Promoting Rights in Schools (PRS) is a collaborative initiative between ActionAid and the Right to Education Project which aims to secure free, compulsory, quality public education for all. The overall goal of the PRS initiative is to engage citizens in improving the quality of education. The Charter and indicators in the document support the development of local, district and national reports on the state of education rights, based on citizen’s perspectives and mobilisation. The research to action approach promotes evidenced-based advocacy and campaigning which is expected to lead to sustainable change.
AAITG’s roll out of the PRS document took place in Brikamaba in the Central River Region and was facilitated by Lamin Barro, Head of Sponsorship; Joanna Mendy, Sponsorship Officer; Foday Kanyi, Program Coordinator DA8 and Kadijatou Jallow, Education Adviser. Baro stated:
The objectives of the programme were to enable participants to link the PRS to corresponding articles in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the constitution of the Gambia, analyse the indicators and questionnaire for data collection and link them to the DA context.
Participants included Reflect and Child participation/CREST Facilitators, STAR Facilitators, Sponsorship field Officers and Cluster monitors, an Education Officer and the Women’s Rights and Education Coordinators of a partner organization.
Participants were taken through the CRC, The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), the Protocol to The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on Rights of Women in Africa, the Gambia Constitution, the National Education Policy and other Human rights instruments. This background information was meant to enhance participants’ understanding of the Human Rights instruments before engaging with 4 out of the 10 Rights in the PRS resource pack. The training methodology was very participatory with particular attention focused on how DA staff and partner organizations at the local level can better engage with and be accountable to children including ways of involving them in the PRS initiative as ‘researchers’ and not just respondents. By the end of the workshop, participants had a clear, common understanding of what PRS is, what they think it can achieve and how this can be done. They expressed commitment to take this work forward through the development of action plans outlining the next steps to be taken after the training workshop that was conducted afterwards. A three day preparatory and field exercise was then conducted from the 11th – 13th May in DA 8, Central River Region (CRR) where participants engaged the communities of Tenengfara and Sinchu Gundo using the PRS tools. In some of their findings, two girls from the same family were impregnated on the way to school and the father is seriously humiliated in his community. It was also found out that a lot of children were out of school, both male and female. The training concluded with all the 3 DAs preparing action plans and reporting formats in taking the PRS forward.