Say Yes For Children Campaign offers many opportunities

Stabroek News
August 23, 2001

Dear Editor,

I write to clarify some misperceptions on the Say Yes for Children Campaign expressed in the Wednesday Ramblings [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] of 15 August 2001.

The Say Yes for Children campaign gives adults, parents, youth and children an opportunity to express their views and contribute to the Global Movement for Children (GMC) by making a pledge to ten imperatives for a better future for children everywhere.

The GMC aims to help make sure that governments keep their promises to children. It is a coalition of committed people and organizations whose number one priority is taking action to improve conditions and ensure the well-being of all children and young people in the world, that protects children's rights. It seeks to create a world where the best interests of children and young people are always taken into account. A world that treats every child equally and lets boys and girls play and learn, and grow to adulthood in health, peace and dignity. A world that involves children and young people in making decisions about their lives and finds ways to make the world a better place for all.

At the core the GMC is a vision of the world we want for children, an awareness of the major obstacles that prevent us from achieving that vision and the need for actions to overcome these obstacles. It is founded on the belief that now is the time to take action for children, and that the well being of children and adolescents is fundamental to human development.

Within this context and that of the forthcoming Special Session on Children at the United Nations from 19-21 September 2001, the Say Yes For Children campaign in Guyana offers new opportunities to renew political will, to mobilize new partnerships and to generate fresh social actions throughout the country involving children and the communities they live in. It will build on the gains achieved for children in Guyana so far, and seek to forge national alliances for children for guaranteeing follow-up of national goals and the outcomes of the Special Session on Children in the years ahead.

In sum, the purpose of Say Yes For Children is to enhance the participation of the people of Guyana in the Global Movement for Children. For this, special activities are being organized by government agencies and non-government organizations to reach out to children, parents, adults, youth groups, leaders, media and others in all the regions to create an enabling environment for the realization and protection of the rights of children in Guyana and elsewhere in the world.

With regard to the ten actions of the Say Yes For Children pledge campaign, let me elaborate on the three actions that are alluded to by the author in Wednesday Ramblings.

* Put Children First: It is the responsibility of everyone - governments, individuals, non-governmental organisation, religious groups, the private sector and children and adolescents themselves - to ensure that children's rights are respected.

* Fight Poverty- Invest in Children: Invest in services that benefit the poorest children and their families, such as basic health care and primary education. Make the well-being of children a priority objective of debt relief programmes, development assistance and government spending.

* Listen to Children: Respect the rights of children and young people to express themselves and to participate in making the decisions that affect them.

In closing, let me use this opportunity to urge and encourage a wide participation of parents, adults, young people and children to sign the pledge of the Say Yes For Children and add their voice to changing the world with children, here in Guyana and elsewhere in the world.

Yours faithfully,
Sreelakshmi Gururaja
Assistant Representative,
United Nations Children's Fund