Arigatou International was invited by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and UNICEF to join the Core Group of Experts called to contribute to the process of developing a set of Principles and Tools for Child-friendly Churches.
The Principles, which aim to guide and support WCC member churches in their efforts to promote the wellbeing of all children, are being developed in consultation with a broad range of advisors and experts from WCC, UNICEF and key partners. Ms. Agneta Ucko, Vice chair of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children and former Director of Arigatou International Geneva, is representing Arigatou International as part of the Group of Experts.
The Group of Experts is expected to contribute with suggestions and ideas that integrate existing expertise, lessons learned and innovative approaches into the process of developing and implementing the Principles.
Within this context, Ms. Ucko was invited to the seminar “A Stronger Voice for Children’s Rights” held on 19 November in Geneva, Switzerland where she presented the Learning to Live Together as an Interfaith and Intercultural Programme for Ethics Education.
Ms. Ucko also moderated the Working Group session to Promote Meaningful Child Participation. She shared with the participants the methodology used by Arigatou International to involve children and youth in developing the Learning to Live Together manual. Children and youth aged 12 to 18, coming from various religious traditions as well as from communities with secular thinking, participated in test workshops using the manual. In these test workshops, methodologies and content were tried out using a participatory approach tailored for children and young people. As a result, the real stakeholders and beneficiaries – children and youth – got involved and contributed to the development and final shape of the educational manual.
The Working Group discussed how to best advocate for the recognition of children as actors of change in society at large. Finally, they presented a set of recommendations on how to strengthen the draft Principles in a plenary session.
The Seminar concluded with a discussion on joint efforts to translate the Principles into action. The Principles and Tools for Child-friendly Churches are due to be launched at the WCC Central Committee meeting in June 2016.