July 2010

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EDUCATION: CCDC’S Child Rights Project

By Heather Gallimore, Course coordinator

The Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC) of the Consortium for Social Development and Research at The University of the West Indies Open Campus, has recently developed and delivered the pilot multidisciplinary Child Rights & Responsibilities Course. This specially-designed course is for professionals working with or on behalf of children.

The 21-year-old United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) includes binding obligations which need to be understood by those who bear responsibility for children. As well, children need to understand their rights, and the numerous responsibilities of both children and adults associated with each entitlement. The cultivation of positive behaviours, values and attitudes in our youngest citizens begins with respecting each child’s rights, throughout childhood (birth to 18 years). Children’s rights, and associated responsibilities, therefore, must be clearly understood by civil society if they are to be respected and upheld.

Implementation of the CRC requires the provision of education, training and awareness-raising to engage all sectors of society, including children themselves. This process of capacity-building requires focus at the individual, organisational and societal levels. In the absence of sustained and continuous capacity-building opportunities, the CCDC has embarked on a child rights education project with funding from UNICEF. This project will place heavy emphasis on competence-building and organisational development.

During the 2009 first phase of the CCDC’s child rights education project, training was provided to 42 professionals, including social workers, medical social workers, police officers, community development officers, case managers, children’s officers and managers of Jamaica’s Child Development Agency (CDA). Phase Two of the project will run until 2011 and will provide training to an additional 20 police officers from the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse and Police Academy (CISOCA), 20 juvenile corrections personnel (including officers, teachers, case managers and trainers), and 20 Ministry of Education guidance officers and deans of discipline who will participate in a new Training of Child Rights Trainers Course (TOT). Phase Two also includes an impact assessment of this new course on learners and their institutions.

The 40-hour Child Rights and Responsibilities Course goes beyond sensitising learners to the rights of the child. It also presents critical knowledge, tools and techniques to course participants who are required to effectively uphold and advocate child rights.

The CCDC plans to eventually offer a Child Rights Programme, with different courses and activities, for professionals, UWI students and paraprofessionals.

For further information, please contact Heather Gallimore, Child Rights Associate, at:

Caribbean Child Development Centre
Consortium for Social Development and Research
The University of the West Indies, Open Campus (Jamaica)

Telephone: (876) 970-0413; (876) 970-0413; (876) 927-1618
Fax: (876) 977-7433.
Email: heather.gallimore@open.uwi.edu
Website: www.open.uwi.edu/ccdc