Mekong Youth Assembly recently released a new book “A guidebook for young trainers – Curriculum on Ecological Child Rights in Mekong Development” (2017). MYA: “Ultimately, we hope to help plant more seeds as for children to become aware of their ECR, and for the children to engage in decision-making that affects their lives on all levels, and to defend our rights to have clean soil, air and water –a safe and secure environment so that the children of today and tomorrow may grow and shine!”
We are all like seeds, especially children and young people. When the environment is suitable for the seed to grow, it grows beautifully; but if it lacks nutritious soil, sufficient water and warmth, it might not grow. Both natural and man-made environments are very important as they help us grow and sustain our livelihoods. However, when a development project takes place in a community, it can have both positive and negative impacts on the people and ecology, where we live.
In particular, the group of people who can least protect themselves are the young seeds: the children and young people. As the result, the concept of ecological child rights (ECR) was originated. ECR focuses on promoting and protecting the physical, mental and spiritual (Bio-Psycho-Social) development of children. Therefore, any development projects, that potentially harm the environment where children are born and grow up, must seriously integrate the ecological child rights into the decision-making process.
The Mekong Youth Assembly (MYA) was founded in 2013; it is a self-organized network of youth from Mekong countries. We unite to fight for greater youth and child rights. We fight for greater participation in all levels of decision-making processes that affect our Mekong River and our environment. Over the past few years, we have conducted many workshops focusing on ECR. The curriculum in your hands is the fruit of the collective experiences of working with hundreds of children and young people in the Mekong Region.
This guidebook is for young trainers to conduct ECR workshop for youth. We are pleased to share our experiences with you. We have chosen to present our models and tools in a very similar way to how we conducted at trainings in the Mekong countries. We also look forward to future opportunities to discuss this model from many other cross-cultural perspectives.
English version of the guidebook is available here.