Government – UNICEF Cooperation Program 2004
Convention on the Rights of the Child - Child Participation

12th to 19th March 2004
Attended by YA Marisha & Sarah

Report by YA Marisha (March 2004) 

From the 12 till the 19th March 2004, 18 participants from various child-based organizations were called to Institut Latihan FAMA, Batu 12, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, to attend a Train the Trainers program. This program was organised by Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat and sponsored by UNICEF. All the children involved were from children based NGOs such as YMCA, YAWA, and MCRI. I represented Young Achievers’ Club, together with Sarah. The 8-day stay in the FAMA dormitory was a very memorable and unforgettable experience.  

For the first 4 days, all of us went through a full CRC workshop to make us understand the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) completely. We went through an introduction of CRC and its 4 elements, Survival, Protection, Development and Participation. The workshop really exercised our right to participation because we did most of the work with only guidance from the adults. At the end of every session, we would evaluate the facilitator with honest feedback so that he/she can improve her facilitating. Over all, the workshops were very interactive and informative at the same time. All the workshops were designed in a way that it was impossible for us to get bored. We did role-playing, drawings, games and presentations. Most of the activities were held in groups so that it was more interesting. However, besides the CRC workshops, we also played a lot of outdoor games to accumulate points for our respective groups. We played mostly water-based games such as water polo.  

After days of CRC workshops, we went through a lesson planning session to plan sessions of our own. This was when we got to know that on the very next day, there would be children from Negeri Sembilan and also Port Dickson that will be participants and WE the senior participants will be the facilitators. We were all grouped into groups of three and given out different parts of the CRC workshops to handle. All the groups did a ‘test drive’ and received feedback from other participants. Then here comes the biggest catch of it all. After all our presentations, we came to know that not all of us would be facilitating the next batch of participants. Only a selected 5 will do so. To some, this was happiness but to others this brought worries. What pondered our minds was who were going to be the selected few? Well, our questions were answered. All of us were given a slip of paper and we would have to vote for the top 4 people whom we think is capable of being a facilitator and another 4 who are capable of being a moderator. 

It was really tensed up. After the voting, everybody scrambled to ask friends whom they voted for, although the final results would be posted the next session. Finally, the top 5 facilitators were Danial, Marisha, Samir, Sarah and Sharanya. I was so delighted and happy to find out that I was voted into second place and was able to become a facilitator! When the Negeri Sembilan/Port Dickson children came, they were very friendly and nice towards us, though some of us facilitators were really nervous. All the new facilitators had hands on exposure in facilitating and for some of us it was a great learning experience to deal with the audience. We were able to conduct a session and the children really enjoyed it! But whenever we got stuck on our explanations that we were not that clear, the adult facilitators would just come in for awhile and corrected us. 

            As for me, I felt that I did pretty well, considering that on the day of the presentation, my partner fell sick. Never the less, I was still happy with my presentation. At the end of the session, I received my feedback from the observers. They gave constructive criticism and wonderful compliments. 

On the last day, all participants (seniors and juniors) had to look at the NPA 2003 and specifically look at the topic on children and the environment. All participants grouped up according to our respective organizations and had to come up with action plans that our organization can run to overcome problems concerning children and the environment. Each representative from the different organizations had to present their action plan to everybody and received good feedback. Through this, I learnt a lot more about other organizations that I never knew before. I also found out that there are many activities going on for children but the public is just not aware of it. 

            Finally, after 8 days away from Kuala Lumpur, many of us were feeling home sick. But it was also time to say good-bye to all our new friends. It was quite sad for me as I really felt I bonded with the people there. We exchanged contacts and thanked the adults that helped us through everything. After all, it was a great experience with lots of fun. And now, I really do know a lot more about the CRC than I used too. 

Prepared by:

Marisha Naz