The Minister of Social Development Dr. Ahmed Majdalani, and the National Director of World Vision Jerusalem – West Bank – Gaza, Ms. Lauren Taylor, officially announced the launch of the Child Protection and Advocacy Groups in Jenin, Nablus and Yatta. This announcement came during an online meeting, attended by the Family and Childhood Department at the Ministry of Social Development, the Child Protection team at World Vision and a number of children who are members of the Protection and Advocacy Groups.
During the meeting, Dr. Majdalani praised the role of children and the importance of their participation in the Child Protection Networks at the Ministry of Social Development. He emphasized on the Ministry’s efforts, in cooperation with children, to build a moral and creative society dominated by the values of justice, solidarity and equality in order to build a generation capable of participating in all areas of life, especially the fields of development, social work, education and health.
On her part, Ms. Taylor affirmed on the importance of the partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, and emphasized on the organization’s focus on children, in order to provide a better future for Palestinian children, ensure their rights and participation, and enable them to have their voice heard by decision makers.
The meeting included a wonderful participation from children about their role as Protection and Advocacy Group members in working and receiving important training related to reducing violence against children, implementing initiatives at the community and school levels and developing action plans to reduce this violence. The children directed questions to the Minister about the plans put in place by the Ministry of Social Development to limit the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on children, its role in reducing violence against children in all its forms and other questions related to child labor and the protection of those reporting violations against children.
Tuqa, a member of the Protection and Advocacy Group of Yatta expressed her overwhelming happiness for the opportunity given to her and her colleagues to meet with the Minister, adding: "The dialogue that took place with Dr. Majdalani and the answers he provided to the three groups added to my knowledge of important aspects that needed to be clarified in the field of child protection. I hope that the demands made by my colleagues in the protection and advocacy group to Dr. Majdalani will be followed up on, so that all Palestinian children can enjoy a safe childhood." While Khateeb from Jenin said: "As for me, the meeting with the Minister was a very important because he gave us a message that the hard work and effort we are doing in the groups is appreciated at the highest levels and there are decision-makers who are ready to hear us and give us a psychological boost, so we continue to work better.
At the end of the meeting, the children presented a set of recommendations to the Minister, in order to work on establishing deterrent laws to hold accountable all those who practice violence against children. They also asked the Ministry to work more on raising awareness about the dangers of violence against children through the media, work more to activate the reporting and transfer system, and hear the voice of children and share their demands with the competent authorities.
It is worth noting that World Vision, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Development, has formed three groups of children to support and represent other children in The Child Protection Networks in Yatta, Jenin and Nablus in the pilot phase, and it is expected that child protection and advocacy groups will be formed in the rest of the West Bank governorates soon.