At ChildFund New Zealand, our Theory of Change includes three programmatic areas: Ensuring the basic needs of children and youth are met; Keeping children and youth protected from harm; and Listening to children's opinions on issues that affect them most.
We believe that by combining these elements, we can help children and youth to thrive. Here are some recent examples of how, through the support of our New Zealand sponsors and donors, we have been listening to children's opinions on issues that affect them most:
Helping children to know their rights
In Child Rights Clubs, not only do child members learn about their rights, but they form action plans to be able to influence change they feel is important to them around child rights. This might include activities like meeting with the School Board of Trustees to ask for better facilities, or to get their support to end corporal punishment, as very real examples.
In Luangwa, the dedicated community in Zambia where ChildFund New Zealand works, we strengthen the efforts of those who participate in Child Rights Clubs by also training community elders, traditional and civic leaders, church representatives and other influential members of society on issues to do with child protection, and to look at how to improve child safety in their community.
Inspiring young people to lead change
Children thrive when their needs are addressed through very specific initiatives; when they are listened to; and when they can have a role in making the change they want to see happen, themselves.
In Timor-Leste, the population below the age of 35 accounts for 74% of the total population. Consequently, young people have the potential to play an extremely important role in the country's achievement of its future development aspirations.
One of ChildFund's initiatives in Timor-Leste is called Inspiring Young Changemakers, which gives young people an opportunity to take part in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the policies and programmes that affect their lives. They have also been using theatre art shows to relay messages to others in the community - sharing their knowledge and pushing for positive changes in attitudes and behaviour.