Learning to work towards a better future for children in Mali

#In this image, there are child parliamentarians holding their advocacy guide in hand.

Have you ever participated in a training on advocacy and media?

If not let me share with you an extraordinary experience that took place at the Cité des Enfants in Mali. Presided over by the National Directorate for the Promotion of Children and Families with the support of UNICEF, this training aimed to strengthen the skills of young people in advocacy and media communication so that they can defend their rights in a meaning full way.

I could never have imagined becoming a part of the Children's Parliament of Mali, let alone having the opportunity to undergo training on advocacy. As a young parliamentarian, I have always been passionate about advocating for the rights and interests of children in my country. 

"Earatanfouk tegaré." ("For every child, education" in Tamashek)

Abdrahamane Ag Mohamed, Child parliamentarian of Bamako

However, I didn't know where to start or how to make my voice heard effectively. The advocacy training was exactly what I needed to acquire the necessary skills to confidently and impactfully defend my convictions.

During the training, I was immersed in a stimulating environment, surrounded by other passionate and determined young individuals who were eager to make a difference. We learned the fundamental principles of advocacy, media communication, and political engagement. Each day, we woke up with a thirst for learning and an unwavering determination to develop our skills.

The trainers were experts in their field and guided us throughout the process. They taught us techniques to develop robust advocacy plans, how to research and use data to strengthen our arguments, and how to effectively address policy makers. I realized that advocacy is not just about expressing opinions, but also requires careful preparation, thorough research, and building alliances with other key stakeholders.

"Denmisɛn bɛɛ ka kan ka kuma." ("All children have the right to speak," in Bambara)

Bakary Soumano, President of the Children's Parliament of Koulikoro

Thanks to this training, I gained confidence and competence to express my ideas and advocate for children's rights with conviction and relevance. I now feel better prepared to actively contribute to building a better future for children in my country, and I am determined to continue making our voices heard with determination and passion. I firmely believe that we, the youth, have an essential role to play in the development of our society, and I am proud to be part of the Children's Parliament of Mali to advocate for our rights and aspirations with strength and perseverance.

The media training was a revelation for us, the young parliamentarians, as it helped us understand how media can play a crucial role in our advocacy. We learned how to use various media platforms to effectively raise public awareness about the issues close to our hearts.

The trainers explained how to write impactful press releases, conduct convincing interviews, and create compelling messages for social media. They showed us how media can be powerful allies in spreading our ideas and demands.

"The absence of scientific subjects in Menaka shatters our dreams."

Aliou Moussa, child parliamentarian of Menaka.

Thus, the combination of advocacy and media training has equipped us with a comprehensive set of tools to be effective and influential advocates for children's rights. We are now better prepared to face challenges, overcome obstacles, and deliver our messages with renewed strength.

Thanks to this training in advocacy and media, I feel more determined than ever to continue making our voices heard and working towards a better future for all children in Mali. As Nelson Mandela rightly said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world," and this training has given us the keys to wield this weapon wisely and effectively.

Together, we can create a lasting positive impact and build a future where every child in Mali can thrive and fulfill their full potential. The road may be fraught with obstacles, but with our determination, passion, and knowledge, we are ready to take on the challenge. The change begins now, and we are proud to be part of this transformation for a better Mali.

#In this image, we can see Makan Traoré, a parliamentary child from the district of Bamako, speaking in favor of his fellow parliamentarians.
# In this image, we can see Aliou Moussa, a young parliamentary representative from Menaka, passionately pleading in front of the authorities.