 14th. Following the international immunization mission that visited BiH earlier this year, the conclusions were discussed with over 70 participants from all parts of the County – epidemiologists, public health experts, parents and immunization experts. A common agreement was reached, to coordinate and further intensify efforts to increase public knowledge about the importance of immunization and the potential risks of low immunization rates.
Prijedor Police Station has equipped a “child-friendly” room to ensure that children in contact with the justice system (i.e. victims, witness or alleged perpetrators of criminal acts) are interrogated in a setting, which is in accordance with international standards, and which protects them from trauma and enables them to provide more reliable and comprehensive testimony facilitating investigations. The Minister of Interior of RS, the Swiss and Swedish Ambassadors as well as representatives from Municipal Working Group on Justice for Children and the NGO Zdravo da ste attended the ceremony held on 17.11.2011. A similar opening event was organized in Tuzla on 18. October with the participation of the Minister of Interior of Tuzla Canton, donors as well as representatives from Municipal Working Group on Justice for Children and the NGO Biro za ljudska prava representatives.
From 14 to 18th November 15 young video enthusiasts from the elementary school “19th April” participated in the workshop One Minute Junior in Derventa which resulted in the production of 15 short videos on social inclusion, as seen by children. OneMinutesJr is a network made of the European Cultural Foundation, Sandberg Institute and supported by UNICEF which promotes the production by children of one-minute videos through which they can express their opinions, views, ideas, or raise their voice about their own and peer’s problems. The workshop in Derventi is the first of this kind organised within the Strengthening the Social Protection and Inclusion System Programme (SPIS). The objective is to bring the concept of social inclusion closer to children and give them another tool to express their views, needs, wishes, and thoughts. These videos will also be used to raise awareness and advocate for inclusive social protection with local government.
On November 15-16, the Pedagogical and Educational Institute of Canton Sarajevo held a seminar to present and promote life skills- and competence-based approaches in primary and secondary education systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The seminar with more than 100 participants, which was primarily targeted at directors of primary and secondary schools in Canton Sarajevo, focused on elaborating the main findings and recommendations reached within the report Mapping of Key Competences and Life Skills in BiH Educational Systems which was developed through MDG F Youth Employment and Retention Programme through joint cooperation between UNICEF and the Agency for Pre-primary, Primary and Secondary Education. Some of conclusions were related to the harmonization of criteria for evaluation of students’ performance and results as well as improving the quality of schools books and skills and competencies based curricula.
On November 22 and 23, UNICEF invited media representatives to discuss about media coverage of children related issues. Having in mind the increasing importance of internet communication and social networks UNICEF offered a web page for exchanging information, collecting and sharing good examples at www.zasvakodijete.ba (for every child). The encouraging response and promised support from media representatives will serve as a start for strengthening collaboration among organizations, institutions and media concerned for children’s rights using this interactive web platform in the following period.
During this period UNICEF and partners also started the field work phase of the “Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey – MICS” which aims at obtaining information on the situation of children and their families in the country. MICS is designed to collect statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates on key indicators in the areas of health, education and child protection. Like in previous editions, the survey will be conducted in the whole country and will be representative of the mainstream population. But for the first time MICS will also include a special component on Roma in order to collect representative data on Roma households in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Interviews will be conducted with 8600 families in all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including 1800 Roma families. UNICEF and its partners rely on full collaboration from all participants in these interviews, as this will provide statistically relevant data that would not be available otherwise.