The tdh SEA youth network is a group of children and young people from 7 project countries of terre des hommes in Southeast Asia (i.e. Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam). This network was formed during the Regional Children and Youth Partners’ Meeting last 17-20 January 2012 in Nakon Nayok, Thailand. Its purpose then was simply to share information about child rights issues in the 7 countries and work together to address these common issues in the region.
The RCYPM in Thailand was not the first time for tdh-Germany in Southeast Asia to provide a venue for children partner dialogue. In Southeast Asia, children and youth have also been involved in the national and regional partners’ meetings. In 2006, children and youth were resource speakers during the National Partners’ Meeting (NPM) in Indonesia. In the same year in the Philippines, a children and youth meeting was held parallel to the National Partners’ Meeting in July of the same year, and most recently, during the meeting last August 2011. At the regional level, children and youth representatives were invited as thematic resource speakers during the Regional Partners’ Meeting (RPM) in 2007 in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. And in Mae Sot, Thailand in 2009, 13 children and youth joined the adults in the RPM after a separate 3-day regional workshop on child participation.
Two years after the first RCYPM, children and youth have continued their participation in National Partners’ Meetings. The tdh SEA Youth Network also elected two young people to represent them in the 8th Regional Partners’ Meeting in Tagaytay, Philippines. Through this participation, the young people were able to gain commitment and support from the adults representing different NGO’s in the region.
The 2ndRCYPM (in 2013), which was held in Bogor, Indonesia reinforced the young people’s commitment to the SEA Youth Network. They also expanded their objectives to include: sharing of information for joint action; capacity-building; learning from children and adults; and, cultural exchange. Two common issues for advocacy and campaign were also identified: education and ecology.
Aside from national and regional participation, the tdh SEA Youth Network was able to choose representatives to the Rio+20 in Brazil in 2012 and the Delegates’ Conference in 2013 in Germany.
This year, the tdh SEA Youth Network sent representatives to the following events:
1. International Youth Conference for the Right to Water in Germany (March 2014)
2. ASEAN People’s Forum in Myanmar (March 2014)
3. CRC Asia Regional Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia (August 2014)
Just recently, the 3rd Regional Children and Youth Partners’ Meeting was held in Bago Region, Myanmar. This was attended by 21 children and young people. Through this meeting, the young people continued to learn about each other’s work in the different countries, as well as the different issues in the countries. To be able to successfully do their joint actions, the young people learned about communication, campaign and leadership.
The members of the SEA Youth Network, now in their home countries, continue to discuss with their peers, the joint campaign with the other countries, particularly the activity for the Global Action Month with the International Youth Network.