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Middle East

Efforts to mobilise the society around the issues behind Say Yes, promote the campaign and encourage pledges included groundbreaking Say Yes workshops in February; a wide distribution of pledge forms during the Tehran Book Fair, 8–18 May; 6 seminars on the GMC and Say Yes held between March and June, attended by a cross section of media, government officials, NGOs young people, families and academics; an appeal to Mayors asking them to act for children; a kite competition, and a week-long tree planting exercise to promote Say Yes. Famous football player Ali Daie was appointed as the GMC Goodwill Ambassador.

Say Yes was launched in the three governorates of Northern Iraq on 1 June, to coincide with Children’s Day. The hallmark of the event was the participation of the highest level of political leadership, local authorities, NGOs, CSOs, mass media and children themselves. In Suleimaniyah, Jalal Talabani, head of the ruling party PUK, inaugurated the campaign by signing the first pledge and committed himself to efforts to protect the rights of Kurdish children. In Erbil, the campaign was launched in an open public square by the Chairman, public organizations of the ruling PDK, the Governor, cabinet members and the Secretary-General of the Kurdistan Women’s Union. In addition to hundreds of parents, more than 300 children of internally displaced persons attended the launch. The Governor and senior leadership of the ruling party launched Say Yes in Dohuk. Pledge forms were distributed and signed at all three events. An official launch on 20 August marked the beginning of an intensive door-to-door campaign, coordinated by the Ministry of Information in collaboration with several partners, which collected millions of votes in Iraq.

Queen Rania Al-Abdullah invited the nation to begin pledging as she launched Say Yes from the Jordanian Badia desert on 16 May. Just 21 days after the launch, Say Yes had gathered 1 million pledges. Pledges and tremendous support continued to come in from all sectors of society including the media, top leaders, NGOs and from children and adults of the country. The Ministry of Education was instrumental in distributing and collecting pledges. Regular pledging events to mobilize communities – ranging from football matches to mobile puppet shows and environmental workshops for housewives and rural farmers – were organized around different Say Yes points. Pledges were collected at annual milestone events, including the Arab Children’s Congress and the Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts. Hundreds of student volunteers tallied results at Jordan’s University Community Service Office. Among the numerous notables who endorsed Say Yes were King Abdullah II, Queen Noor, the Senate and the Prime Minister. With well over 1 million pledges collected, at least one person in each household in the Kingdom’s population of five million said Yes for children. Read more... To help in the drive for pledges, Jordanians can also Say Yes directly on UNICEF Jordan's recently launched website:

Regional launch
Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs was the first to Say Yes for the region of Middle East and North Africa. Held on 26 April in Beirut, the launch coincided with a regional symposium on children that brought together some 130 participants from 16 countries to examine the situation of children in the region. Ten children called upon those in positions of responsibility to pledge their support for the campaign and help to bring Say Yes to life through action on each point of the pledge.
National Launch
In launching Say Yes from the Presidential Palace in Beirut on 16 May, before a gathering of 180 people, the First Lady of Lebanon appealed to all political, social and intellectual leaders to step forward to help children. Various Ministers from Foreign Affairs to Youth and Sports all filled out pledge forms and vowed to support the work on the issues behind the campaign, as did several other government officials and a large number of attending NGOs. The Minister of Social Affairs called for Lebanon to boost the protection of children from all forms of violence and encourage the participation of children in all issues concerning them and their country. The pledge form has been made accessible for all Lebanese Internet votes on

The Organizing Committee for Say Yes - comprised of focal points from several Government Ministries and NGOs - and the Community Support Group Volunteers made significant efforts in the distribution and collection of pledges. Say Yes was tied in to several events, including summer camps organized by GOYSCA, the National Organization for Scouts & Guides and the Omani Women’s Association; role plays done by children during special orientation sessions; Breast Feeding Week celebrations in all the regions, and Muscat Municipality’s Public Awareness Programme at prominent commercial centers. In September, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, extensive mobilisation of students covered 80 public and 7 private schools in the Muscat region. Training sessions for visiting educators were held prior to the initiative, which collected 45,000 pledges.

Syrian Arab Republic
Following the campaign’s launch over 24-29 April, overwhelming support for children came in from all regions in Syria through Say Yes. On 24 April, hundreds of children participated in the opening festival of the Pioneers Annual Festival. On 26 April, children supervised the pledging as several representatives of UN agencies were invited to Say Yes. On 28 April, some 300 children, wearing Say Yes T-shirts, took off for an 8 km marathon for the national launch of Say Yes. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education started a pledging campaign right in its building.
Partners contributing to Say Yes included the Ministries of Justice, Education, Health, Information and Social Affairs, several women and children’s NGOs, universities, private sector companies and UN agencies. Round-table discussions on national television helped to create widespread awareness; campaign promotions included distribution of Say Yes T-shirts, and pledging stations were set up in various areas such as schools, health centers, mosques and children’s camps.

All Tunisians were asked to join the campaign at a National Scout Forum on 26 June. Say Yes organizers, with support from key Ministries, the Committee for Mediterranean Games and the National Women’s Union, worked to engage various sectors of society to take action for children, disseminated key messages of Say Yes and encouraged private sector involvement. The Scout Movement collected thousands of pledges, while Kodak and the hypermarket Carrefour distributed thousands of pledge forms within the country’s commercial center. During the Mediterranean Games held in Tunis in September, 100 volunteers distributed 20,000 pledges. The Ministry of Youth, Childhood and Sport led a programme to mobilize educators and youth associations around Say Yes.

West Bank and Gaza
Say Yes was launched by the Deputy Minister of Planning and International Cooperation and Chairperson of the Secretariat for the National Plan of Action for Palestinian Children and the President of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, during the national workshop on Palestinian Children held on 30 May. Over 300 participants were involved, including top Palestinian Authority officials, ministries, NGOs, young people and the media. The Secretariat for the National Plan of Action for Palestinian Children was instrumental in promoting the campaign as well as in the distribution and collection of pledges

Say Yes was launched on 30 May, at a National Forum for Children – the first of its kind – under the auspices of the Yemeni President, represented by the Prime Minister. The Forum was well attended by Ministers, Ambassadors and other high-ranking officials, and hundreds participated in the working sessions, with discussions that reflected real commitments towards children’s issues. The Say Yes campaign in Yemen engaged key sectors of society, particularly children and young people, in discussions and action on the issues behind the campaign, while encouraging all citizens to pledge. Key partners in the campaign include several Ministries, the National Coalition on the Rights of the Child, the National Women’s Union and the Higher Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

South Asia

UNICEF, in collaboration with the Save the Children Alliance and other partners, set up a Global Movement for Children Working Group in Afghanistan. The GMC working group prepared, tested and finalised a GMC consultation kit that was used to get ideas from Afghan children through various forms. The GMC Working Group added an explanatory note at the back of the form of the international Say Yes campaign and translated it in Dari and Pashto. The month of June was used for the Say Yes campaign, resulting in over 40,000 people pledging - choosing Educate Every Child as the top priority for Afghan children.

Say Yes in Bangladesh took an encouraging start on 27 April, with the President, the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition signing pledge forms – signalling a consensus to bring the cause of children to the very forefront of the national agenda. Leaders from the public and private sector, professional groups, NGOs, artists, writers and media representatives were among the large audience attending the ceremony, which was led and managed by children, over 1,500 of whom came from all over the country to be heard by their leaders.
The campaign steadily gained momentum with strong backing from the Bangladesh government and with the involvement and support of NGOs, the media, university students and citizens of various ages and backgrounds in the distribution and collection of pledges via person-to-person drives, the Internet, mail, and phone lines provided by a corporate partner.

The Global Movement for Children and the Say Yes campaign were launched on May 5th by the Minister of Health and Education, Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup, before high-level government officials, civil society and a host of international community representatives. Bhutan's focus will be on "Wholesome Education". A nationwide competition to elicit children's artistic impressions of matters that affect their lives will culminate in a September exposition. A booklet and video in which children speak out will also be published.

On 26 April, Say Yes was launched in one busy day of simultaneous activity. At the same time the official launch took place in a local school, over 1,500 children took the oath to Say Yes by signing their names on a cloth banner, along with a host of local leaders. By the end of the evening, high-level government, UN and NGO representatives had logged 150 pledges.
The Education Ministry and a large youth union teamed up on Say Yes for Children to distribute promotional material to children and young people, while the Tara Punjabi channel helped to collect 60,000 pledge forms. All throughout India, people at all levels, from Chief Ministers to local celebrities, have pledged and supported the campaign, while collaborative efforts to distribute and collect pledge forms have been made by NGOs, youth clubs and others.

--- Nagaland ---
In the Indian state of Nagaland, UNICEF India pioneered a fascinating project to help the country join the international community's efforts for children. In the first phase of the innovative "Imagine Nagaland", children and young people came together for "72 hours of positive thinking" on enabling action on the Rallying Call in Nagaland. The group collected "dream stories" from thousands of residents, related to five themes: peace, unity and respect for all, education and employment, equitable development, ecology and development and strengthening the rule of law.

Coordinated by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Say Yes was launched on 26 April by the First Lady, Madame Nasreena Ibrahim, at the Maldives Center for Social Education. Ministers and their spouses, members of the National Council on the Rights of Children, Parliament Members, representatives of UN agencies and other invitees all signed pledges. Influential individuals in the community launched a media campaign to appeal for support for the 10 points of the pledge. On 10 May, the programme to celebrate National Children’s Day included signing of pledge forms. A local artist wrote and performed a theme song for the campaign.

A 14 year-old-girl inaugurated Say Yes for Children by making the first electronic pledge on 25 July at a ceremony in Lalitpur. A consortium of organizations working with child clubs in Nepal and key Global Movement for Children founding partners have been the driving force of the campaign. Street theatre and focus group discussions are among the ways people were mobilised for the campaign, while pledges were made on paper forms, on the Internet, on stamped aerogrammes and on forms published in local newspapers.

Say Yes was launched on 26 April, at the closing ceremony of a five-day Child Rights Festival held in Lahore, by then President of Pakistan Muhammad Rafiq Tarar. Organized by a consortium of NGOs, the Festival gave some 5,000 children, parents and teachers an opportunity to get involved and learn more about children’s rights - where an estimated 3,000 children and adults used this chance to Say Yes. At a rally of the Pakistan Boy Scouts, more than 2,000 scouts and adults also said Yes.
Considering the low levels of access to the Internet, Say Yes in Pakistan was marked by innovative approaches to reach marginalized populations of people. Volunteer teams took pledge forms out to rural areas, while others led outreach to children in jails, orphan homes and those engaged in labour. The National Commission for Child Welfare and Development organized a dialogue on rights awareness among children from different schools. 20 children’s magazines published the Say Yes pledge forms. On 10 August, over 5,000 girls and boys participated in a walk in Karachi to demonstrate support for the Global Movement for Children and child rights, led by the wife of the Governor of Sindh province Mrs. Khadija Muhammadmian Soomro and internationally renowned social worker and artist Jimmy Engineer. At the end of the walk, thousands of children filled out Say Yes pledge forms and a collective prayer was held for the better future of Pakistani children.

Sri Lanka
From her official residence, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge officially launched the campaign on 25 June, by making a ceremonious pledge before a group of children who came from all 9 provinces of the country and from deprived communities. President Kumaratunge reiterated both her personal and her government’s commitments in upholding children’s rights.
Beginning with a unique partnership formed by three advertising giants who came together to design a communication campaign for Say Yes, people and organizations from all levels of society were mobilised around Say Yes for Children. The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement – the largest NGO in Sri Lanka and a partner in the Global Movement for Children – used their volunteer network of 7,000 strong to pledge publicly. Over 5,000 religious leaders also made public endorsements of Say Yes. Support from celebrities and notables included pledges from world-renowned filmmaker Dr. Lester James Peiris and award winning music personality Sangeeth Vizharath. Thousands of children and adults pledged at events including a Peace Camp for children in April and a National Science Exhibition. The media ran free coverage of the campaign and corporate sector agencies joined to spread the message and secure pledges. In a special outreach initiative carried out with the support of student representatives and teachers, school children in over 50 urban schools across Colombus rallied their fellow students and teachers around Say Yes, while initiating their own projects to actualize the points of the pledge. Their efforts included the provision of basic services, toilets, safe water and furniture topoor and needy schools and children in rural areas. Hundreds of school children were involved in tallying and entering the results of the campaign for Sri Lanka.

East Asia & Pacific

Cambodia (Kingdom of)
During a special prime time television broadcast before a potential 6 million viewers in both rural and urban areas, Prime Minister Hun Sen officially launched Say Yes on 26 April. Filling out the first pledge form, he emphasized the importance of the campaign and urged all Cambodians to follow his example.
In the last week of May, the Cambodia National Council for Children visited 24 provinces where they explained the campaign to governors and heads of provincial departments, briefed more than 3,000 teachers, and started a pledge outreach program that asked each child to get five adults in their neighbourhood to sign pledge forms. On 1 June, in provinces all over the Kingdom, more than 125,000 schoolchildren were mobilised in a massive one-day drive to collect those pledges. More than 500,000 pledges were collected that day. Also on 1 June, Prime Minister Sen joined 3,000 children on a march around the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh as part of the celebrations for International Children’s Day. In August, the campaign results were presented to the King, the National Assembly and the Senate in a letter from the Minister of Social Affairs.

Say Yes was formally launched in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on 28 April at a banquet in honor of visiting delegates of the World Trade Centers Association. Guests added their handprints, signatures and goodwill messages to an artistic Say Yes display. Attendants at the Fifth Ministerial Consultation for the region of East Asia and Pacific, titled “Shaping the Future for Children”, held between 14-16 May, were invited to sign on to a large Say Yes banner. Media coverage of the important meeting helped to bring the messages of Say Yes into homes across China. At a press conference on the eve of benefit concert for children on 1 June, top Chinese singers were among a host of personalities adding their handprints in paint to a Say Yes sheet. A leading Asian photographer used the occasion to create a series of studio portraits of the stars for a special Say Yes poster series.

Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, one of the innovative ways of spreading the message of Say Yes was through the publication of pledge forms in in-flight magazines. Pledge forms also went out to NGOs, government departments and schools.

Say Yes in Indonesia was co-ordinated by 7 UNICEF offices, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Police Department, several NGOs, students and others. Pledge forms were distributed and collected throughout the provinces by the coordinated efforts of NGOs, governmental organizations, Internet companies and young people., one of the largest website companies in Indonesia, gave free space to promote Say Yes and the GMC for two months.

In a targeted effort to help realize specific points of the pledge, Say Yes in Japan aimed to raise public support for the campaign as a springboard to urge the signature and ratification of two optional protocols of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Rome Statute. With support from the National Committee for UNICEF in Japan, over 1,000 Japanese children, members of the UNICEF Children’s Net, took the lead in designing the overall strategy, pledge form and campaign material. Nickelodeon Japan aired Say Yes appeals featuring members of the Children’s Net as well as Dr. Agnes Chan, Ambassador for UNICEF’s National Committee.

Korea (Democratic Republic of)
H.E. Choe Su Hun, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs officially launched Say Yes on 25 April, signing the first pledge form as a symbolic gesture of DPRK’s commitment to the welfare of children. President Kim II Sung called children the “kings of the land” and confirmed that investing in children now is the best way to secure a brighter future for the nation – even through difficult times in the country. The Minister emphasized the need to provide quality education to all Korean children by making the best use of available information technology. Later that evening, the international humanitarian and donor community representatives in the DPRK signed their support for Say Yes.
Say Yes was a part of the International Children’s Day celebrations, at “An Evening with and for Children”. Children talked about problems facing the world today and shared their views on solutions for the issues affecting children and young people. They all enthusiastically added their names and nationalities to a large Say Yes for Children banner.

Korea (South)
1,2000 students turned out for a walkathon to support Say Yes on 3 May. At the end of May, the Global Village Club distributed pledge forms to primary and secondary schools. On 6 July, a family pledging event was held at the Kensington Hotel in the Mt. Sorak resort area. Commemorating its 2nd anniversary, the Hotel hosted a special donation event where celebrities and their families pledged their support for Say Yes.

Lao People's Democratic Republic
The Minister of Information and Culture, the Vice President of the National Committee for Mothers and Children and the Vice Minister of Education launched .Say Yes on 26 April. The launch coincided with a national conference for 200 media, information and cultural officials from all 17 provinces, organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture. A children’s launch took place two days later in the National Cultural Hall, involving more than 300 children. Provincial launches began in June and continued through September. Each launch involved a training session and quiz on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and a presentation of the ten points of Say Yes by children.
The GMC and Say Yes were themes of the International Children’s Day concert and of a series of three concerts in September to support child rights. The concerts were designed to showcase UNICEF’s work with children through puppetry, song and drama.

As Mongolians celebrated their national Mother and Children’s Day on 1 June, they were also asked to Say Yes for Children at an official launch of the campaign. Among the high-profile attendants were Mongolia’s President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Parliament and the Chairman of the National Council for Children. After their official signatures, signing continued at several locations on the Sukhbaatar Square where members of the Mongolian Scouts Association were in charge of collecting signatures. During the launch, Mongolian pop star Ariunaa and child-rights advocate T. Ariunaa was named UNICEF Special Envoy for Children. A Say Yes for Children song she and other artists have composed hit number one on the Mongolian charts overnight.
Promotions and pledge drives were led by the Ministry of Education, the National Committee for Children, the Mongolian Chamber of Commerce, the Mongolian Scouts Association and national media. Numerous Mongolian leaders demonstrated support for Say Yes, including members of Parliament, Cabinet member and the Governors of all 21 provinces. Activities conducted nationwide in support of Say Yes and the GMC moved beyond the collection of pledges towards concrete action to realize children’s rights. In Uvurkhangai aimag, the local government issued a special resolution on promoting and supporting Say Yes. 12 million tugrug were allocated for the publication of a newspaper for children and the establishment of a school for talented children. Ulaanbaatar TV showed its support for Say Yes by launching a channel called UBS Child, dedicated exclusively to children and the matters concerning them. The “Child to Child” movement was launched under the umbrella of Say Yes and has been growing in scale and scope. Initiated by the Mongolian Child Rights Center, a children’s newspaper and the Mongolian Adolescents Association, the objective of the movement is to help adolescents in difficult circumstances. Nearly 4,000 children of four rural counties have been involved in the movement, helping children of poor families by providing them with basic supplies.

National and international NGOs as well as religious groups helped in the distribution and collection of pledge forms. A Global Movement for Children Fair – by all accounts the first of its kind in Myanmar – was held in Yangon, 21-23 September, organized by Save US and UK, World Vision, UNICEF Yangon and a local NGO. Several private sectors donated a range of products; the hosting Amusement Park waived the entrance fee during the Fair; several local celebrities lent assistance; 250 youth volunteers helped to manage events, and hundreds of disadvantaged children were brought in by World Vision and Save. The total number of visitors over the three days exceeded 88,000, the vast majority of them being children. At a follow-up workshop held on 21 October, children were given a chance to air their views and pledges for Say Yes were gathered.

Papua New Guinea
After weeks of preparation and build-up, the government of Papua New Guinea formally launched the Say Yes for Children campaign in the National Parliament House on 25 July. Several high-level attendants, NGO and private sector representatives, civil society and a large number of children from various primary and secondary schools joined First Lady Roslyn Morauta and two former Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea. At this vibrant, participatory event – broadcast live by the national TV station – the Honourable Speaker of the Parliament interpreted and paraphrased the 10 imperatives from a child’s perspective, with a poignant appeal: “I am your flesh and blood, say ‘yes’ to me. Love me in every way, do not discriminate against me, and count me in”. The Minister of Social Welfare and Development called Say Yes the “biggest and most challenging goal in the history of our country”. The campaign was marked by a series of special drives and initiatives with the Department of Education, the University of Papua New Guinea, the private sector and civil society in particular.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo welcomed the Say Yes for Children campaign to Philippines on 24 May from the Malacañang Palace Grounds, where she led government officials, NGO representatives, diplomatic corps, private sector representatives, media and children themselves in pledging. Nationwide promotion and pledging was made possible by the collective efforts and support of UNICEF Manila, government agencies and Ministries, NGOs, schools, the Girls and Boys Scouts, Internet Service Providers, media, business groups and religious communities. The pledge form was revised to include a description of the Philippines Child-Friendly Movement, as well as a checklist of specific actions for respondents interested in becoming more involved in the Global Movement for Children.

Following the launch of Say Yes on 27 April, the campaign was promoted and pledges collected through special collaborations with the private sector, and a key alliance with the Office of National Primary Education using a network of “Child Friendly Schools” in drives for pledges.

Viet Nam
UNICEF and the Young Pioneers Council launched Say Yes in Hanoi on 24 April. Some 200 street children and children from poor families in Gia Lam signed their Say Yes pledge forms. Say Yes pledge forms were distributed through the Committee on the Protection and Care of Children and the Youth Union to thousands of children in need of special protection across Viet Nam, including street children, disabled children, child labourers, and other out of school children. In a special initiative with the support of the Ministry of Education and Training, pledge forms were distributed at every school in time for National School Enrolment day on 5 September. Over 750,000 children let their voices be heard by pledging for Say Yes.

Highlights from the Pacific Islands

Cook Islands
Say Yes pledges were distributed at activities and events organized by the Women, Youth and Sports Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs along with the District Youth Councils. Cook Islands Television, radio and the Herald helped to promote the campaign.

Young people and others discussed the ten points of the campaign and Say Yes for Children at a one-day workshop organized by the Kiribati Catholic Youth Association.

Federated States of Micronesia
Peace Corps volunteers and young people worked together to promote the Global Movement, and over 2,000 pledge forms were distributed.

Fiji Islands
Pledge forms were distributed through the National Youth Congress of Fiji and the District andProvincial Youth Councils. Roving displays were set up in major tertiary institutions to promote the GMC. The group Youthemedia made a special musical performance on the ten points of the campaign at FM 96 Rock, the largest dance competition organized through Fiji schools.

Marshall Islands
Say Yes was promoted during the ‘Training of Trainers’ workshop organized by the National Youth Congress, followed by the distribution of pledge forms and campaign materials by participants through their youth organizations.

The Youth Department in Nauru distributed pledge forms throughout schools, and organized a forum with young people for broadcast.

The Niue National Youth Council hosted a cultural festival during which the Say Yes campaign was launched.

The Children’s National Coordinating Committee organized Say Yes pledge activities.

Solomon Islands
Say Yes forms were distributed in schools following the national launch on 27 August.

Support was rallied for Say Yes and the ten points of the campaign during ‘Whazzz Up?’, a segment of Tonga’s popular ‘Juice Music’ Programme.

The Ministry of Local Government, Women and Youth Unit ran a one-day workshop on the Global Movement for Children, while a door-to-door campaign gathered pledges.

Vanuatu’s Minister of Health officially launched Say Yes on 3 August. Say Yes tied in with the celebrations of National Children’s Day in Vanuatu, which centered activities on particular children’s rights.

Young people of the Seventh Day Adventist Mission organized a Rally to promote Say Yes in Apia. The Ministry of Youth, Sports & Cultural Affairs helped to distribute pledge forms to all districts in Apia.

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