Connecting local responses around the world
Commissions of the Rights Commission agree that there were cross-cutting responsibilities. In this regard the Rights of the Child Commission and the Indigenous People’s Commission have agreed to conduct an outreach for adolescents within the Moruca, region 1 sub-district with the Overall objective:
“To contribute to empowering 40 children of communities understanding human rights and ascertain their vision for themselves into the future, inclusive of concerns and hopes of this category of youths in the Moruca sub-district.”
Moruca has a population of approximately 15, 000 and the secondary school has a population 840. While the issues between the IPC and RCC are cross cutting, are there differences between concerns of adults and children and are there differences between the coastland and hinterland children? The exercise was held at the Kumaka Extension centre on the 7-8 November 2012 with 40 children adults representing 13 villages within the sub-district.
Over the two days children presented their concerns as young adults and described their vision for an enabling environment for young adults to mature into adulthood having access to the right opportunities to make choices for themselves. The young adults were also engaged in an awareness session about human rights focusing on rights of the child. From this exercise they answered three questions:  what have you learned from the awareness sessions?  How can young adults benefit from the information provided? And  What recommendations do you have with respect to the learning experience?
1. What Worked!
The official welcome and remarks from Regional Officials and Commissions stimulated the thinking process of the participants by their welcoming statements;
a. “An important aspect of Rights is that with it comes responsibility as well. Children have rights to have an education but with that right is the responsibility to take in learning so that you can benefit from the right to education.” Said District Education Officer (DEO), Nigel Richards
b. “You are at an important stage of your life. You are not yet an adult and you are not a child, so life for you is complex. You are experiencing lots of emotional feelings and thoughts. This is an important experience for you helping you to be aware of and understand your rights. I encourage you to pay keen attention to everything that will take place and ask questions, it will be to your benefit.” Remarked the Assistant Regional Executive Officer (AREO), Cassandra Rodrigues
2. ‘Hopes and concerns’
Children generally have concerns and one of the specific rights of the children is the right to speak. The participants of this exercise were encouraged to express one concern and one hope from their heart on a paper-shaped heart as representing the figurative heart.
Hopes and concerns expressed by adolescents
Why are we living with discrimination?
I’m concern about cool drop outs.
I’m concern about peer pressure in the environment.
I’m concern about my school work, not enough teachers.
I’m very concern about Child Abuse & my upcoming CXC exams
My concern is about the young girls in my village, because some of them are becoming teenage mothers.
I am concern about the young people in my community, because some of them are engaging in drugs, drinking, alcohol, smoking, teenage pregnancy and we need them to stop and to be engage in some activities that can be useful to them in the future.
My concern is about the homeless, parentless children (orphans) that are out in the world today.
One of my concerns is that there are youths without anyone to care for them & teenage pregnancy.
My concern is the education system.
My concern is what will happen to these teenage mothers in the future?
I’m so concern about peer pressure, why is there so much peer pressure?
I hope that school dropout would stop and teenagers take their education seriously.
School dropouts I’m concern about.
I’m concern about families - with child abuse, rape, school dropouts & AIDS
One concern I have is Child Labor with families in Santa Rosa, some children in this village need help because they have to work in order to get things for themselves and their parents aren’t helping them at all.
Why people have to discriminate against others?
I’m concern about pollution in my community.
Why are the men raping the girls and sometimes little children?
I am concern about child abuse in my community.
My concern is about human trafficking.
Why are people in my community unemployed?
Who do men rape young teenage girls, why is it occurring so much?
I’m concern about my education.
I’m concern about teenage pregnancy.
I’m concern mostly about single parents in my village.
My concern is about teenage pregnancy and why it isn’t stopping.
Why are children being pressured to do lots or work at home and in school?
My concern is why men rape women and children & human trafficking.
My concern is why there is so much child abuse, we all have rights.
I’m very concern about child abuse in the village.
I’m mostly concern about school dropouts in my school.
I’m hoping for all kinds of violence to end.
Some of the major concerns expressed related to abuse (sexual, rape, teenage pregnancy, single parents, peer pressure) school drop outs, need for improved education, unemployment.
3. Envision. Participants were encouraged to individually describe a future situation where adolescents were freely capable of realizing their full potential into adulthood.
In six groups of five members, each person discussed their individual dream and these were merged into a group dream. Each group presented their group dream:
After the presentations, the similarities and important elements were summarized into a common vision which included: An improved enabling environment inclusive of health, education, infrastructure, communication (expand telecommunication, air and boat services), recreation, socio-cultural heritage (museum and aquatic pool), reinvigorated farming and commerce with banks, religion tolerance focus on the environment and mitigation of social threats.