ARC launches Child Participation Strategy in partnership with UNICEF Maldives


Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) has today launched a Child Participation Strategy, which seeks to establish a culture that values children’s input and a society that understands and accepts the importance of children expressing their views, influencing decision making and achieving change in areas affecting their lives. The Strategy was launched by Mr. Ahmed Shafeeu, Minister of State for Education at a ceremony held at the Villa College hall this morning.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Ms Zenysha Zaki, Executive Director of ARC expressed the importance of mainstreaming child participation and implementing such a strategy in a sustainable manner. ARC hopes that the strategy will help to develop mechanisms to ensure that key systems and processes reflect children’s input and perspectives. ARC also believes that the strategy will enable to strengthen children’s social responsibility, and develop their social, communication and civic skills. Mr. Ahmed Shafeeu, State Minister for Education highlighted the importance of adults creating platforms to interact and engage with children and respecting views on matters that concern them. UNICEF Maldives also noted that the strategy and action plan is an important first step to mainstream child participation into planning and programmes.

Child Participation is one of the core principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which asserts that children should be provided with appropriate information and a safe and inclusive space to express their views; ensure that children’s views are communicated to someone with the responsibility to listen and that their views are taken seriously and acted upon where appropriate.

The Child Participation Project also includes a radio show, “Kudhinge Adu,” which is the first pilot platform for child participation under the Child Participation Strategy of Maldives. The show was produced and presented by student volunteers from Grade 11 of Ahmadhiyya International School, Villa International High School and Centre for Higher Secondary Education.

The Strategy was developed as part of the Child Participation Project under the Programme Cooperation Agreement between ARC and UNICEF Maldives this year. In formulating the strategy, consultations were held with relevant government institutions, selected schools, parents, teachers, media, NGOs, UN agencies and other development partners as well as children. In addition to Male’, consultations were also held in five islands – H.Dh. Kulhudhuffushi, H.Dh. Hanimaadhoo, L. Fonadhoo, L. Hithadhoo and Gn. Fuvahmulah.

ARC takes this opportunity to express sincere appreciation to UNICEF Maldives for its support in promoting child participation in the Maldives. ARC also appreciates the participation by Ahmadhiyya International School, Villa International High School and Centre for Higher Secondary Education.