" There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace. "

kofi Annan

One of the most valuable resources of any community is its children as it is through the children that the continuity of the community is ensured. In order to develop a healthy and well functioning community it is therefore necessary to ensure that its children develop successfully in a healthy and productive environment and that they receive their basic rights of adequate love, care, education and protection throughout the process. At present however, the violation of child rights has emerged as a burning issue worldwide with millions of children suffering the consequences of poverty, malnutrition, and the lack of education, as well as falling victim to physical, psychological, and sexual abuse and child labour. Sri Lanka is no exception to these conditions and the protection of child rights has become a key area of concern today. We at FISD base our Child Rights Protection and Promotion (CRPP) programme on the ideology that the protection of child rights cannot be taken in isolation but that while protecting child rights, it is necessary to promote them as well. Our programme integrates these two concepts taking into account other contributory factors such as Gender sensitivity, Alcohol and drug prevention, and the economic empowerment of the family, to build a holistic approach to the problem of child rights violations. A well planned strategy is employed in working towards the set goals which are also integrated in to the Gender and Development and Alcohol and Drug prevention programmes which are currently functioning parallel to the Child Rights Protection and promotion programme. It is expected that in doing so, it would become possible to achieve more complete and sustainable results. The programme is designed in a manner that enables children to play a major role towards contributing to their own development through child clubs which will ultimately contribute to the protection and promotion of their rights. On one hand, we advocate for Policy changes with the trickling down effect where the child would be guaranteed of benefit at community level. On the other hand, we empower the community, including children, to protect and promote children’s rights where children and the community would be strong enough to voice out for the fulfillment of rights. This mechanism is expected to narrow the gap between policy and practice. In implementing our programmes, we believe that setting in proper attitudes and behavior will create a community able to work for the healthy development of children ensuring that their rights are not only protected but also respected.

The mobilization of civil society groups towards advocating for and working to promote child rights is another aspect of the programme. The civil society group plays the role on the one hand, acting as the guardian for all child related activities and issues in the community and on the other advocating for and contributing to the implementation of child development and protection measures. Community activity is accomplished through the capacitating of the civil society to become professionally qualified to work towards restoring child rights and children are empowered to stand for the promotion and protection of their own rights through a series of well planned, tried and tested activities, extending far beyond the activities usually introduced in child clubs. 

The activity guide used in the child clubs includes step by step grooming for the empowerment of children, enabling them to stand up for the protection and promotion of their rights and developing the necessary leadership skills. Targeting children within the age groups of 6 – 11 years, 12- 15 years and 16 – 18 years, this guidebook contains activities to suit the physical and mental capacities of children at various levels. Today, we are already gaining recognition amongst government and nongovernmental organizations for our effective child club activities.

The Child Rights Protection and Promotion (CRPP) Programme

We also possess the professional knowledge and capacity in handling early childhood care and development, child development, and child rights protection and promotion and have been in the field for over 10 years. We are currently working directly through the civil society which has been capacitated in all related subject areas. It also should be mentioned that FISD’s ground knowledge in the selected locations and the availability of resources to gather information, where necessary, would contribute to the effective function of the programme. Finally, as unlike many other organizations prevalent in the working areas, we do not handle child protection issues in isolation, but take a more holistic approach, we expect that our CRPP programme be effective in creating healthy and sustainable living conditions for children.