19 Days Activism on Prevention of Abuse and Violence against Children and Youth

CPD joined hands with Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF) to expand the international campaign “19 Days Activism on Prevention of Abuse and Violence against and Children and Youth” to Afghanistan. Campaign has been organized since 2012 voluntarily; it means it was not a donor-funded activity, but a process to promote voluntarism for achieving campaigns objectives. Campaign is aimed to bring a social change in terms of protection of the rights of youth and children and prevention of youth and children from abuse and violence.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

Overall objective: To contribute in elimination of abuse and violence against children and youth in Afghanistan
Specific objective 1: To raise awareness of communities (elders and youth including women) on the rights of children and youth through organizing awareness sessions, social media, sports and artistic contests
Specific objective 2: To sensitize communities on protection of the rights of children and youth and preventing them from all forms of abuse and violence through public awareness raising campaigns;
Specific objective 3: To place pressure on policy makers to take measures on prevention of abuse and violence against children and youth through advocacy actions;

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

1. Awareness raising:
1.1 We have organized awareness raising session at schools for teachers and students.
1.2 We have developed awareness raising messages that were disseminated through social media, website and physical activities like sports and sessions.
1.3 We used radio and TV talk-shows to introduce the campaign and propagate the messages.
2. Mobilizing and organizing:
2.1 We have formed youth groups at schools and enabled them to fight for their rights.
2.2 We have networked with same-minded organizations and networks nationally and globally to achieve wider impacts from our interventions.
3. Advocacy:
3.1 We have sent letter to Afghan parliament and other stakeholders to take actions in favor of Afghan youth and children.
3.2 We have organized press conferences and developed / issued resolutions and statements to highlight problems Afghan youth and children face and provided key recommendations for betterment of the situation.

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

Afghan society is a conservative and patriarchal one and in many cases, misleading behaviors led to poor awareness of communities on human rights in general the rights of children, youth and women in specific. Raising voice in such a society for protection of rights and prevention of abuse and violence especially of girls and women needs to break the social barriers and sensitize communities before any start of any intervention. CPD brought the concept of bringing a social change in such a society through a mixed platform of e-campaigns and organizing events. Now, many organizations use this intervention to achieve their social change objectives leading to the cause they work for.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

1. Through our campaigns, thousands of people got awareness on the rights of youth and children from Islamic / Sharia, Civic and Criminal codes and international conventions perspectives.
2. By issuing campaign’s statements and resolutions and holding press conferences, we pressurize relevant government authorities to consider the issue as a main priority and step forward towards betterment of the Afghan youth and children’s situation.
3. International organizer (WWSF) worth our endeavors and considered the CPD as a laureate organization of 2014 for its innovative campaign in 2013. Award included a certificate, promotion of our campaign internationally and a cash prize of $US 1,000.

CHALLENGES FACED

1. Poor awareness of community members;
2. Working in a patriarchal and male-dominated society;
3. Funding constrains;
4. No incentives for attendees of programs (in some cases);
5. Sensitivity of the issue especially when it comes to girls and women rights (forced / early marriage, right to education and work, right to inheritance and etc.)

LESSONS LEARNT

1. Launch and implementation of an activism is possible leaning to volunteer potential, but for sustainability and achieving wider impacts, securing resources are of crucial importance.
2. Intervening in a conservative society, organizations need to carefully step forward for bringing a social change in perception and behavior of communities and in consideration to the values they respect.