«I did not know that a group of people can work together and I am more awake than before.». Girl from Burkina Faso
« Because of the WCYA, I know the community life, I know sewing and crochet and many other things. » Girl from Senegal
« I Express myself, I take part in decision making with my friends (group, association) by preparing for the future and sharing our common ideas our association has improved. »”. Boy from Burundi
« Today, I talk with others, I play, I watch the game at the stadium, I go to the cinema. Before I had no money to pay. » Boy from Rwanda
A-local and national bodies of the AMWCY
They consist of Grassroot Groups, Associations of Working Children and Youth (AWCY) and National Coordination of Associations of Working Children and Youth (NCAWCY).
They are formed by Children and Youth who agree to come together to find solutions to their problems. The groups can be created at work or recreation places or by place of origin or by activity categories.
Often, grassroots groups already exist before the arrival of the AWCY. Solidarities that are woven are old and do not depend on membership of the association. The AWCY and the overall AMWCY, strengthen their organization, give them a broader perspective and create a connection and solidarity with other groups in the same city, country and beyond borders, thus creating a valuable relationship.
3,028 groups form the base of the AMWCY (February 2012 statistics). Grassroot groups are created to deal and solve problems that their members encounter. They set up activities, choose the priority rights and concretize them.
For example, the grassroot group of Hamdallaye in Sikasso, Mali, holds meetings to help organize and set up literacy classes as the members want. Hence, an awareness program, contact with local centers to find the literacy instructors, the search for monitors, a discussion to choose the schedules with the members, etc..
In Guinea Bissau, grassroot groups, apart from internal meetings to address problems of the members and engage in activities that strengthen their unity, they “together” carry out awareness campaigns towards parents and local authorities on basic education and the 12 rights. For more exchange among themselves, they organize inter-districts sports events
– Grassroot groups created based on where people live or regrouped.
The children of the same neighborhood often foam a grassroot group. Some are learning or training, others are engaged in odd jobs to support themselves and help their families. However, since all grew up together and are fond of each other naturally, all together they decide to create a grass root group.
The girls of the same village or same group of villages come to town mostly for domestic work, as a meeting place and housing. Even if they do not live there during the week, they meet there every week on Sunday or at least once a month. They discuss their village problems in relation to the AWCY initiatives to be applied (For example, the creation of training, games and recreation places etc).
– Grassroot Groups created on the basis of workplace or job category
Following, the problems encountered, market porters show solidarity to find solutions. They even created a group in the market known as group of the porters.
Children « recyclers » go around trash cans to collect interest objects. They often do in small groups of 2 to 3. They get to know other children who do the same activity as well as the ones that buy their goods. Once finished, part of the money is used to buy lunch. After that, they often sit and wait at the dumping sites till the next day. At times, they create a solidarity Group.
It also happens that the regroupings are done by category in a town for example: all mechanics, all carpenters, the hairdressing trainees, domestic house helps etc
An Association of Working Children and Youth (AWCY) is created from a solidarity emergence among grassroot groups. We then say that grassroot groups are united by the AWCY which they constitute together.
Several grassroot groups make up a General Assembly then an Office is created and tasks are divided among the members that is to say (commissions, committees, working groups, etc.). A new association is created. It will extend the work of grassroot groups and give new tasks including lobbying with respect to authorities and public sensitization. It “engages into activity » through towns by radio transmissions, public conferences, tournaments “maracana” and public work for example cleaning of hospitals. It locally maintains contact with other child-led or devoted to child-led structures.
311 associations cement the constitution of the AMWCY (February 2012 statistic)
It is a framework, in which the WCYAs of the same country exchange their experience, develop a program of advocacy, lobbying, communication and capacity building of members, compared to the child rights.
Recognition of associations at the national level also requires the ability to participate in the coordination policy on child labour and the fight against poverty.
Today, the coordinations are becoming widespread in all countries where there are more than two associations: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea Conakry, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, DRC, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Chad, Zimbabwe. In all, there are 19 coordinations of the 24 member countries.
The national coordinators play an important role in the device of the AMWCY. They mobilize on average nearly 73% of the funds in manpower and in kind used by the AWCY and coordinations at the national level. The rest being provided by the AMWCY and programs.
Organization must therefore be as formal, recognized and must also obtain funding at the national level (particularly in programs against poverty). This formalization should not be to the detriment of the movement’s character nor be at the expense of the younger layer majority in the AMWCY. It’s a difficult balance to maintain: the experience, professionalism and constant renewal of generations.
B-regional AMWCY bodies
They consist of a General Assembly, an African Commission and thematic working groups.
• General Assembly: it takes place every three years and brings together association representatives of each country. It is the General Assembly of the AMWCY. The number of representatives depends on the number of the AWCY members of the coordination in each country. The delegation is composed as follows: children (girls and boys in equal numbers), a young (male or female) and a companion (third). It reviews the WCY actions of the last 3 years and decides the broad guidelines for the coming years
• The African Commission of the AMWCY (AFCOM): it includes all the elected national delegates from member countries (one per country). It meets once a year and plays the role of « coordination » of the Movement.
At its regular meeting, it:
• analyses the activity reports, action plans, assessment of financial support, computer support and identifies tendencies for the year.
• prepare the draft for the next meeting of the African Movement
• examines the applications from new WCYAs and make admission decisions.
• responds to invitations from regional, international and world organizations to discuss issues concerning the WCY, because delegates are the voice of the AMWCY
• decides the amount of financial support for the current year and computer support.
• Executive Managerial Group:
selected within the African Commission and has 6 members. It meets three times a year, elaborating on the activity and finance programmes with the support of Enda Youth in Action. It maintains a regular contact with the financial partners gives a description of the expenditure situation by objectives and gives instructions.
In the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Executive Managerial Group expanded to ten members, checking the progress report of the AMWCY programs.
• The «Communication » Group : develops the communication program of the Movement, does its monitoring and adaptation (information technology, development of comic books) and is responsible for writing the newsletter « WCY face the Challenge »
• The «Technical Support » Group: composed in part of seniors to help children improve through training and progress by sharing their experience.
Since 2007, to properly conduct the technical support visits and co-facilitate training and meet the high demand, 4 sub-regional groups were formed:
Group 1: Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal,
Group 2: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, Mali,
Group 3: Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Togo
Group 4: Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe
• The « mobility » Group: an update of actions on the migration of children with the partners involved in this program. Conduct research and develops relevant tools to support the children in migration (leaflets, text, cartoons)