THE FIRST ONLINE MEETING IN THE HISTORY OF THE CHILDREN'S COUNCIL
The Children's Council is an advisory body to the Chairman of the State Agency for Child Protection, which has existed since 2003 in Bulgaria. On 09.07.2020 the first online meeting in its history was held due to the epidemiological situation in the country. One child from each district in the country participates in the Children's Council. Twenty-six children took part in the meeting, and children from the youth network Megafon also joined the meeting as guests.
"The children's point of view must be heard when making decisions that concern children in topics such as education, health care and social life. I would like the Children's Council to have its own ambassadors, who will be representatives of local government, business and parent organizations. They can support children's initiatives, as well as help them build their value system as successful and responsible young people. ”- emphasized Dr. Eleonora Lilova, Chairman of the SACP.
At the meeting, the children got acquainted with the tool for children's participation, which is a result of a successfully implemented project by the SACP - "Developed effective policies for the preserving of children's rights." The main goal of this analysis is to give the right direction for development and validation of the Bulgarian model of child participation for active involvement of children and youth in the decision-making process of the introduction and development of policies aimed at them.
According to the participants from Megafon, the children's voice is not heard and they propose to organize an event in which representatives of various institutions, who make decisions related to the life and health of the children, will take part. There, children will have the opportunity to give their suggestions, opinions and share their ideas, and adults will realize how important it is for children to be perceived as individuals.
The main comments from the members of the Children's Council are again that they do not meet understanding from the institutions, they are being explained things in a complex language, they are denied access to information, etc. The children share that their opinion is often not taken into account in decisions that affect them and expressed a desire to organize a meeting with the Minister of Education, because according to them at the moment the education system is not efficient and high quality.
The participants in the meeting were unanimous that it is the children who should look for the problems and the ways in which their voice can be heard, with the family and their closest environment being in the first place. Emphasis was also placed on strengthening the work of the members of the Council with the mayors of the municipalities and those working on the implementation of the policies for children at the local level.
The Chairperson of the SACP - Dr. Eleonora Lilova declared her support for the wishes of children and youth, proposing to organize a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Health and representatives of the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria.
At the end of the panel, the children presented ideas for the implementation of this year's National Campaign: "Safe and Healthy Summer". The participants agreed that given the situation in the country, the campaign will use the opportunities of social media, and one of the proposals was to create a YouTube channel and Facebook, where to publish materials, videos and more in different sections. and to invite famous children to take part in the campaign.
On the subject of promoting the SACP initiative „The biggest children's "thank you", the members of the Children's Council proposed, in addition to the video with the most participants, to set a record forming the word "Thank you" by the most people. The idea is from the example of the Medical University in Varna, which formed the largest DNA chain. Another proposal is for the award and the “thank you” messages themselves to be dedicated to the medics in gratitude for their efforts in the fight against the pandemic.
The collection of videos continues until the end of the year, and the idea is to capture children who thank their family, friends, relatives or all the people who are important to them. The aim of the SACP is to collect as many videos as possible to apply for a Guinness Book record and thus encourage children to thank the people who make their lives better more often.
On the subject of the start of the procedure for selection of new members for the Children's Council at the SACP, the President of the Agency, Dr. Eleonora Lilova, will invite celebrities to become part of the jury. The first guest will be the director of the Bulgarian National Radio - Mr. Andon Baltakov, as an active supporter of the cause to help children in their personal development. The commission, appointed by the chairman of the SACP, ranks the received applications from the districts according to the criteria described in the procedure. It is attended by prominent members of the public, representatives of civil society, academia and business, experts and former members of the Council.
Children up to the age of 16 can be nominated for members of the Children's Council. They may be members for a term of two years. The Children's Council as an organization reassures young people and children that their views are important and should be taken into account by all parties involved in caring for children's well-being.
"Children's council is a place where we young people find support and understanding. A place where we not only develop youth policies and exchange experiences, but a place where we are all family and love and support each other. ”- shares Ventsislav Georgiev, a representative of the children's voice in Pleven.