Training and Awakening of Awareness with SAVE THE CHILDREN

... We approached the Defense and Security Forces, then the FRCI, to sensitize and train the military to the Rights and the Protection of children and women in times of armed conflict.

You are retired Colonel of the Army and have actively participated in the implementation of the African Coordination of Human Rights for the Armed Forces (CADHA). What are your stakes for you?

Since my retirement, I have been the Save the Children representative to the military. To help him educate his staff on Human Rights. My role is to lead, on behalf of the NGO, in collaboration with the focal point, the initiators and the FRCI, the implementation of the CADHA project.

The challenge is to sustain the initiative by incorporating new training modules that directly affect the military. It is necessary to inculcate in these, the legal instruments that guarantee the rights of children, the harmful effects of conflicts on them, and the measures to be taken to save them.

What is the level of involvement of Save the Children in the organization of the CADHA Open Days ?

We were associated by the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI). I am invited as a consultant coordinator of Save the Children, which I represent at the various preparatory meetings. We participated in three or four successive meetings.

Where it was a question of floor on the process of realization of the Open Days. Among other things, the preparation of budgets relating to the organization of the event. During the discussions, we made our proposals.

Each participant, as a partner of the FRCI, explained his position on the issue of the meeting and the need to take part in it.

Qu’est-ce qui a motivé l’intérêt de Save the Children pour cet événement ?

Prior to this initiative, Save the Children had already been heavily involved since 2004 in defending human rights in Côte d'Ivoire. We moved closer to the Defense and Security Forces, then the FRCI, to sensitize and train the military on the rights and protection of children and women in armed conflict. These Open Days are, for us, an additional opportunity to communicate our ideals of protection and respect for the rights of vulnerable groups. As Save's coordinating consultant on the military project, we were mandated to carry his message and, in turn, benefit from the experience of other participants. It should also be remembered that the Ivorian Army has signed a partnership agreement since 2004 with Save the Children to lead this project. It is therefore well indicated that we are indeed present at these meetings. From the moment when speaking about the CADHA, it is to take an interest in the Rights of the children in situation of armed conflict. We who have made human rights our credo, are happy to be involved in this initiative.

As an organization for the promotion and defense of the rights of vulnerable people, given the awareness-raising actions you have taken with the military, have you noted an improvement in the humanitarian situation in Côte d'Ivoire?

Since 2004, we have carried out awareness-raising and training of armed men. We realize today that we have come a long way. After the crisis, the format of the new army became important. Sensitization, instructions and training of military personnel have become necessary. We continue to integrate modules on children's rights and protections in military units. Save has therefore equipped and instructed military officials who, from now on, are able to relay their knowledge to their units throughout the national territory. To sustain these achievements, we are in permanent contact with our focal point in the army who is also the legal adviser of the Chief of Staff. We are collaborating for the continuation of this project.

What can we learn from your participation in CADHA's activities?

Let us remember that on the pedagogical level, we made cards and pedagogical documents that were made available to the military. In addition to this, for 10 years, through our organization, a child rights protection unit has been created in the army, and housed in the General Staff in the Plateau. The head of this cell is our focal point. Among its activities, the cell has contributed to perpetuate the culture of peace, through the defense, promotion and respect of the rights of children before, during and after armed conflicts. It continues today to work in this direction.

You will certainly have a stand during these Open Days. What is Save the Children going to present on this occasion?

We will be there to popularize our messages and value our action. At first, we will explain to all the population, civil and military, that Save the Children was created in 1919 in London. It is an international non-governmental organization that works in more than 120 countries to advocate for children. Visitors will also know that Save has been established in Côte d'Ivoire since 1996. In addition to the Abidjan Country Office, we have four other offices in the country. They are located in Man, Abengourou, Bouaké and Odienné. Save has four administrative departments (Programs, Operations, Finance and Human Resources).

The NGO runs five programs: - Oev program; - health and nutrition program; - education program; - protection program; - good governance program for the defense and respect of children's rights.

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