3rd formation course for promoters of Human Rights in French Speaking Africa

3rd formation course for promoters of Human Rights in French Speaking Africa

Geneva ( Switzerland ). From February 28 to March 11, at the IIMA Office for Human Rights in Geneva, the 3rd course of formation for promoters of Human Rights belonging to IIMA and VIDES took place. It was run in collaboration with BICE.

This was the final course of the year's programme started in March 2009, and was for educators and animators from French speaking Africa (five from IIMA and VIDES International and five from BICE) who work with and for children at risk. The countries involved were: Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali , Madagascar , Ivory Coast , Benin , Congo Brazzaville, and Togo .

The delegates of IIMA and VIDES were Sr. Maria Antonietta Marchese (Benin), Sr. Carine Akueson (Benin), Sr. Lurhakwa Odile Karhini (Democratic Republic of Congo), Sr. Nyangono Mvondo Michèle (Congo Brazzeville), and Sr. Haingo Tiana Raharisoa (Madagascar).

The primary aim of the project was to create a solid foundation so that, as a result of this formation, workers of the three organisations could establish fruitful collaboration in this field, integrating a human rights approach into their own activities.

The participants from IIMA and VIDES international benefited from two important formative moments. The first, from February 28 to March 4, allowed them to get to know the aims and activities of the IIMA Human Rights Office, as well as ways of defending and promoting human rights especially for children. The second part of the formation was undertaken together with the BICE participants. It focused on deepening the content of the Convention on the rights of the Child, in particular, the right to education, and on the functioning of the Committee for the Rights of the Child. On this occasion the participants had an opportunity to meet some representatives of the High Commission for Human Rights, the Geneva NGO group and the president of OIDEL.

Besides this, the formation course also included some times of participation in the 13th session of the Council for Human Rights. In particular, the FMA took part in the opening session of the Council (High Level Segment , March 1-3), at the presentation of the annual reports on some specific processes (March 8-9 ) and in the day on violence against children (March 10).

Finally, the programme also included two parallel events (Side events, March 8 and 11) at the Palais des Nations I. In these our Sisters, in the presence of the representatives of their respective governments, experts from international organisations and members of other NGOs, presented experiences and good practice regarding the reintegration into society or reinsertion into the family of children in difficulty.

The first Side Event, entitled “Aims and goals of the right to education for children at risk in Africa : re-integration and/or reinsertion”. It was sponsored by the High Commission and focused on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Mali .

The second parallel event: “The right to education of girls in precarious situations in Africa ”, was sponsored by the International French speaking Organisation (OIF). It turned its attention to the right to education of girls in Ivory Coast , Benin , Republic of Congo and Togo .

The formation course benefited from the precious collaboration and guidance of the ex-director of the Operations, Programmes and Research Division of the High Commission for Human Rights, Maria Francisca Ize-Charrin, who is presently a member of the Administration Commission of VIDES International.

The support of the General Council was well expressed by the presence of Sr. Maria Luisa Miranda, Councillor for the Salesian Family, who was in Geneva for one of the two parallel events (March 8). Sr. Maria Luisa expressed great satisfaction with the work done by Sr. Maria Grazia Caputo (permanent representative of IIMA and VIDES International in Geneva ) and of the work accomplished by the IIMA Office for Human Rights in just two years.

The following are some testimonies and comments :

The representative of one NGO : «I thank you because you have ‘infiltrated' hope into this side event by showing that what seems impossible is in fact possible, that what is done in one particular place becomes an international fact that gives hope to the people of Africa and also to the world».

The diplomatic representative for Tunisia : «What you are doing helps human rights to progress».

Monsignor Tomasi, representative of the Holy See : «You are like a little hammer that continues untiringly in its message that gives life because it emphasises education».

Sr. Maria Antonietta Marchese stated that she received great enrichment from this experience, since it gave her the opportunity to communicate and to place her work within the framework of human rights. She also had an opportunity to get to know the meaning of the term defender of human rights, a category to which she did not realise she belonged.

Sr. Odile Karhini stressed how positive the experience has been and communicated her intention to transmit her new knowledge to the Sisters in the Congo , and also to those young people who are interested in learning. She also committed herself to intensify her work of informing and raising awareness in families so as to prevent violations of the rights of the child.

Sr. Carine Akueson appreciated the opportunity of learning the technical language of human rights and the way of operating of the different organisations that make up the United Nations, but also of getting in contact with the reality and issues of other countries. She feels that it was very important to have had the opportunity to demonstrate Don Bosco's Preventive Method in the context of human rights.

Sr. Michèlle Nyangono Mvondo , has understood that this formation course has given her the tools to express herself better in her work while, at the same time, enriching and deepening her knowledge.

Daniel Charrin stated that he had assisted at a meeting of two worlds: the witness of the heart and the world of rights. He was deeply impressed by the intervention of the different countries, which gave importance to the education of children.

Sr. Leonor Salazar said that this experience was an immersion in humanity. She learned from everyone and everyone brought the light of hope, because the good that is done to just one child is worth all the effort.

Sr. Maria Grazia Caputo, defined these days as an experience of listening and had the feeling that the room of the Side Events, became not only a sharing of methodologies and practice but also of good. She believes that it is a shame if good remains hidden: it needs to be made known so as to multiply it. And it is possible to do this.

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26/03/2010 - Mayela Campos C

Felicitaciones, sembrar semillas de esperanza en la vida d eniños y niñas con la bandera de sus derechos es una acción de futuro en el hoy. Sigan adelante... con alegría veo que VIDES y IIMA han alargado su radio de acción. Saludos especiales a Maria Grazia y a Leonor desde Costa Rica.

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