5.8 Raising political awareness among young people
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School is an information provider. It provides information about democratic rights and democratic values according to the decree of 24 July 1997 "on the missions of school" through the implementation of the subject “education to philosophy and citizenship”. It includes the learning of the functioning of democracy.
- Youth Information Centre
There are 29 Youth Information Centres in the French-speaking Community. Their aim is to inform young people about their rights, their duties and every subject that might interest youth (employment, health, political system, etc.). For instance, they give information about voting rights or duties and give practical information about voting (how to vote, how political system is working, etc.). In addition, they provide young people with keys to understand and analyse society with a critical mind. They use various communication tools (website, events, information folder, etc.). These youth associations are recognised and funded by the Youth Department at the Community level.
The legislation governing Youth Information Centres is the Decree related to Youth Centres. They receive financial support from the Youth Ministry.
The role of the Youth Forum
One of the main mission of the Youth Forum is to make young people participate to society and practice their democratic rights by expressing themselves about issues that affect them directly or indirectly. Very often, this entails consultation campaigns linked to their democratic rights and related values.
The role of the General Delegate for the Right of Child
Since 2011, the General Delegate for the Right of Child has organised every year a festival for the right of Child, the Festival “zero > 18”. This is a free festival addressing young people under 18 years old. The aim is to raise young people awareness about their rights in a festive and funny way.
It also aims to put into practice the right of child to participate to cultural life, to practice measure activities and to play. The festival is organised in partnership with main actors of the French-speaking Community (the Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youthwelfare).
The General Delegate for the Right of Child has for mission to ensure the protection of the Child’s Rights mainly by referring to the International Convention of the right of Child of 20 November 1989. The decree of 20 June 2002 institutes the General Delegate for the Right of Child.
The Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare has highlighted in videos the testimony of 4 young migrants. They explain the obstacles they encounter regarding the realisation of their fundamental rights.
Many youth associations work with young people to foster the intercultural dialogue among young people. For instance, “Défi Belgique Afrique” is a youth organisation which develops solidarity and intercultural projects. With this association, young belgians can participate to an exchange project with young people from African countries to live an intercultural experience.
The French-speaking Community and the Walloon Region adopted a common Action Plan for the Rights of the Child in 2011. It sets out actions to promote the rights of child’s according to the UN convention on the Rights of the Child. The Action plan has 3 main axes and 216 actions.
Among the 216 actions, some of them affect youth-tailored public communication:
- the development of communication tools which are “child-friendly” in every policy sector
- the yearly organisation of a festival called “zero18”. The main objective is to raise children awareness about their rights in a festive and enjoyable way.
The Observatory also published on its website 5 “child- friendly” reports. The aim is to inform children about decisions which affect them by offering them accessible and easy content.