On May 10th, the research team of the projetct “Participation and youth protagonism in Brazil: a study in the South Fluminense region of Rio de Janeiro” in partnership with the South Fluminense in Action Youth Forum and Casa da Criança (Children´s House), organized at the Municipal School Rubens Machado (located in the city of Volta Redonda) activities aimed at listening, informing and strengthening social participation of children, adolescents and young people. It was the first in a series of seven planned activities.
The activity was conceived entirely by the young people involved in the project, including its design and methodology according to the age group of participants, as well as all arrangements with the school administration. Two main activities were carried out. The first was a hand drawing that allowed participants to write and discuss what they would change in their school, neighborhood, city and country. They were also able to address their relationship with their own bodies through a methodology called ludic traffic lights. At the request of the school board in addition to discussing rights and spaces to be occupied by children and adolescents, the activity was carried out on the National Day Against Abuse and Sexual Exploitation celebrated on May 18th.
The activity involved more than 290 participants from eight different grades. During guided dynamics, based on respect for different forms of student participation, a variety of issues emerged such as: excessive amount of garbage in the neighborhood; broken doors and windows at the school that reduce safety; and violent and sudden approaches of the police in relation to teenagers. There were also sensitive topics such as domestic violence and unauthosirized touching by classmates. These topics were addressed with the support of school educators and from the staff of the local Municipal Children´s Rights Council. In these cases, it is essential to have an experienced team capable of offering adequate support to participants.
By the end of the activity the consensus was that the material produced by the children and adolescents should be displayed on the walls of the institution so that other members of the student body could access it. Based on school educators´ propositions and the students' own initiatives the idea was also to encourage ongoing discussions of important topics.
The project “Participation and youth protagonism in Brazil: a study in the South Fluminense region of Rio de Janeiro” is a partnership between the Toronto Metropolitan University (Canada) and CIESPI/PUC-Rio (Brazil). It aims to analyze intergenerational relationships and practices that can contribute to formulate proposals that allow the demands of children and young people to reach the State, and be transformed into public policies and laws in accordance to their needs. Through the“International and Canadian Partnership on the Rights of the Child” (ICCRP), internationally coordinated by Professor Tara Collins (Toronto Metropolitan University) and, in Brazil, by Professor Irene Rizzini (PUC-Rio/CIESPI), other initiatives have been developed in the South Fluminense region. Young people involved in the project are in direct contact with the Municipal Children´s Rights Councils in the cities of Barra Mansa and Barra do Piraí, and have already held a first meeting with delegates from the Municipal Conference on the Rights of Children and Adolescents from the city of Pinheiral. Soon we will bring updated news about these initiatives. Follow along!
For more information about the project, click here.