|World Council of Churches/Christian Council of Zambia representative Suzanne Matale took part in a panel 'Critical Issues in Girls' Education' at the United Nations in March 2005.|
Local and international non-governmental organizations are a major force in the protection and promotion of children's rights. Their contributions may include awareness-raising and 'watchdog' functions, research and documentation, and community empowerment projects.
Organizations can help raise local awareness of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Optional Protocols by organizing informational meetings, distributing materials about the Convention and creating grassroots support for ratification and implementation of the Convention and its Optional Protocols. They can challenge politicians to make children’s rights a priority. By monitoring government actions and programmes, gathering data on shortcomings and starting campaigns for legal and political changes, organizations can help create a world fit for children.
The Convention itself invites participation by non-governmental organizations in the reporting and monitoring process. Governments are encouraged to consult non-governmental organizations and incorporate their contributions into state reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Non-governmental organizations or non-governmental organization coalitions can also prepare and submit alternative reports for the Committee's consideration. Reports submitted by a coalition are generally more comprehensive than reports submitted by individual organizations.
The NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child
The NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child is a coalition of international non-governmental organizations which work together to facilitate the implementation of the Convention. The Group’s main functions are to serve as a means of contact between the civil society and the Committee on the Rights of the Child and to help monitor and implement the Convention at the national level. As part of its work, the NGO Group has issued a set of guidelines for NGOs preparing alternative reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The NGO Group encourages the creation and development of national coalitions of NGOs working for children's rights.
To find out more about what your organization can do to promote and protect children’s rights, contact your local UNICEF field office or National Committee.
Definition of key terms [PDF]
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