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Phew! We all really cannot wait for this year to be over! As the world begins to open up again in spite of the Covid19 pandemic, this November 2021, Southern Africa is eager to have some fun in the sun! Each year in November, the terre des hommes (tdh) International Youth Network (IYN) comprising children and young people in tdh partner projects up to the age of 24, celebrate the Global Action Month (GAM). Launched in 2014, this has now become the annual signature month in the tdh family across the world. The Global Action Month falls during the month of November, when the world celebrates the Universal Children’s Day on November 20; a date set aside to call for the improvement of child welfare and promote children’s rights worldwide.
This year is even more special! After a determined International Campaign for Children's Right to a Healthy Environment dubbed #MyPlanetMyRights in which all of us across Southern Africa, all 13 tdh youth networks in partner projects from Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe numbering at least 400 took part, we are celebrating! On Friday 8 October, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 48/13, recognising for first time that having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right and calling on UN Member States to cooperate to implement this right! Together we will therefore initiate, implement and report on a colourful diversity of themed activities on just what this means to all of us. We will then upload each activity report onto the GAM world map for posterity! Every child, every young person is most welcome!
GAM 2021 THEME - "Children's rights and the environment, with a particular focus on climate change" #MyPlanetMyRights
The first week for most youth networks means going back to the beginning. We will do a refresher for old members and introduce new ones to what GAM really stands for. Using Radio, Television, Print and social media to launch the event and make certain every child and young person in our communities is aware and participating!
The second and third weeks we go into the communities to raise awareness on the importance of protecting environmental child rights. Community theatre, newspaper articles, talk shows, webinars, debates, clean-ups, drawing and painting sessions are some of the activities that will light up Southern Africa. Young people continue to find more creative activities to engage communities including dumpsite clean ups and historical sites restorations as well as working days to help build education centres.
The 4th week is the change week where we challenge communities to ensure they deliver environmental child rights daily. Vibrant marches, petitions and engagement with stakeholders to map a way forward will underline this critical time. As young people we not only want communities and stakeholders to know about environmental child rights; we also want them to actively promote these rights so that children get to experience them.
In Southern Africa, as young people we are the change that we want to see. Everyday!