Alliance for Childhood www.allianceforchildhood.org.uk is a worldwide movement that emerged in the United States and Europe in 1997.
It became a new model of cooperation, now active in more than 20 countries. The Alliance for Childhood is a concern that gathers organizations, institutions and individuals (parents, educators, therapists, environmentalists, nutritionists, etc.) working with minimum of organizational structures and financial investments and maximum efficiency and dissemination.
The mission of the Alliance for Childhood is to build the consensus that a healthy childhood is a basic need of human condition, thus protecting mankind values. It promotes cooperation between parents and professionals of different areas who are directly or indirectly involved with children.
The general objectives of the network are to:
· Promote a process of training , reflection and mobilization of agents and social organizations expanding the concept about childhood, considering the child as a whole and not in a segmented way: health, education, artistic expressions, media influence, consumption, environment, nutrition quality, among other topics, need to be interconnected and be understood as such for a healthy development of the human being.
· Sensibilize and mobilize the community in general to build the necessary tools that contemplate the children and their environment, creating spaces for debate and participation.
· Strengthen Alliance for Childhood image as an organization capable of assisting and influencing public policies that assure the effective exercise of children’s rights.
· Encourage the formation of a network of specialists on childhood-related questions that can develop programs and actions in Brazil and Latin America based on the ideas and values that guide the Alliance for Childhood.
In order to achieve these objectives in Brasil, the Aliança pela Infância in Brazil has been working towards the construction of a network of institutions directly involved with childhood problems and also a network of educators, doctors, social assistants, psychologists, politicians, communicators and parents.
In Brazil the organization was born in 2001 with the presence of one of its creator, Michaela Gloeckler. Since then, the Alliance in Brazil has been promoting meetings, seminars, lectures and the most diverse activities related to their field of action.
Download the lecture given by Dr. Michaela Glockler during the First Meeting of the Alliance for Childhood in Brazil in 2001.
DEFINITION OF THE CHILDHOOD SITUATION IN BRAZIL
Poverty, malnutrition, high mortality rates, violence, invisibility and exclusion are words that so well describe the reality of a very large number of Brazilian children.
A recent report from UNICEF says that Brazil has achieved a remarkable progress in the care provided to children up to 6 years, but it also says that childhood situation in the country is still quite precarious.
There are several organizations in Brazil dedicated to the issues involving childhood needs and most of them have an assistance or emergency nature.
There is a lack of common strategies to allow exchange of experiences and to influence the public policies concerning childhood needs; many times, there are inadequate policies, such as the one related to children’s school education. The precocious school pressure, for instance, contributes to take children to stress situations by submitting them to extensive curriculum contents that prioritize the intellect and have no significant relation with their real needs.
The first years are fundamental in a child’s life and really important for the formation of the future citizen. At early age, nutrition and affection play a decisive and permanent role, and are directly related to the ability to learn and to regulate emotions. It is based on the relations that it establishes in its first years of life that a child will organize the fundamentals of its future psychic life. Feeling loved and protected, the child will have a minimum chance to develop an impulse for violence in the future.
Experience and research have also shown play as an essential activity, a healthy basis for the subsequent learning process. By playing, the child discovers the world and experiences its laws. Healthy play will qualify us to have a positive action in the world when adults.
Childhood education for the construction of a peace culture is another field of action of the Alliance for Childhood in Brazil. The Alliance also intends to intervene in the public space by creating effective communication and dissemination strategies that will favor the discussion and implementation of public policies for childhood that will answer to the real needs of children.
A CHANGE IN THE SCENARIO
The last 20 years, and specially the millennium passage, have been characterized in Brazil by the emergence of several institutions, foundations and NGO’s especially concerned with the preservation of the rights of children and young people. Prompt actions in the fields of education, health, care, development and violence prevention have characterized all these movements. Courses, publications, meetings, debates and mobilization of financial and human resources have shown the power and will of several sectors of the society to work in favor of childhood and youth, in a preventive way and also in the solution of already existing problems.
It can be noticed, however, that there is no proposal for integrated programs that, outside the academy or public education system, are oriented to professionals of heterogeneous areas and professions related to children (health, education, social assistance, nutrition, peace culture, arts, movements, media influence, rights, resilience, etc.) and that treat childhood in an extensive, deep and consistent way, focusing on problems, difficulties and solutions through actions and reflections.
TARGET PUBLIC of the Alliance for Childhood
Public, private and third sector organizations, individuals and professionals that are actively involved with the problems that aflict childhood; public authority and professionals who work in NGO’s; cultural centers, foundations and other spaces for child care, dealing with play, arts, movement, preparation of projects, complete health care for children, maternal breastfeeding, humanized childbirth, resilience, peace culture, nutrition, media, whole development of the child, legislation, among other childhood-related issues.
Aims of Aliança pela Infância in Brasil
· Encourage and develop education methods that respect childhood, that recognize the need of adequate time and space to grow, and that encourage play in a healthy rhythm of life;
· Stimulate the cooperation between professionals of different areas who are directly or indirectly involved with children – educators, therapists, doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, as well as jurists, politicians, religious, architects, that means all of us;
· Encourage a new scientific vision and researches on the development of a whole human being, specially the childhood period;
· Study the impact of technology, computers and electronic means of communication, the effects of consumptionism and other important themes on children’s development, evaluating results and effects on daily life; with the commitment to spread the results of the researches and propose efficient family solutions based on real needs;
· Encourage political actions to achieve such objectives.
PILLARS OF ACTION
The brazilian network works based on the following pillars of action:
E) POLITICAL ACTION
G) CONSULTING AND ADVISORY
FIELD OF ACTION
The pillars of action are developed in eleven specific fields of action listed below:
2) Childhood play
4) Conscious consumption
6) Guarantee of children’s right
7) Health and nutrition
8) Media and technology
9) Nature and environment
10) Peace culture
11) Space for kids
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