Child to Child inspires students at Southampton University

November 2015

By Yvette Afriyie-Agyemang,

2nd Year Bsc Biomedical Sciences student at the University of Southampton, Southampton Hub International Development Coordinator,

On Saturday 24 October 2015 Carolyn and Klaas (respectively the Hearing All Voices Project Manager and Communications Intern) represented Child to Child at Southampton Hub’s International Development Conference. The theme of the conference was ‘Issues of the Wider World’ and was a great day of speaker events, workshops and market stalls for networking. Various global issues such as modern day slavery, global health and women’s rights were spoken about; Carolyn and Klaas focused on children’s rights.

The Child to Child stall at the International Development Conference in Southampton University.

The Child to Child stall at the International Development Conference in Southampton University.

The Child to Child stall was wonderful! I really enjoyed looking through the amazing resources that were on display and it was great to see so many other interested university students asking in-depth questions about Child to Child’s work.

Carolyn’s presentation about the work of Child to Child and the ‘United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’ was extremely thought provoking. Having grown up in the UK where there are so many child protection laws, it is disheartening to realise that in some places around the world children are treated as property rather than citizens. Despite the Convention, there are still many countries where it isn’t implemented adequately; it was inspiring to learn about how Child to Child constantly challenges this barrier of cultural attitudes.

Carolyn’s primary focus was on the concept of participation

During the session, we were asked to reflect upon our own experiences as children, and whether our opinions were heard and acted upon. Many attendees including myself realised that too often our opinions weren’t taken seriously. Having heard the term participation so many times throughout secondary school I thought I knew what it was all about. However, participation with Child to Child is so much more than taking part in a class activity!

Through the work of Child to Child, children are not only able to have a say in various issues, but can also be agents of change within their communities. One particular example that I found powerful was how children were able to lower the number of stomach upsets in their village by suggesting that their parents wash their hands before cooking and eating meals. It was truly compelling to witness how this single Child to Child training programme allowed children the opportunity to be taken seriously and improve their local community.

I really enjoyed watching the video of the Pikin to Pikin Tok radio series in Sierra Leone; it was a great example of how much children can achieve if given the chance. It was impressive to see such an innovative way to communicate in the face of the Ebola crisis. The CATS-Children as Actors for Transforming Society conference video was also fantastic to watch as it was uplifting to see so many children and adults from various countries working together!

It was great to have Child to Child be part of such an incredible day of sharing ideas. I learned so much and it really made me reflect about what a monumental impact children can make if they are allowed to participate and share their ideas. Children are the future and they should be treated as such. They should absolutely have a say in issues that concern them. I feel that the work of Child to Child is essential because it’s helping children grow into active citizens, which is exactly what this world needs.