The team at Centre Afaq and MCT are thrilled to announce that one of the children at Centre Afaq in Taroudannt has officially been selected to represent the Souss-Massa-Draa region at the Parliament of the Child Regional Academy for Education and Training. Souad El Bardyny, who has been participating with her family in the programmes at Centre Afaq since its inception in October 2010, just celebrated her 15th birthday and is now a regional representative!
Souad submitted an application in Autumn 2013, in which she made a case for state subsidised pre-schools nation-wide. She then received an invitation to present her idea at a national meeting in Rabat in February 2014 and, after months of waiting, Souad has received an official invitation to the Moroccan Children’s Parliament.
In partnership the National Observatory for the Rights of the Child and the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training launched the programme this past Saturday, the 23rd May, with the first regional training session at the headquarters for the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training in Agadir. The first conference gave the children parliamentarians opportunities across two days of workshops to begin learning about and discussing ideas on three relevant topics: mental health of the child, children and violence, and the Millennium Development Goals, including preparation of the development agenda beyond 2015. These topics were then reported on during the closing session on Sunday, the 24th May.
The Director of the Regional Academy, Mr Ali Brad, opened the session and he will be the supervisor of all child parliamentarians from Taroudannt â out of 395 national parliamentarians, there are 36 representatives from the different provinces of the Souss-Massa-Draa region. Likewise, the representative of the National Observatory for the Rights of the Child will be kept updated with the work of 305 members of the local provinces and 90 members from the national group in order to help enable the children to contribute more effectively to the new challenges of the Convention on International Child Rights. Other attendees of the opening training session included the Vice-Minister and heads of departments of the Regional Academy, the regional coordinator of the National Observatory Rights for the Rights of the Child and a number of media.
Two key objectives of the programme are a permanent consolidation of a culture of children’s rights in the educational community and social development as well as fostering a culture of citizenship and democratic values within the younger generations. Thus, the National Observatory for the Rights of the Child and the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training aim to contribute to the improvement of the situation of children in Morocco and help earn Morocco international recognition as a model in human rights. Other similar efforts and regional initiatives include establishing and activating clubs in civic education and human rights within educational institutions, preparation of a practical guide on school education on human rights, establishing a regional centre for combating violence in rural schools.
After two years of regional trainings on advocacy â communication, report writing, public speaking â the children’s parliamentarians will meet in Rabat in 2016 for a national conference with the Prime Minister and Her Royal Highness Princess Meryem. We look forward to supporting Souad in this once-of-a-lifetime experience and are excited to see what she will be able to achieve and share with her peers at Centre Afaq!