This involves supporting the government and main state institutions, such as the Legislative Assembly. We also assist with the collection of disaggregated data, including the updating of the situation analysis on children, and assisting with a study on multi-dimensional child poverty. Using this evidence, barriers and bottlenecks that hinder access to quality services are identified and are used to advocate and to leverage funds for child-friendly policies and budgets. UNICEF gives technical advice on how to address persistent inequalities, advising on legislative reform and developing child friendly policies, using costing and protection tools.
Children and adolescents exercise their right to participate in designing departmental public policies In Chuquisaca
By Delina Garsón
Children and adolescents from the 27 municipalities of Chuquisaca who were present at the Biennal.
As part of the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Departmental Secretariat for Social Development in the Autonomous Departmental Government of Chuquisaca organised the “First Biennial Congress on the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Chuquisaca: for the children and adolescents of Chuquisaca’s municipalities to live well”. The Congress was held in Sucre on 19 and 20 November 2015.
Children and adolescents from 27 municipalities travelled to Sucre to attend the Congress. They included representatives of children with disabilities, children living in public care, child workers, secondary school students, scouts groups, and the Yampara, Qhara Qhara and Guaraní indigenous peoples. They participated actively in the Congress to make their voices heard and make use of their right to participate, as enshrined in the Departmental Law on Public Policies for Children and Adolescents.
“We, the children of Chuquisaca, are present here to make our voices heard and ask the authorities to include us in meetings where decisions are taken about how funds are going to be invested in education, culture, health and sports. They shouldn’t be taking those decisions on their own. We too know what we want,” said 15-year-old Lía Castillo, a representative of the Qhara Qhara indigenous people from the Municipality of San Lucas.
The Congress was organised and convened by the Autonomous Departmental Government of Chuquisaca through its Social Development Secretariat and Social Management Directorate, in coordination with the Autonomous Municipal Government of Sucre, UNICEF, DIDEPEDIS, the Rights Observatory, SOS Children’s Villages, Plan International, BiblioWorks, CEADL and Realidades.
The main part of the event was the election of the Departmental Children and Adolescents’ Committee, whose members are 16 municipal representatives (four from each association of municipalities and two from the municipal committee in the city of Sucre), two representatives of children with disabilities, two representatives of child and adolescent workers, one representative each from children’s refuges and reintegration and orientation centres, and six representatives of indigenous peoples.
Responsibility for chairing the Committee now lies with 17-year-old Mario Pinto, who represents children and adolescents with disabilities, and the deputy chair is Celidet Avila from the Municipality of Camargo, part of the Cintis association of municipalities. They will be attending some of the sessions of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly and will participate actively in the decisions taken there from 2016 onwards.
Mario Pinto made a commitment to chair the Committee with dedication and said that especially, because he is a blind person, “I want to combat the discrimination we suffer as people with disabilities. I’d like the schools to teach everyone, so that we aren’t treated as less important because of our disability. We want to be included.”
Lía Castillo, a representative of the Qhara Qhara indigenous people, “I am here because we want the authorities to hear about our opinions and needs.”
At the end of the Congress the participants provided inputs for the participatory development of departmental policies and the departmental plan for children and adolescents. They presented proposals for the regulations governing the departmental law and plan for children and adolescents, and made suggestions for the structural foundations of the protection subsystems, which concern information, legal protection, judicial protection, and social protection, protection by civil society organisations and criminal law for adolescents.
Chuquisaca takes the lead in public policy for children and adolescents
The Department of Chuquisaca is the first in Bolivia to pass a Departmental Law on Public Policies for Children and Adolescents, making use of the powers conferred upon it by the Children and Adolescents Code which was enacted on 17 July 2014. According to Ivana Calle, Programme Specialist and Coordinator of the Potosí, Chuquisaca and Oruro Regional Office, the passing of this departmental law was actively promoted by UNICEF, civil society groups and NGOs working on child protection: “It establishes as a fundamental principle that the process of defining public policies must include widespread and active participation by children and adolescents, public and private sector institutions and civil society,” she explains.