Laying the ground for greater children’s participation in Cyprus
The Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children (PCCPWC) organised on 12th July 2018 a training seminar followed by a mini-conference to bring attention to the topic of children’s participation. The day was split into 2 sections: A morning of Workshops and an afternoon with decision makers and competent bodies explaining how they implement children’s participation and how they intend to promote it in the future.
Children’s participation is crucial for democracy as well as for the wellbeing and the development of children to responsible adults. In Cyprus, even though participation has been widely accepted as a “theme”, the host organisation PCCPWC noticed that professionals and especially people dealing with children in their everyday work have little knowledge of and do not really know how to support it. Training professionals, especially people with key posts in their work areas would potentially create a “pool” of people that can train others or, at least, encourage them to support child participation.
Training to make children’s participation a reality
Three workshops were held, targeting three clusters of people working with children directly: a) professionals in the education system (kindergarten, primary and secondary school Teachers), b) Social Services Officers, Social Workers and Social Work University Students and c) leaders of youth organisations and NGOs working for/with children. A group of 8 members of the Cyprus Children’s Parliament were trained to assist in delivering all workshops. The young representatives participated fully, offering their views and suggestions along with other participants.
A “mini-conference” was held following the training to bring together government officials to explain how they promote child participation. Representatives from the School education department, Ministries of Education and Culture, Labour, Social Insurance and Providence, as well as the Cypriot Parliamentarians participated in the discussions. The Commissioner for the Protection of Children’s Rights Ms Leda Koursoumba was present for these key discussions. The Cyprus Youth Organisation was also represented.
The training received support and participants requested continued training, to find practical ways of implementing child participation in their work. Almost all of the participants committed to participating in such a continuation and to join the next conference in November 2018 on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day.
This day was sponsored by Eurochild to encourage national discussions and debates on the promotion of children’s rights.