120 Children Attended: PCHR Concludes 5 Training Courses on Foundations of Democracy and Free Elections
Date: 13 July 2021
On Thursday, 98 July 2021, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) concluded 5 training courses on foundations of democracy and free elections targeting 120 male and female children from the Gaza Strip’s five governorates. They were divided into 10 protection groups: 2 groups in each governorate and their ages between 12 and 17 years old. The 10-hour training courses were held from 05 to 08 July 2021, each training course was held over the course of 2 consecutive days.
This training course is part of a project to promote children’s participation in monitoring their rights, writing reports, reporting and asking for their rights in partnership with Save the Children and funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD.) The project is implemented in coordination with 30 child community organizations operating all over the Gaza Strip in addition to parent councils in schools.
The project focuses on promoting the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in supporting and influencing government at the national and international levels in order to create well-shaped systems and structures to fulfil children’s rights and to enhance democratic and comprehensive practices by CSOs, as well as improving communication and coordination between the different stakeholders (government, CSOs and children.) In all, these interventions would guarantee children’s participation within a responsive and inclusive political and legislative framework that maintains child’s rights; enable children to lead in collecting data on violations of child’s rights to hold those responsible accountable and defend their rights; and working for increasing children’s participation and ensuring greater representation in schools, local communities, and national systems in a way that consciously targets both genders.
The training program included several topics relevant to democracy and electoral process “Introduction to the right to elections, democracy and participation; principles of respecting opinions and pluralism; and introduction to electoral process- candidacy, campaigning and voting.” A session was devoted to discuss the rules of procedures for the National Council for Children while in another session, mock elections were held to choose council representing each governorate of the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the training program included fun recreational activities.
This course was held as part of the preparations for holding elections to form a children’s council in each governorate of the Gaza Strip in prelude to establishing a national council for children in Palestine.
In conclusion of the training program, ‘Abdel Halim Abu Samrah, Head of PCHR’s Training Unit, urged children to disseminate the values and knowledge they gained in the training course among their peers through initiatives and ideas. He expressed hopes that this idea would spread and that protection councils for children would include a greater number in the future.
The children participating in the training courses said they were very happy to attend as they were introduced to new topics. They emphasized that the training course was characterized with its rich topics that raised their understanding of democracy and free elections. The participating children also praised the trainers’ efficiency and various interactive training methods, emphasizing the importance of extending the project to include a greater number of children.