More than 1000 participants joined an event organized by UNICEF and NCFA to celebrate the World Children's Day calling for a better reality and future for children and expressing their views on the kind of decisions they would make if they were to take over certain responsibilities that enable them to achieve their hopes and demands.
Children from public and private schools and Makani centers attended the event, along with several government officials, members of civil society, diplomatic corps, the UN, private sector representatives and the media.
The event coincided with the launch of the "Children taking over" Initiative and focused on the messages of 17 children who played the roles of influential persons in Jordan like ministers and famous media and private sector figures and presented their own views of a childhood-friendly reality. The first interactive children handbook on Convention on the Rights of the Child was distributed to the children during the event.
In her speech, Dr. Hala Lattouf, Minister of Social Development, reaffirmed the government's commitment to developing policies for childhood protection, saying that: "Steps have been taken to improve the level of childhood services and protection. But, today we have to work outside the box and provide better protection and services to our children, and this is exactly what we seek to accomplish with our partners."
Lattouf commended the launch of the interactive handbook as it has an impact on the enhancement of children's awareness on the principles of the CRC which, she said, concentrates on non-discrimination against children and the guarantees to their existence, development and protection against social, economic and environmental dangers, in addition to the realization of their best interests and the expansion of their engagement in their own issues and in the provisions of the CRC.
On his part, NCFA Secretary-General Fadel Al-Hmoud pointed out that despite Jordan's accomplishments in the area of child rights, efforts must continue to achieve what is best for the children.
"NCFA chaired by HM Queen Rania Al-Abdullah is committed to working with its partners from governmental and non-governmental institutions, donors and UNICEF on the formulation of policies that strengthen the family's status and care for children particularly in their earlier years so as to have a proper upbringing and quality services", added Al-Hmoud, noting that the celebration of the Children's Day under this year's slogan "Children Taking Over" should be translated into action and not words by giving our children the chance to think about and plan their future and make decisions that are in their best interests.
During the ceremony, the Prime Minister Dr. Hani AL-Mulqi met with Ainour Alawneh, (16 years) who said that if she were to take over his position as prime Minster, she would establish a ministry for childhood that responds to the needs of children in Jordan. Al-Mulqi, on the other hand, stressed through a video message presented at the event government's commitment to realize the children's welfare.
Taking part in the exchange of roles with children were: Minsters of Education, Media, Social Development and Youth, NCFA Secretary-General, Ambassador of the European Union, British Ambassador, UN Coordinator in Jordan, Jordan Aviation Chairmen, Chief Executive of ZAIN, Amman Mayor, Ro'ya TV General Manager, Al-Ghad Newspaper Chief Editor, morning radio host at Rotana Radio, Basketball coach, Deputy General- Manager at Shoman Foundation and UNICEF Representative/Jordan. Videos of the initiative were posted on UNICEF's official page on Facebook.
"Let us make a commitment to strive stronger together towards ending violence, achieving universal kindergarten and inclusive quality education, providing adolescents with the right kind of skills, and empowering the most disadvantaged girls and boys in Jordan to access these services," said UNICEF representative Robert Jenkins at the event.
The ceremony concluded with a performance by a choir comprised of children and Jordanian pop stars including Nida' Shararah, Macadi Nahhas and Tony Qattan who sang a new song called "I am a child"; some of the song words were: “If you can’t see hope tomorrow, listen to my voice… If you can't create a thought, give me a book and freedom."