Issuu on Google+

Romania Report from the Speak to the World consultation with children and young people Contents Section 1: Introduction page 1 Section 2: Key findings page 3 Section 3: Understanding page 4 Section 4: Desire to be involved page 4

Section 5: Experiences of participation page 6 Section 6: The best international participation process page 7 Section 7: Evaluation page 8

Section 1: Introduction Save the Children is the world’s largest independent organisation for children. Salvati Copiii (Save the Children Romania) is part of the International Save the Children Alliance, made up of national organisations working together to improve children’s lives in over 120 countries. Salvati Copiii was responsible for creating the opportunity for children and young people from the Republic of Moldova to take part in the Speak to the World consultation event, with its associate partner from the Republic of Moldava, the Children’s Rights Information Centre (CRIC). The consultation event was part of the European Commission funded project ‘Children’s views on engaging in European and international decision-making’, exploring children and young people’s views and experiences of their involvement in European and international decisionmaking. This project was coordinated by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) and was carried out with partners in Austria, Estonia, Ireland and Romania and associate partners in the Republic of Moldova and Russia. The project comprised several elements, including a survey of European non-governmental organisations (NGOs), a literature review and consultation events with children and young people in partner countries.

‘Children have something to say and can change the world for the better.’ (Girl, 11 years)

With financial support from the EU’s Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme

Children’s views on engaging in European and international decision-making


Romania

This is a report on the consultation event in Romania. Separate reports have been published on the consultation events held in the four other partner countries. The findings and recommendations from the country consultation events have been incorporated into the main project report, Speak to the World: Children’s views on engaging in European and international decision-making. In Romania, the consultation event took place at Euro Hotels International, http://www.euro-hotels.ro/ conferinte.php?but=6, in November 2010 and was organized by Save the Children Romania in partnership with the Child Rights Information Centre, Moldova. There were 95 children and young people from Romania and 19 from Moldova participating and sharing their views, experiences and preferences for involvement in European and international decision-making processes. A total of 114 children and young people participated in the event. Of these, 19 were from the Republic of Moldova. Gender

There were 74 female and 40 male participants. Age

The youngest participant was aged 10 and the oldest was aged 18. There were 40 aged between 10 and 13; 52 aged between 14 and 16; 20 were aged 17; and two were aged 18. Ethnicity

The participants comprised 88 Romanians, 19 Moldovans, 4 Roma, 2 Arabian and 1 Chinese.

Written by Adina Clapa from Salvati Copiii.

Page 2

The event began with several presentations about the importance of child participation and European and international institutions. Also, a child from Moldova and one from Romania shared their experiences of participation in European level decision-making processes. Children and young people were divided into four groups to work more efficiently. Each group was moderated by two experienced children, trained in advance and monitored by a specialist worker from Save the Children. In each working group, there were about 28 children and young people who were encouraged to share their opinions. The children and young people proved to be very open and communicated well. This was due, in particular, to moderators being of the same age group – peer moderators. At the beginning of the day, there were some games to allow participants to get to know each other and “break the ice”. There then followed a discussion about children’s rights and responsibilities, what these are and whether they are respected. Children and young people were invited to define their understanding of the right to participate and express opinions and to share their experiences. Children and young people talked about the benefits that participation brings. Working in small groups, they were presented with information about the methods of participation at a national level through, for example, pupils’ councils, local youth councils and NGOs. Each participant had the opportunity to share their own experiences. In the second session of the event, children and young people discussed more specifically children’s participation in decision making processes at the European and international levels. Participants were divided into several groups and had 20 minutes to prepare a presentation for a European or international institution (based on presentations from the information


Report from the Speak to the World consultation with children and young people

guide provided by CRAE), which they then presented. A number of groups chose to explain the role of the institutions through drawings. This was a very efficient method because it allowed the involvement of all children and young people and they found out new information in a fun way. In turn, all of the following topics were discussed: • The desire to be involved in international and European decision making processes • Participants’ experiences of participation • The best international participation processes.

The peer moderators and the adult specialists posed questions for the children and young people to respond to individually. Children and young people with experience of participation in decision making at European and international level shared with the group how they were involved and what had been their impressions. The session was recorded by note takers. Moderators had the role of maintaining the expressive mood of the children, so the discussions were spiced with energizing and group bonding games. At the end of the event, the participants completed a questionnaire with closed and open questions covering the same topics that had been discussed. The results were later compiled and analysed by Save the Children Romania.

Section 2: Key findings The children and young people were aware of the European and international institutions, especially from the information they had received at school and on television. Over 90% of the children and young people who attended the consultation event had not participated in international decision-making processes and had no contact with decision making processes at European or international level. However, 97% of the children and young people said that they wanted to participate in decision-making processes and they wanted to find out about these from campaigns carried out in school or through the Internet. Children and young people who had experience in participating in decision-making processes said it was a rewarding experience and would repeat it anytime. Approximately 64% of participants believed that some children and young people are more likely to participate in decision making process than others. Those more likely to participate were children and young people from developed countries, children from wealthy families and those with better results at school.

Page 3


Romania

Section 3: Understanding of European and international decision-making Most of the children and young people had information about European and international institutions but not on decision-making processes. Asked if they had heard of, or knew of, these institutions, participants replied in the affirmative on: • The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child • The European Union • The European Parliament • The European Commission • The Council of Europe • The European Court of Human Rights.

On the other hand, they had no information about: • UN Special Sessions of General Discussion • G8 and G20.

Less than 10% knew about different ways that children and young people can have their say on their rights and influence decision-making in Europe and at the United Nations. How do children find out about international decision-making processes? Of those who had knowledge of the decision-making processes at European and international level, the majority said they found out from school and NGOs. What do children think are the best ways to find out about international decision-making processes? I think teachers should inform us about these decision-making processes. But because this thing doesn’t happen, a lot of us don’t know how we can get involved. (Girl, 14 years) Children and young people want to find out about international decision-making processes in environments which they attend most often: the school, the classmeetings and information campaigns conducted by NGOs. Most children believed that the Internet is the best way to find information independently on international decision-making processes.

Page 4

Section 4: Desire to be involved in European and international decision-making processes Do children think that they should be involved in European and international decision-making? 97% of the consulted children and young people considered that they should be involved in the decisionmaking process, justifying the importance of child participation in issues that concern them directly. They thought that they should be involved in decision-making processes both at the European and international level, believing that this would be a way to bring children and young people’s problems to attention and identify the things they want to change. Do children want to take part in European and international decision-making processes? If so, why? If not, why not? All of the participants said that they wanted to take part in European and international decision-making processes. Most children and young people said that they should be involved in these processes because they are the future and decisions that adults are taking now will directly affect them. I think we all should take part in international and European processes because we are the first affected by decisions taken in the international level. (Girl, 16 years) Children know best the situation about their rights and can provide concrete information at international level. Children understand best when their rights are violated. (Boy, 14 years) Children’s view is especially important when related to their life and their good. (Girl, 13 years) Children have the right to express their opinion on all aspects of their lives. (Boy, 15 years) Are there particular European and international processes which children would like to participate in? The children and young people did not identify a specific decision-making process or institution they would like to participate in or with. However, most said that they would like to be involved in all processes that refer to children and their rights. Some of them listed themes that they would wish to be consulted on, including discrimination, justice, health, education and community services.


Report from the Speak to the World consultation with children and young people

What are the benefits of involving children in European and international decision-making? Most participants indicated that their involvement could contribute to an improved lifestyle for children and ensure respect of their rights. Children and young people from both Romania and the Republic of Moldova said that the benefits of involving children in decisionmaking would be stopping conflicts and violence, a touch of originality and good ideas. By participating, children develop their skills, build competencies and gain self-confidence. (Boy, 15 years) Through participation in decision making processes, children have opportunities to express themselves, to experience the respect for their own views and to learn to respect the views of others. (Girl, 17 years) We have a lot of experience and knowledge about our situation and this makes us better judges than the adults of the services that impact us. (Girl, 16 years) Children would learn that they can also get involved, would see that they can also be heard. (Girl, 14 years) Decisions affecting us directly should be properly taken, taking into account our views and needs. (Boy, 16 years) Children’s views will be known, heard and put into practice. (Boy, 13 years) It’s an opportunity for us to gain experience, to have more confidence in our power. (Girl, 15 years) I think the situation of children could be improved if we get involved in international and European decision-making. (Girl, 16 years)

Page 5


Romania

Section 5: Experiences of participation Have children taken part in European and international processes? If so, what have they participated in? Regarding the participation experience, most of the children and young people said that they did not take part in European and international decision-making processes. One girl (aged 17) from the Republic of Moldova had been to Geneva to present the report of children on child rights in Moldova to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Another girl (aged 18) from Romania participated in the European Parliament Joint Hearing in Brussels. On that occasion, the European Parliament was presented with the results of a children’s consultation regarding the European strategy for children’s rights. Two children represented Romania in Brussels on the launch event of the Campaign Against Violence, held at the European level by Euronet Network. The enthusiasm that the event brought to me is still in me. The fact that we have been heard in the European Parliament is one of the greatest achievements. I was very impressed by the interest that was given to us. We communicated with important people at the event from all over Europe, eager to share ideas with us. I attended the launch of the campaign against corporal violence in the European Parliament. Our role was to present the experience and findings of children regarding the elimination of violence. (Girl, 16 years) How did they take part? Many children and young people had participated in person at meetings, but also through NGOs. A very small number of children said they had participated through the Internet in consultations/polls coordinated by the European Commission. Was this a positive or negative experience? For all children and young people who had participated in decision-making processes, the experience was positive and pleasant. Did children think that they had influenced the process and the decisions made? Participants with experience of involvement thought that they had exerted a positive influence on the decisions made. At the European Parliament we have been taken into account more than adults, just because we were more truthfully, directly involved, while adults presented reports in a superficial way. (Girl, 17 years) Page 6


Report from the Speak to the World consultation with children and young people

Are some children more likely than others to engage in European and international decision-making processes? If so, which children? Why do children think this is? 65% of the children and young people said that some are more likely than others to participate. Most of that 65% considered that the children who were more likely to participate were from privileged backgrounds, those who come from families with a good financial situation, those who live in cities or countries that are more developed, and children and young people with better school results. They also believed that there was little chance of involvement for Roma children and those from rural areas. Participants from the Republic of Moldova especially said that children and young people whose parents have a high financial status, or are part of European political structures, are more likely to be involved in decisionmaking processes. I think first of all information matters, finding out, so I can get involved, but it is important also to have support from others, teachers, parents. (Boy, 14 years)

Section 6: The best international participation processes If children were in charge of engaging children in European and international decision-making, how would they do this? What would the participation process look like? Most of the participants said that they would use the Internet and school to provide information for children and young people to participate in decision-making processes and would involve as many as possible. A round table with children and authorities who speak as peers. (Boy, 14 years) As a forum, in a meeting, with the elected representatives of children and young people in each country going to European and international institutions. (Girl, 16 years) The Internet is the easiest way for children to participate, perhaps through a poll. (Boy, 16 years)

I think that children in developed countries are more likely to express their opinion in European and international meetings than those in Romania and Moldova because the country’s reputation and politics can help them. (Boy, 16 years) What prevented children from engaging in European and international decision-making processes? What do children think could be done to overcome these barriers? Most children and young people said that lack of information of what is happening at European or international level had prevented them from engaging in decision-making processes. Some said that they were previously not informed that they could take part in such processes. Some European institutions were unknown to them. Participants felt that their opinions are not taken into account because of their age, and therefore they feel wronged. They want to be involved in decision-making processes at national, European and international level, but they have not had faith that even if they expressed their opinions, they would be listened to and applied. I think that the barrier is the lack of support from adults and being afraid of not getting my opinions accepted. (Girl, 15 years) I want the ways that I can express opinions and participate in external consultation to be better promoted. (Boy, 13 years)

Page 7


Romania

Section 7: Evaluation The children and young people found the event interesting. They also said that it was useful, new and had allowed them to learn about their participation rights in decision-making processes. They had been able to express their views and they had listened to others’ opinions. It was beneficial having young people involved as moderators of discussion groups, because participants were then more open. Because the discussion alternated with games, the children and young people felt at ease and there were no communication barriers.

I especially enjoyed this event because it helped me to change my opinion about the importance of children’s say at the national, European and international levels. Now I know that we are taken into account. (Boy, 14 years) Yes, of course! That’s why I have come here, to tell my view about being involved in decision-making at European and international levels. (Girl, 16 years) To me it seemed very inspired this idea to organize this event, because it helped us learn to say our views to others.

The theme was a real challenge because very few of the children and young people had previous experience of participation or information about decision-making processes on a European or international level. But based on the guide submitted by CRAE, they have received all necessary basic information. All of the children and young people were very eager to participate in such consultations not only at national, but also at European and international level. For the participants from the Republic of Moldova, the event was a very positive experience. They said that it was very enjoyable as, for many of them, this was the first time outside their own country and they had met children and young people with a different culture. I felt good but at the same time I learned about children’s rights and opportunities to participate in decision-making at European and international levels. It was educational, informative and fun. (Girl, 15 years) Yes, I expressed my opinions in the debates on children’s involvement in decision-making at national, European and international levels. Here, I really felt that my views were heard, supported and appreciated. (Boy, 13 years)

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Human Rights

2011

94 White Lion Street, London UK , N1 9PF

4 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

Freyung 6/2, A-1010 Vienna, Austria

Endla Street 6 – 18, 10142 Tallinn, Estonia

http://www.crae.org.uk

www.childrensrights.ie

bim.lbg.ac.at/en

www.lastekaitseliit.ee

With financial support from the EU’s Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme

Design and print: www.graphicimpressions.co.uk

3 Intrarea Stefan Furtuna Str, District 1, Bucharest www.salvaticopiii.ro


/Speak%20to%20the%20World%20Romania%20final