700 children for national summit on August 25

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

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MORE than 700 children between 12 and 17 years of age from across the island will converge on the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, for the second staging of the National Children's Summit on August 25.

The summit will be held under the theme 'Creating Opportunities to Develop Tomorrow's Leaders Today'.

Conceptualised by the Child Development Agency's (CDA) Children's Advisory Panel (CAP), the event provides an opportunity for children, especially those from the child protection system; special children's groups and faith-based organisations, to express their views and relate to each other on matters affecting them.

"The panel saw the need to stage such an important event where a wide cross section of children from across the island can come together to give their views on the issues affecting them in the presence of their leaders. We felt that children across Jamaica, mainly those in State care, needed an opportunity to interact with policymakers and stakeholders in a child-friendly environment," CAP Chairperson Meca-Gaye Francis said.

Chief executive officer of the CDA Rosalee Gage-Grey, meanwhile, congratulated the panel on the second staging of the summit.

"We encourage our children to use this summit to empower themselves through the information provided, but also to use it as an opportunity to hone their leadership skills and develop a larger vision for their future. It is crucial that they come together in a forum like this to interact with their peers and discuss and flesh out matters of national relevance," the CEO said.

Some topics to be discussed are: 'understanding the phenomena of bullying in Jamaica'; 'child rights and Responsibility'; and 'violence against children'.

An exhibition featuring programmes and products from a wide range of partners in the child development and child protection sector will be mounted.

In addition, the summit will also host a series of workshops geared toward helping children to discover and begin to hone their creative talents.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the right of children to be heard in all matters affecting them. The Child Care and Protection Act also recognises that children are capable of forming their own views, and that the weight given to these views is one factor used to determine whether a child's best interests are being served.

Sponsors of the event include the United Nations Children's Fund; Bank of Nova Scotia; First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union; Smith and Stewart Distributors Limited; Tastee; Juici Patties; and the National Housing Trust.


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