Flashing Back, Flashing Forward
Dreaming up wild ideas to deliver better results for children
Thirty years ago, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - an international agreement on childhood. It’s become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives around the world.
Niger has ratified the Convention in 1990. The country has made considerable progress in advancing children’s and women’s rights. Children are less likely to die from preventable diseases than in the past. Being able to go to school is now a reality for many more children. But still not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood. Still, too many childhoods are cut short.
Through a design-thinking workshop, UNICEF, in collaboration with the African Development University – ADU, brought together selected-youth from across the country to look back at the last thirty years to see the progress for children and youth, the challenges that persist, and then, to focus on a prospective analysis that highlights their aspirations, dreams and solutions for the next thirty years.
Recognizing the burgeoning youth population in the country, and the necessity to implement new approaches to solving existing problems, the workshop seeks to embolden stakeholders to consider new perspectives, test new ideas and scale up promising practices across the country.
“They are participating in the design process from identifying the challenges, ideating solutions, prototyping and testing the solutions. This is a central way to help young people build their confidence and speak for themselves in a range of situations. Through this approach, they would be able to clearly identify problems that they themselves experience and work with others towards solutions” said Kader Kaneye, co-founder of the African Development University – ADU.
In Niger, young people are a massive cohort, which have an immense potential to benefit their societies socially, politically and economically. It is only through the direct participation of young people that the issues of most concern to them can be identified, and effective solutions developed. The responsibility of any duty-bearer is to recognise the rights of young people and work with them as partners and agents of change for today and tomorrow.
“To think like a designer requires dreaming up wild ideas, taking time to tinker and test, and being willing to fail early and often. The road to your dreams isn’t always easy to navigate, sometimes dotted with obstacles to overcome. Anything worth having doesn’t come easy” said Felicite Tchibindat, UNICEF Representative in Niger. “None of us knows what we know together. You are not asked to be perfect, you are asked to start a new journey that is a victory for you, and for the next generation”.
Niger is a youthful country. Most of its citizens are under 24 years of age.With close to half of Nigeriens living in poverty, the future prospects of many children are dim, and they risk becoming the next impoverished generation. Adolescents in the country face many challenges – such as child marriage, difficulties in accessing to quality education.
“It is up to your generation to demand that leaders from government, business and communities fulfil their commitments and take action for child rights now, once and for all. They must commit to making sure every child, has every right” concluded Tchibindat.