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Civil society partnerships

Ensure adequate knowledge and skills

Successful partnerships are based on trust, mutual respect, a common vision and shared values. Some steps toward achieving this involve attitude, knowledge and skills.

Knowledge

Firstly, children's rights organizations should:

  • Recognize the roles already played by religious communities in promoting and protecting children's rights, as well as learn about the basic concepts, principles and teaching of religious traditions regularly encountered. This can be done not only by reading but, importantly, by engaging with members of religious communities in a manner of inquiry.
  • Invite representatives of religious communities (including women, youth and elders) to share their perspectives on the work you are doing.
  • Understand why religious communities would want to partner with child rights organizations.
  • Identify and seek to understand human rights and child-related issues that may be contentious and potentially divisive in interactions with religious communities and find ways to address them without alienating or losing potential allies.
  • Confirm the roles already played by religious communities in promoting and protecting children’s rights.

Skills

They are based not only on an open attitude that displays respect and avoids preconceived notions. It is also important to:

  • Listen, learn and display respect for traditional values. When those seem incongruent with child rights perspectives, mediate and negotiate to find the common ground with religious traditions.
  • Learn to convey the language of child rights in the more commonly understood tenets and beliefs of religious communities
  • Develop facilitation skills for interactive processes that allow for sharing and integration of key religious and child rights concepts. 
  • Confront fundamental challenges to child rights presented by religious communities directly, but respectfully.

 

 

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