On 25 September 2020, Humanium delivered the second in its series of child rights coaching e-workshops to a group of child rights professionals. The interactive 90-minute-long session saw the union of rights professionals from across the world.
“Our Child Rights Coaching was born as an idea to give a taste of the tools Humanium uses in its workshops, so that they may be shared in participants’ own operational contexts and used to further empower beneficiaries.”Arndt Soret, Humanium’s Co-Founder and CEO (pictured above on the left)
Following the delivery of Humanium’s first ‘Child Rights Workshop’ in April 2020, the second was launched as a continuation of this initiative which was formulated as a free-of-charge online training to connect worldwide rights professionals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the workshop, attendees partook in a series of participatory discussions and activities centred around child rights. (I)NGO professionals joined our unique hands-on e-training from countries across Europe and Africa, while activities addressed both the international child rights framework itself and practical tools for coaching child rights through in-country projects.
The Coach Facilitators who guided participants through skill development included Arndt Soret and Karen Makkes van der Deijl. Arndt, Humanium’s CEO and co-founder is a lawyer and a therapist (Psychopraticien and Somatic Experiencing), and Karen is a professional life coach with 15 years of experience, who has been contributing to Humanium since 2015. Together, Arndt and Karen have delivered 82 workshops to 2,586 people in Rwanda (and in India). As part of the introduction, Josie Thum, Advocacy Officer at Humanium, gave participants a short presentation on the international child rights framework and the mechanisms it entails.
“Since Humanium’s 2008 establishment, we have been promoting awareness of child rights through accessible online information to 6 million annual users alongside rights training fieldwork in Rwanda and in India.”Arndt Soret, Humanium’s Co-Founder and CEO
The training opened with introductions as professionals shared their own motivations for working towards the improvement of child rights as well as the principal challenges faced by their respective NGOs in this arena. A presentation on the international child rights framework highlighted key rights instruments as well as major gaps, and highlighted Humanium’s accessible distillation of the framework into 8 fundamental rights. It was also underlined, when discussing terminology such as ‘vulnerable children’ that nobody is ‘vulnerable’ inherently, but people are instead affected by external vulnerability factors.
Karen then led participants through an exercise of engaged listening, and highlighted that people are the experts of their own situations and for this reason listening to their voices, and the solutions they identify, is a key aspect of any effective humanitarian response. She went on to underline professionals’ role as facilitators, not protagonists, to beneficiary-led responses which should centre above all affected people’s voices, choices and actions.
The priorities and motivations driving participants to work towards the improvement of child rights included “not speaking on behalf of children” and that “a country is only as strong as its weakest links” making its treatment of children paramount. Practitioners also discussed the value of the engaged listening skills, highlighting the difference between approaching communities openly and as equals rather than “imposing a teaching” upon them.
Humanium was delighted to have the opportunity to share its unique and humane methodology with child rights professionals for the second time in 2020, in spite of the challenges this year has presented. Our combination of technical child rights learning with beneficiary-oriented, in-depth practical coaching exercises made for a powerful session with a number of our vibrant participants requesting more time for follow-up sessions.
The growth of our Child Rights Workshop for professionals is a key achievement, and we plan to disseminate further online workshops in the year to come. We look forward to spearheading further training, and expanding and empowering our network of compassionate individuals working to make a difference for child rights around the world. If you are interested in joining Humanium on our next Child Rights Workshop, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Josie Thum