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Child Rights workshop at MIC

30/01/2012: Kenya

From 12th to 16th December, a group of 32 Marist Brothers at the Marist International Centre – MIC (Nairobi, Kenya) attended a 5-day workshop by Br Jim Jolley on behalf of FMSI.  Attending the course were Brothers in their second year at the MIC, representing 12 African countries. The Brothers had just finished their semester exams on the previous Friday but were attentive and keen to learn about children’s rights and how to be advocates for children in their own countries.

The program offered a broad outline of the workings of the United Nations and its mechanisms that promote and protect the Rights of Children.  It examined in depth the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a mechanism of the Human Rights Council, as well as giving a brief overview of the 9 core treaties of the UN.  The participants considered what ‘advocacy’ is and how it can be done locally, nationally and internationally.  The Brothers were given an opportunity to write a brief submission on a human rights issue in their own country and were shown how they can work closely with FMSI to bring their issue to the attention of the UN.  In the last two days the course provided an opportunity for the Brothers to look at ways in which they can use their knowledge about children’s rights in the school situation, being attentive in particular to articles 3 and 12 of the CRC. 

Feedback on the workshop reflect satisfaction with what was offered:

·         “It has widened our knowledge and understanding concerning the rights of the children”.
·         “The workshop has helped us to understand and appreciate the work of the institute, especially through FMSI.”
·         “It has created awareness on organizations that promote human rights in our respective countries.”
·         “The issue of children’s rights has created an opportunity for the Marist Brothers to be in direct contact with various organizations, including Government, in various countries that share the same vision of safeguarding and promoting the rights of children.”

Were our expectations met?

·         We are happy to have participated in the workshop and it is our desire to put into practice the acquired knowledge for the benefit of children.
·         With the knowledge at hand we will be able to create awareness to those who are ignorant of the rights of children e.g. writing articles, conducting talks, etc.
·         We know we can be in touch with FMSI for assistance in the future.

The intention is to hold a similar course each year for the ‘Second Years’ at MIC as part of their formation program.

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