This project was a modification of a three-year, wider-ranging project submitted for funding to the Daphne Programme. The Commission invited the project sponsor, OMEGA, to undertake the first phase of its three-year project, viz the strengthening of a European resource network, a mapping of resources and several related events. This phase was to last 12 months.
Given the re-planning necessary to achieve this new aim, it was decided that the Daphne Technical Expert would, in lieu of a regular monitoring visit, participate in the first meeting of the transnational partners of this project and contribute where possible to the discussion, with a view to assisting the project’s redirection and design.
The Expert attended a full day of brainstorming with the project partners in Graz, Austria. An intense, wide-ranging discussion ensued at which the participants explored the parameters of the mapping exercise that would be undertaken.
There was substantive discussion of the range of target groups and issues that might be addressed in a call for submissions to the mapping/resulting database. Eventually, these were broken down into first priority issues (guided by the aims of the Daphne Programme) and second priority issues that might be addressed in later stages of the project. The first priority list covered children ‘in especially difficult circumstances’ (CEDC):
· Unaccompanied minors
· Street children
· Illegal (non-national) children
· Children of minority groups
· Children in post-conflict situations
· Children exploited in work
· Children excluded from school
· Children excluded from health care
· Child victims of torture
· Children in refugee camps/situations
· Children with temporary visas/status
· Children in limbo
· Hidden children
This list represented many groups of children who are vulnerable to, or victims of violence and, additionally, addressed the growing problems related to children arriving in the MS from countries in Eastern Europe. It was agreed that ‘children’ includes children and young people up to the age of 18, as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The second priority list (not developed further at this stage) included:
· Teenage mothers
· Handicapped children
· Children with mental disabilities
· Children battling with substance abuse
· Children victims of sexual and physical abuse
· Children with mentally disturbed parents
· Children in trouble with the law.
The aim was to map the individuals and organisations working with children in these categories and to identify good practice examples in their work. There was therefore discussion of the sectors that should be approached (eg researchers, social workers) and the likely end users of the mapping (NGOs seeking partnerships, funding agencies, public authorities etc.) This discussion resulted in a preliminary listing that was further refined by the partners.
The project resulted in :
· Several conferences and experts meetings with the international partners,
· The creation of a homepage,
· The creation of a database with more than 250 entries of centres, NGOs, institutions, international organisations, private individuals and existing programmes working for and with children and young people and for their rights in 36 countries (European Union and former Yugoslavia are the main focus).The database includes
- a description of the sectors, in which the organisations are working,
- a description of the respective target groups,
- project descriptions,
- website addresses,
- a list of published materials,
- a list of ‘resource people’, that can be of assistance for professional training, information, monitoring etc.
Via the database it will be easier for the different organisations working with children to find out who is working in their field of interest and how to get in touch with other organisations. It helps to improve communication, exchange experience and cooperation, and to take better advantage of available skilled human resources, models of good practice and actions within Europe and former eastern states.
· A publication of the European Network launching Children’s Rights and Preventing Violence, which can be obtained (free of charge) from OMEGA.
· A culture and music event to celebrate the UN CRC, including the production of a video documentation,
· The organisation of a children and youth event (with music, poem readings and performances of different kinds),
· The production of a poster and postcards.