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Securing government commitments to children and youth in Paraguay

Our country director shares his excitement for CCFC’s collaboration with like-minded organizations to give children and youth a voice

By Jorge Méndez-Rheineck, country director, Paraguay

Paraguay just voted Mario Abdo Benitez (above, right) in as its new President, and although he and the other main candidate — with 89 percent of the votes — had different platforms, they agreed on one topic: children and youth. They both showed that commitment by signing 20 Commitments for Childhood and Adolescence.

This action plan was conceived by the Front for Childhood and Adolescence, a coalition of 20 international and national non-governmental organizations and networks working together to support children and youth in Paraguay. Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) and Plan International lead the Front, which UNICEF supports.

If fulfilled, these commitments will significantly improve children’s lives. They address issues of health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, child protection and participation. They also prioritize girls, early childhood, children with disabilities, indigenous children and youth, children who work, children in the streets and child offenders. (See the full list here.)

In creating these commitments, The Front encouraged the participation of children and youth through the country’s CCFC-supported National Network of Childhood and Adolescence. In fact, more than 50 children and youth, leaders of the Network, handed these recommendations to improve their lives to the two main Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates.

It took a lot of work to get to that point. In December 2017, the renewed and strengthened Front prepared, published and presented a report to the press regarding progress and setbacks in accomplishing the 20 Commitments signed by current President, Horacio Cartes, in 2013.

Past successes have included an increase in birth registrations, an improvement in health services for youth, improved access to clean water in rural areas, improved access to education as well as the strengthening of the National System of Child Rights Protection and Promotion, among other initiatives.

Today, The Front is determining how to monitor ongoing compliance of the 20 commitments of 2018, based on learnings from the 2013 commitments. With this, CCFC and its partners, including the National Network of Childhood and Adolescence, will continue to influence Paraguay’s public agenda.

We believe we can create a world where every child has a voice and the ability to achieve their full potential.

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For nearly 60 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, donors and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.