There are many causes that inspire young people around the world to take action. Some are inspired by an absence of something – the lack of safe drinking water in their community, of proper toilets, of life-saving information about hygiene or HIV/AIDS. For others it is not a lack they protest, but an abundance – physical or sexual abuse, forced early marriage or harmful customs such as female genital mutilation.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child serves not only as a standard to which all governments should aspire but also as a rallying cry for children and young adults to identify rights’ violations and take action. Whether you seek to heighten awareness or educate others about a particular issue, raise money or goods or launch a petition, this Guide to Action outlines a basic strategy to help focus on an idea, identify an action plan and follow through. Separated into four categories, the Guide to Action offers advice on the following.
Ideas for Projects: Whether you choose to launch an awareness campaign to dispel myths surrounding the spread of HIV, hold a fundraiser to buy school supplies or write a petition requesting your local government to install a safe drinking-water system, the Ideas for Projects section can offer you advice on a variety of action models and how to proceed.
First Steps: This section helps you identify issues that matter most to your community, inform yourself about those issues and think about the sort of action you want to take, and at what level. It tells you how to give your issue a sharper focus, research your issue once you have chosen it and determine whether you wish to act individually or as part of a larger group. This section also provides information on how to conduct a survey to identify your community’s most pressing concerns.
Review: Whether you have decided to perform a play for the public about the importance of primary education or teach a class about the benefits of breastfeeding, once you have identified your issue this section runs you through a series of questions to check whether you are prepared to begin. It can also help you review your campaign’s effectiveness and learn from experience.
Communication: Getting the media involved is an important part of any awareness campaign, whether you wish to highlight abuses against children in the schoolyard or the benefits of condom use to avoid HIV infection. This section offers tips on public speaking, using public events or festivities to raise awareness of your issue. Tips on designing posters, flyers and fact sheets are included as well.
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