byJyry Virtanen via web
The activities of the Global School, Children’s Board (CB), Young Adults’ Network (YAN) and local volunteer groups reached altogether 31,000 adults, young people and children in 2016.
The Child Rights’ ambassadors of Global School project visited 204 schools and reached 10,033 children. A 10-lesson series on Child Rights for pupils in 5th and 6th class of elementary school, named “Lapsen oikeuksien kymppi” in Finnish, was implemented in 42 groups in 17 schools through the child rights ambassadors. 87% of ambassadors’ lessons were evaluated very successful in terms of content and methods used. 121 teachers and educators received trainings on child rights, and 96% of the participants responded to the feedback questionnaire having used the methods and materials they received. Collaboration and interaction between 11 Finnish and Ugandan schools across Finland and in three districts in Uganda continued to enhance children’s participation in schools and reached 574 children. Plan Global School also produced a Finnish version of the 360 virtual reality document ‘My New Home’ of a refugee girl at a camp in Tanzania and teaching material for schools. Through the document students can explore issues related to forced migration and how it affects the realization of child rights. The development of digital tools and material will continue in the 2017.
The 20-member Children’s Board handed to Minister of Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen their social media pic petition on climate change, which was done in cooperation with the Plan Young Adults’ Network, Kepa and Climate Parents. CB interviewed former President Tarja Halonen in a televised concert and the Minister of Development Kai Mykkänen in Plan’s International Day of the Girl event. CB celebrated 15th anniversary together with old members and some important affiliates and produced a video on their former and present members for this purpose.
CB campaigned for girl’s rights and gender equality in three big events in the Helsinki region. Run-up to the International Day of the Girl was marked by a photograph campaign and six events in co-operation with local youth councils.
Plan’s volunteers initiated 76 awareness raising, global education and advocacy events which was a significant increase from the previous year. 69 photo exhibitions in 10 different themes were set up in public and semi-public spaces by volunteers, reaching 3,450 viewers. All the events reached 9,995 people. A new way of engaging libraries and make them campaign independently for Plan’s cause was developed, which made it possible to reach a greater number of people.
YAN had 45 actively participating members in their groups and teams reached 1,313 participants. YAN produced a game where people had to carry out tasks on climate change in order to get out of a metal cage. The cage was taken to three big summer events in Helsinki, Evo and Turku. Climate change was also discussed in local events in Jyväskylä, on social media and in the network’s blog.
The MFA funding cuts resulted in a turbulent year for the domestic personnel and project functions. While the global education work still reached most of the objectives, the level of quality assurance was lowered, and CB, YAN and volunteers lost a good part of their organizational support. Staff turnover forced many of the ongoing activities to be scaled down and restructuring processes were set in motion. A number of the result indicators could not be collected due to the lack of human resources and uncertainty about the activities to be maintained. To overcome the difficulties, Plan also established new partnerships and explored new methods of working and service delivery, especially in the field of ICT. For example, the Global School participated into a joint global education project “Koulu maailmaa muuttamaan” together with a number of other Finnish CSOs, and the cooperation with Finnish Scouts deepened with Plan’s participation in the week long World Scout Jamboree Roihu summer camp.
The YAN tried to restructure with the support of only a half-time coordinator, based more on self-organizing and coordination by the youth themselves. It proved to be challenging, and the number of people reached and events organized were lower than expected. The work to find the best working model for the network is still continuing. The sustainability of Plan’s local volunteer groups was also weakened due to reduced supporting personnel. The required support for well-functioning groups is labor-intensive and time-consuming, and some less active local groups could not be encouraged sufficiently. Two volunteers were recruited to support the coordination of volunteer work in the Plan office, but it did not prove to be an effective way to relieve the shortage of personnel, due to the trouble of introducing the persons to the task.
Cooperation between youth in Finland and youth in Pakistan and Vietnam could not be continued in 2016, and the Global Education work between Finnish and Ugandan schools remained the only project of exchange and learning between children from different countries despite the strong international presence of Plan Finland.