Child participation

Children's parliament

Participatory workshops


Participatory workshops

© UNICEF/MLIA2009/Pirozzi

Mali has ratified most international instruments for the protection of legal rights in general, and child rights in particular. Mali has also internally adopted several texts aimed at promoting children's rights.

Despite this national commitment, the legal framework has had a relatively small impact on knowledge, attitudes and practices of child rights. Nationally, only 4 of 10 children know their rights; only 1 in 10 children knows there are regulations on those rights.

In 2009, UNICEF Mali supported a children’s photography workshop during the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Twenty girls and boys of varying backgrounds, ranging in age from 10 – 17, were selected from the Association for Children and Young Workers (AEJT). In UNICEF Mali’s first workshop of this kind, the youth collaborated for two weeks, guided by an international photographer, Giacomo Pirozzi, to learn elements of photography and prepare an exhibition.
Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world; however, photography thrives as both an income-generating activity and as a cultural showpiece. Through the work of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibé, Malian photography has gained an international reputation. In 1994, Bamako was selected as the home of African Encounters of Photography, an internationally recognized biennial art exhibit that brings together the most prestigious photographers of the continent.

The exhibition by UNICEF-supported child photographers, ‘Snapping Their Rights,’ was displayed in the Palace of Culture as part of the eighth Biennale of African Photography. The children received special recognition from attendees Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, the Malian Minister of Culture and the Minister of Children, Women and Families.

"Jekawuli" is a local Bambara word that loosly translates to “empowerment; bringing people up, or, standing up together.” The continuing program aims to provide opportunities for Malian children and young people to become creators of their own message. Following the project cycle of media – from planning, production, post-production, revision, exhibition and distribution – each will learn how to produce his/her own project from concept to completion and share it with a global audience.

Media and arts projects with children and adolescents have seen a boom all over the world in recent years, advancing the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), including Article 12, 13 and 17 on the participation and freedom of expression for children. The opportunity for children and adolescents to learn how to use multimedia tools to express their opinions has shown favourable results and given marginalised youth a voice on various issues affecting them.

The overall objective of our program is to develop the skills of youth to express themselves clearly, promote their own rights, freedoms and social equality through tools of visual communication and storytelling. Such a workshop will focus on empowering marginalized children through a theme child rights using non-formal education and advocacy activities based in building income-generating skills and strengthening social communication.

The workshop will provide a safe environment to:

  • Give a voice to marginalised adolescents;
  • Educate participants (and in turn, their families and communities) about their rights;
  • Develop local capacity to provide community-based support to vulnerable children;
  • Learn how to work independently and as a part of a team;
  • Build creativity and confidence;
  • Develop analytical thinking skills;
  • Learn elements of public speaking through individual and group presentation and exhibition;
  • Develop income-generating skills for a creative, income-generating  profession.



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