Discussion on children's participation held in Osijek

The representatives of the academic community, decision makers and associations discussed ways to improve children's participation

Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs (GOfNGOs), as the National Contact Point of the European Union program Citizent, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) and the Centre for dismissed and abused children from Osijek organised a pannel discussion on Children's participation in rural areas, on 17 March 2022, in the space of the Old Bakery in Osijek Fortresse.
The assembly has gathered a number of representatives of CSOs, local and regional self-government units and the media.
In his welcomed speeches, the Deputy County Prefect, Mato Lukić pointed out that the Osijek-Baranja County can be satisfied with the children's rights respect. Also, they listen to young people trying to help them because there is a place for them in the labour market.
The Osijek Deputy Mayor, Jasenka Crnković stressed that the Town of Osijek was announced a Child-friendly City in 2010, and that the Children's Town Council is active in the city. Also, Osijek is trying to encourage children to be motivated participants in community development, to express their opinion.
Helena Beus, the GOfNGOs Director, highlighted that the civil society organisations can make large contribution to the community development, especially regarding cooperation with the local and regional self-governments units, but, when it comes to children's participation schools and parents play an important role.
In the panel discussion, a professor Ivana Borić, Ph.D. from the Educationa and Rehabilitation Faculty presented the Guidelines for Children's Participation and the main recommendations of the recently conducted report on children's participation. Professor Borić stressed out that in the rural areas many services are often not available for children, but community relations, which are the basis of coexistence, are at the same time more immediate.
Mato Lukić, Deputy County Prefect, responsible for the sector of health and social care pointed out that in recent years, this County has allocated significant funds for the construction of various infrastructure in all local self-government units in the County in order to contribute to equal participation of children.
Anita Barišić from the Social Work Study of the Faculty of Law talked about the effect on the children mental health which need to be addressed systematically. Barišić also highlighted the problem of lack of social workers in schools, considering that social work educates future experts that will deal with children in the process of advocating children's particiation.
Tomisal Ramljak from the Centre for Dismissed and Abused Children talked about the Centre experiences working with children in rural communities, while Željka Markulin from the National Contact Point presented briefly financial options for projects through CERV program in the area of children's rights protection.
Discussion was moderated by Ana Veočić from the CDAC, and here is the video from the event https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=LdBNs4SSSvA
Following the panel discussion, on the next day, 18 March 2022., in the same space, the National Contact Point held the interactive workshop for developing project ideas within the CERV program for all the interested applicants dealing in their daily work with protection of children and prevention of violence agaings children and domestic violence, children's participation in Croatia, as well as recommendations for improving public policies and practices in the field of children's rights, but also other topics coverec by the CERV program.
CERV program is the largest EU program in history to promote and protect civil participation, democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights, common European history, transparency and good governance, and to combat all forms of violence, including violence against children, gneder-based violence and family violence.