Carly Walker-Dawson, IFM-SEI candidate for CoE Advisory Council

IFM-SEI is nominating our Secretary General, Carly Walker-Dawson, for the Council of Europe’s Advisory Council on Youth. The elections will take place on 21-22 April at the European Youth Forum (YFJ) COMEM. We hope that YFJ member organisations will support IFM-SEI’s candidature.

You can find the candidacy documents by following links below:

  1. AC Nomination IFM-SEI
  2. AC Motivation Letter IFM-SEI
  3. AC Nomination Letter Carly Walker-Dawson
  4. CV Carly Walker-Dawson

We would like to outline some of our motivation below, however the documents above describe our full candidature.

IFM-SEI motivation

IFM-SEI has a long history of good cooperation with the Council of Europe Youth Department. We consistently deliver study sessions and thematic work plans on an annual basis in partnership with the European Youth Foundation and European Youth Centres. In the past years we have delivered study sessions on the topics of child refugees, disability and inclusion, and tackling violence towards children and youth. Our work plans have focused on topics such as the importance of group work, peace education and the prevention of sexual violence. We also have long-term experience working with EYF structural grants.

IFM-SEI sat on the development team for the Council of Europe Charter on HRE/EDC (Human Rights Education/Education for Democratic Citizenship), in particular advising them on the preparation of the child-friendly version of the charter. We are also in the expert group preparing the next HRE/EDC conference, taking place in June 2017. IFM-SEI is the only youth organisation involved in this process, representing the youth and non-formal education sector. We have also joined expert meetings on non- formal education and have contributed to discussions around quality standards and good practice in non- formal education. We will be able to bring our experience with the three priorities of Council of Europe in the mandate 2018-19.

Priority 1: Access to rights

IFM-SEI is a children’s rights movement and we are a global player in child and youth rights. Through peer education, we aim to educate children and young people about their rights and support them to ensure they are respected. Children’s rights is one of our thematic areas in our current strategic work plan 2016- 19, as well as the previous work plan. We are active in the field of children’s rights advocacy and we are a member of the Children’s Rights Action Network (CRAG).

Human rights and children’s rights education is cross-cutting through all of our educational work. Our projects on the access to rights include the Charter for All study session on human rights education and a Compasito training course, both delivered in partnership with the Council of Europe. For the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention of the Rights of a Child, we published a UNCRC Anniversary education pack. Our upcoming work includes a consultation on children’s rights advocacy and the creation of a strategic plan on children’s rights advocacy.

We believe that organisations should take a critical rights-based approach that cross-cutting our campaign and educational work. It is the role of youth movements to take a strong stance against children’s rights and human rights violations happening in society and we must feed into political debates and strongly criticise practices such as corporal punishment, child labour, homophobia and transphobia.

Priority 2: Youth participation and youth work

Being child and youth led is the main characteristic that brings together IFM-SEI organisations. Children and young people are actively involved in our decision-making structures – active child and youth participation is a prerequisite of all member organisations – and we have a hard youth quota in our constitution. Many of our member organisations are recognised by external partners as experts in the field of child and youth participation.

We are currently delivering a two-year project called On The Move, a global project on regional youth work in relation to refugees and migration. Another project is the Partnerships for Participation project on child participation, giving 10 global EVS volunteers working the opportunity with young people in local communities on the topic and the publication of a handbook. Getting Out Getting Skills is a global project on volunteering, non-formal education and outdoor education. We also delivered the Peers Without Frontiers project on peer education and the MDGs. Last year we undertook a thematic work plan, called Group Matters, on the importance of local youth work. Our upcoming work includes a seminar on adultism and child participation with kids, the development of IFM-SEI child participation strategy and a growth project to support grassroots youth work.

We want to promote the active, meaningful and non-tokenistic participation of children and young people in decision-making on all levels within European Youth Forum member organisations and through the Council of Europe. It is our firm belief that children and young people are able to make decisions and have valid opinions on a wide variety of issues from a local to a global level but they need to be heard in society.

Priority 3: Inclusive and peaceful societies

Inclusion is one of the main educational and campaigning focuses of IFM-SEI and the majority of our activities fit under this umbrella. The All Together and All Together 2.0 strategies on the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities has been a main pillar of our work since 2007, aiming to include more young people with fewer opportunities in our activities and structures. The thematic areas of gender and sexuality, accessibility, migration and refugees, and combating right-wing extremism are featured in our strategic work plan 2016-19. IFM-SEI has a Rainbow Network, Feminist Network, Migration Network and Accessibility Network to support our inclusion work.

We have many projects around the topics. At present we are delivering the I Act thematic work plan for the prevention of sexual violence using the bystander model. In the past year we have implemented a Peace Education thematic work plan, with seminars on peace education and conflict resolution and toolkit development. We also ran study sessions on the topic such as All In, on disability and inclusion with ENIL Youth and Tackling the Culture of Violence study session on violence towards children, both in cooperation with the Council of Europe. Our flagship resource is the Rainbow Resources handbook on sexuality and gender education and we also have published a Gender equality handbook, IFM-SEI inclusion workshop guide and All Together: Making Inclusion Happen handbook. We have had a number of campaigns over the years particularly around sexual and gender diversity, and we co-deliver the annual Queer Easter on LGBTQIA rights with YES. Our future work includes producing a child-friendly documentary on children in conflict areas, a Middle East study visit, a 101 conflict and peace seminar for kids, a seminar on bodies and body positivity and an educational process on how to be an ally.

Quality representation

Our representative, if elected, is the current Secretary General of IFM-SEI. First and foremost, this means she will be able to dedicate the time and energy required of the position due to her working full-time for the organisation. She has a comprehensive overview of the organisational priorities and strategy as well an in-depth insight into the wider youth sector through her representational role. She has worked alongside many other European Youth Forum organisations, therefore she is well placed to bring in the perspectives of other youth movements. Furthermore, she has experience in British Youth Council, as well as IFM-SEI, so she understands the structures, priorities and needs of NYCs as well as INYGOs.

IFM-SEI’s last study session with the Council of Europe, Children on the Move, in March 2017

Carly’s motivation

I firmly believe that children and young people are essential stakeholders for the promotion of human rights, democracy, peace and cooperation. It is my conviction that children and young people should be actively involved in all decision-making processes, and that children and young people are competent enough to make decisions and have valid opinions on global issues as well as more local issues a ecting them more directly. Young people are the ones mostly affected by poverty, unemployment and forced displacement and as victims of violence and social exclusion. Despite this, young people are disproportionally under-represented in decision-making in the world at large and even sometimes within our own youth movements. Decisions concerning young people needs to be taken with their full and active participation if these trends are to be reversed.

I am eager to contribute to the important work the Advisory Council in order to move the process of higher representation of young people in decision-making bodies and youth mainstreaming further in the right direction. My experience as a trainer and educator over the last 10 years means that I have the lived experience of human rights education. The combination of a solid organisational background and theory around non-formal education enables me to apply both my practical experience and theoretical perspectives when developing strategies for policy work with the Advisory Council. I would also like to bring to the table the standpoints and experience of a diverse range of youth movements from across Europe, particularly those that don’t often have a voice. I would like to work to ensure that all youth organisations are empowered and suppor- ted to have access to the programmes of the Youth Department of the Council of Europe.

I believe that my background and expertise, together with the support and backing of IFM-SEI, could be an asset to the Advisory Council. I am highly motivated to draw on my experience within the fields of human rights education, empowerment of young people and international policy work to promote the European Youth Forum’s policy and priorities within the Advisory Council. The priorities of IFM-SEI are closely aligned to those of the Advisory Council 2018-19, therefore I feel we could contribute a great deal to this mandate in particular.

Please do get in touch at contact@ifm-sei.org and/or carly@ifm-sei.org if you have any further questions!

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