In the middle of April, I travelled to Stockholm with my fellow Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) colleague Martin Russell to attend the annual Unicef National Committee Child Rights Education Workshop.
We had four action-packed days working with lots of Unicef representatives from high and middle income countries all over the world. We left the workshop feeling very inspired, and also proud of the work we do with all our Rights Respecting Schools in the UK.
During the trip we visited one of Unicef Sweden’s nine rights-based schools. The children we met at the school all talked eloquently about their rights and took us around the school and showed us lots of displays and pictures about rights using hands, globes and origami. “Everyone is a lot more aware of rights, feels safer, everyone is nicer,” the children at the school said. The school’s teachers and senior leadership team told us how they experience this work as a journey – this very much echoes with what we hear in our own Rights Respecting Schools in the UK.
The workshop also provided fabulous opportunities to share all the great work that our Rights Respecting Schools teachers and pupils are doing with Unicef colleagues from around the world, including from Hong Kong, the USA, Slovenia and Iceland. There are lots of countries starting Rights Respecting-related work in their schools and we know this also comes from the many visits Rights Respecting Schools have kindly hosted over the years for international Unicef colleagues.
We spent time hearing from Unicef colleagues about the exciting work on youth and child participation happening around the world. Check out this great example from Unicef Australia below – will this inspire some of our secondary schools?
In our spare time, we managed to fit in a visit to the legendary ABBA museum in Stockholm. Unicef and ABBA are still working together as ABBA continue to donate all the proceeds of Chiquitita to Unicef Sweden.
If you’re interested in learning more about Child Rights Education in other countries, I’d recommend you read Unicef’s recent report on teaching and learning about rights in industrialised countries. The report highlights that in 15 out of 26 industrialised countries children lack easy access to child rights education. It also shows many examples of how Unicef and civil society partners are successfully addressing all aspects of child rights education in the countries analysed.