What is Bolivian Children's Alliance?
The Bolivian Children's Alliance (ABNA) is a movement for child participation promoted by UNICEF. Over 1,500 children and adolescents from all over the country form part of the ABNA. Its motto: "We are here for our rights and for our country ".
The initiative is based on the idea that children and adolescents should protagonise their rights, as persons who are listened to and respected by adults when they express what they think and feel.
The Alliance began its existence in May of 2001. Nationwide it agglutinates over 80 civil society, church and State institutions, working for and with children and adolescents.
1. Promote and demand that child and adolescent rights are respected and implemented within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Child and Adolescent Code, and the Global Movement for Children.
2. Strengthen participation by children and adolescents.
· CITIZENS VALUES: when participating, children and adolescents acquire and/or strengthen values which facilitate peaceful coexistence in society: solidarity, team spirit, respect … to become responsible citizens, it is fundamental that children and adolescents participate in their community from the beginning of their lives.
· CHILD PROTAGONISM: children and adolescents are the protagonists within the movement. Adults accompany them and propose actions, but do not impose them. The institutions participate as promoters for integrated development and of social and affective self-learning (such as self-esteem), and awareness of their own rights.
· COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AND SELF-ESTEEM: During BCA encounters and workshops, the training in community leadership and the development of self-esteem have always had special importance. Positive self perception produces quality participation (children and adolescents acquire the confidence to constitute themselves in agents of change of their own personal or social reality).
· Make the needs and interests of Bolivian children.
· Raise awareness of the existence of children's rights in.
· Place children on the political agenda, so as to incide in the creation of public policies.
Role of children and adolescents:
· Design strategic plans.
· Define and implement activities.
· Role as a protagonist and a social actor.
Children and adolescents are the protagonists: they have participated in each and every one of the phases. They have designed strategic plans and defined and implemented activities.
· Role of institutions:
Institutions are strategic actors. They provide areas for participation and support the processes for children and adolescents to be able to make their own decisions. Institutions facilitate and promote the process, although their role is secondary.
Institutions recognize that children and adolescents have the capacity to be social actors and not mere beneficiaries. BCA workshops and encounters have, amongst others, the objective of promoting this capacity.
Amongst the institutions that form part of the BCA are the following: SOS Children's Villages, Christian Children's Fund, Care Bolivia, CIEC, CEADL-Centre of Studies and Support for Local Development, CEBIAE-Bolivian Research and Education Actions Centre, Pathfinder International, CARITAS-Episcopal Pastoral Commission for Action, Plan International-Bolivia, Child Defense-International Bolivia, Land of Men Platform - Germany, ENDA Bolivia, Inti Watana, Save the Children-USA, Food for the Hungry International, World Vision and UNICEF.
· Adolescent training with participative dynamics in 5 workshops held on weekends. Topics covered:
1. Child and adolescent rights (International Convention on the Rights of the Child).
2. Community leadership.
3. Self organization and management.
4. Processes of participation and the role of social actors.
6. Outlining political proposals.
· Elaboration of a National Decalogue. This decalogue reflects the rights which Bolivian children and adolescents consider priorities for their development. It was presented to the President of the Republic in September, 2001. Afterwards, it has served as an input for the drafts of departmental and national strategic plans.
· Participation of two delegates from the Alliance in the CHILD FORUM as representatives of Bolivian children and adolescents. This, within the framework of the UN Special Session for Children, held in New York from May 8 to 10, 2002. Gabriela Azurduy and Jorge Chavez took part in the elaboration of the document entitled "A World Fit For Children". Bolivia was one of the 189 countries which ratified this document, thus committing to implement 21 goals in the areas of health, education and child protection for the year 2012.
· Celebration of a FORUM WITH THE POLITICAL CANDIDATES TO THE PRESIDENCY AND VICEPRESIDENCY IN THE GENERAL ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002. The Forum, "Children and Adolescents on the Political Agenda", was held on June 17, 2002. At this event, children and adolescents put forward their preoccupations and demands. The electoral candidates also presented their proposals relating to children and adolescents and signed a political commitment to give priority to these themes in designing public policy for the government period to begin in August of 2002.
· Incorporation of the RURAL AREA in the Alliance movement. The rural area has been traditionally obviated by the sphere of participation and decision taking. According to the Alliance movement, an approach to this population has already started. In November 2002 took place a meeting with the exclusive participation of children and adolescents of the rural area. The objective: incorporate finally the rural area in the ABNA.
· Celebration of the NATIONAL CONGRESS OF THE CHILDREN'S PARLIAMENT. The National Congress held an official session on April 12, 2003 in the city of La Paz, Bolivia. Children and adolescents from the nine national departments took part. 130 child Deputies aged under 12 held a session in the Lower Chamber, while 27 adolescent Senators aged 13 to 17, held a session in the Upper Chamber.