Good Treatment Campaign, Latin America – Viva

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Context: Communities where violence against children is widespread

Objectives:

  • To raise awareness of the importance of protecting children and treating them well
  • To encourage adults to commit to ‘good treatment’ of children

 

Why this project?

In Viva’s Latin American network locations, violence against children had become normal and an everyday occurrence. The Good Treatment Campaign seeks to counter this reality, and at the same time to empower and equip children and young people themselves to be agents for change.

 

The project

Children are elected leaders or ambassadors for their projects in the networks. The Good Treatment Campaign has three important elements: children’s networks, a leadership programme, and public  campaigning.

The project focuses on preventing child abuse by holding annual child abuse awareness campaigns. The children themselves, led by the ambassadors, have organised and are key actors in carrying out the campaign. In many cases, children who have been abused themselves are raising awareness in public about the need to treat children with dignity.

In preparing for the implementation of the campaign, children are trained in techniques for establishing a ‘buen trato’ campaign in their area. The original training session is facilitated by an adult leader with assistance from other children and youth who in previous years have completed the training. Upon finishing the training programme, the ambassadors and other child leaders in turn train the children that they help to represent.

The child ambassadors and leaders are free to add their own creative touches to the training programme, which they call ‘replicas.’ In many cases the children will add games or other activities to the schedule. These additional activities are developed by the children in pre-training event meetings.

After all the children are trained, plans are made to launch the campaign in a public square. Children are the coordinators and leaders of the campaign. Adult leaders help with facilitating the event, but it is the children who are the active participants in symbolically ‘vaccinating’ adults against child abuse. Children divide themselves up into groups and, in the company of their guardians, stop people on the street to talk about the importance of treating children with respect and  dignity. Adults who are symbolically vaccinated fill out a card and are given a sweet in recognition of their commitment to care for children.

The advantage to having children lead both the training and implementation of the campaign is that they not only take ownership in the campaign, but they are ideally in the best place to teach adults about child abuse. Child participation in activities such as the ‘buen trato’ campaign, when guided by sensitive adult leaders, can foster healthy environments where children can grow and mature.

The Good Treatment Campaign is delivered in partnership with Viva.


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