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Country Updates

A snapshot of the activities and the central events
During the Global Action Week 2004, many events were organised by Global March's national coordinators and partners across the world. Different countries and organisations were very much in to lobbying the government, issuing press releases, mapping activities, contacting the local media for proper coverage, pressuring the politicians and messaging the Heads of Governments and so on.
Liberia : Activities galore
Liberia was into a lot of activities like informing the local schools and community groups about how to take part in the ‘Big Lobby’. Community groups and teachers were mobilised to help children make a visual record of children missing out on schools through mapping activities. Local versions of the ‘Missing Out’ posters, leaflets and other campaign materials were handed out to the public. Visits by MPs, leaders and decision-makers to meet the children in local schools and education centres were arranged. Children wrote messages to the President and Heads of the State. On April 20, they were brought before the national or state legislature.
Other activities
A 3km march to the Ministry of Education.
Girls and boys get ready for soccer game to match with the spirits of the Global Action Week.
Watch out for a ‘drama show’ by ANPPCAN Child Rights Club.
Listen out for the radio broadcasts on the issue in Liberia.
Niger : Children met the President to present a charter of their demands
A national assembly of politicians was formed. The Ministry of Education together with NGOs and associations issued advocacy messages on schooling all children. Celebrities of all genres (arts, music, sports, politics) visited schools and interacted with the children and discussed with them on education. Various teachers’ unions also joined in to actively participate in the Action Week. Children sent mails and letters to the local authorities and met the President to present their charter of demands.
Nigeria: 100 children and 50 parents of out-of-school children assembled at the National Lobby
50 children from different schools including disabled, nomadic, and rural schools, 50 out-of-school children and 20 parents of out of school children were assembled at the National Lobby. This group formed a panel and visited the National Assembly for roundtable discussion with Legislators and Policy Makers. The children themselves took the lead and advocated for the education rights of their counterparts who are out of school, aiming to extract a government commitment on policy reform.
Benin: More than 100 legislators particpated
In Cotonou 1000 students and their teachers met with 111 elected representatives of the National Assembly. Children from Djibo, Dori, Seba,Gayeri and Doulsa, who are all excluded from school, have made Missing Out maps and made messages to be sent to the President.
Cameroon: Special focus on ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour
With special focus on child labourers missing out on education, around 50 children were working on ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. Cameroon has ratified the Convention in 2002. Children wrote letters to the Council of Cameroon for the Convention to be effectively implemented. Alongside large-scale mapping activities took place in 5 cities.
Other activities
500 children took part in the ‘Biggest Ever Lobby’ in Yaounde and a further 125 children lobbied in Big Mankon Bamenda, posing their questions to town councillors, mayors and MPs. When asked what they were doing for education, one of the MPs present answered, ‘we the female parliamentarians are really concerned about the state of children, especially female children. We think children have a right to education and we are committed to making this right respected in Cameroon’ .585 Messages were sent to the president in Yaounde and a further 300 in Bamenda.
Togo: 3500 children attended the state legislature/parliament
Around 3500 children attended the national or state legislature/parliament on 20th April . Pamphlets, leaflets, brochures were handed out to the public and sent to schools and other community groups. About 600 schools were expected to receive mailings and information on the Action Week. Lobbying activities like mapping, sending messages to the Head of the State and politicans visiting schools took place with great verve and enthusiasm. Publication of a survey on children out if schools in Togo, particularly referring to the situation of girls, was brought out. At least 13 groups were involved in the above-mentioned events.
Uganda: Chat shows and panel discussions on education
ANPPCAN Uganda prepared for the National workshop and the national campaign on education. While communities held football matches dedicated to education; and children filled in missing out maps, welcomed back politicians and held open days - national radio stations spread the message on education to a wider audience with chat shows and panel discussions.
Zambia: President attended an open-day at the Ministry of Education
ANPPCAN Zambia Chapter held a Children's Camp in collaboration with Children In Need Network on 24/4/04 to mark the event of Global Action Week. The camp (for 100 children) discussed the conventions CRC and 182 and their impact on education, the Zambia efforts, the African Charter and other such instruments.
There were drama, songs, debate on girls' education, story telling, proverbs, riddles and sharing of views with an old lady and gentleman talking about education in their times and on the value of education.
The presentations were recorded, a report produced and recommendations were shared with Ministry of Sports, Youth and Child Development, Ministry of Labour, Finance and Education. The president, Mr Levy Mwanawasa attended an open day at the Ministry of Education where children performed music and drama and voice their views on education. This was only one of the highlights of a jam-packed week of activities.
India: Children took part in 'symbolic voting' for education
Widespread mapping activities took place in villages of different states.In India, 14 states were selected to conduct mapping activities, specially in those areas where child labour is rampant. Reports were prepared and presented to the state Governors. Various civil societies, trade unions, youth movements, education department and students joined hands for the Global Action Week Campaign 2004. Political leaders were pressurised to make the ‘right to education’ a reality for all children by visiting local schools and helping them to understand and analyse the present status of the education system in India. Themes like sending an e-mail or letters to the President also took place. Child labour issues were broadcasted on F.M. radio to sensitise the masses. Press conferences were arranged. School children were given badges, banners, placards to take active participation in signature campaigns and mass contact programmes.
Central & State Level Events 
A coalition of civil society groups called Working Group for Global Action Week (WG4GAW) comprising of representatives from Global March Against Child Labour, Commonwealth Education Fund (CEF), Plan India, National Coalition for Education (NCE),Action for Ability Development and Inclusion (AADI), India Alliance for Child Rights (IACR), CARE, planned and coordinated national activities for the Global Action Week. They also facilitated the state-level activities.
During the six days of Global Action Week, to promote the rights of the child and emphasise on the importance of education of out-of-school children, a number of events took place In Central Delhi, India. Simultaneously other states in India and countries across the world conducted events on a similar note.
They are as follows:
19th April Human Chain: A human chain was formed with more than 1000 school-going children, freed child labourers and disabled children. Attired in a saffron ‘kurtas’ (robes) and green broad belt around their waist, they came together at 11am at Jantar Mantar, Parliament Street to give a visual show for their demands close to the heart of the seat of political power in India. Children held placards and colourful banners to cut across their message to the masses. A media group was constituted to cover the launch of the week. Stickers, posters were disseminated to the public on this occasion.
20th April Symbolic Voting: The Week of Action coincides with the start of elections and hence it is impossible to meet with any politicians. Instead a “Symbolic voting” event, was held in which massive ballot boxes were erected and children “cast their votes” for education.The groups see this as an opportunity to influence the political debate and politicians’ commitment to education for all. When people across the country will be choosing their leaders, at the same children will step forward and will fight for their rights to education.
21st April Education Symposium: A conference was held where academics and social activists discussed and talked about the current education scenario.
22nd April A public hearing and children's assembly took place.
23rd –24th April Children’s Consultation: The ‘Children’s Consultation’ allowed children a chance to express their concerns on education issues and form a set of demands to be presented to the Government of India. 200 children participated in total, drawn from: 10 different states (100) and also from within Delhi (100 children). A sharing session of the final outcome of mapping activities in different states took place and a charter was prepared to be presented to the concerning authorities.
25th April Meeting with the President & Heads of the States: The demands generated throughout the campaign were presented in a “Culmination Event” on April 25 – a small delegation met the President of India and respective state governors to present these demands.
Pakistan: Education Minister met with thousands of children
Several groups planned seminars on the subject of education. For example, a provincial level seminar in Punjab was held to examine political party manifesto to assess their commitment to education and specifically an increase in the government allocation. Some made banners to be displayed in their own cities or towns and some raised awareness through rallies and processions. Children also meet with their Minister of Education, Zobaida Jalal, on 20th April to form part of the World's Biggest Lobby.
Bangladesh: Children met parliamentarians in a question & answer session
Bangladesh was lined up with media campaigns, dialogue sessions with MP leaders, government representatives, rallies and children’s consultation for the Global Action Week. A group of 100 children met the Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia , the Education Minister, Principal Secretaries on 20th April, and a questions & answers session involving thirty children was organised with the parliamentarians. These children represented working children, the disabled, ethnic minorities, children from non-formal schools and mainstream government schools. Around 193 NGOs got involved in organising the above mentioned events.
19th April:Human Chain in Bangladesh
Around 3000 children and adults participated in the human chain, with festoons, placards and banners in Dhaka. Celebrities including film actors and actresses and national folk singers were present at the event. The main human chain was also emulated in other districts and sub-districts of Bangladesh. Also simultaneously painting and cultural programmes took place participated by children and adults in large numbers. Around 150 children painted on a 50 metre long canvas and theme was ‘Children’s perception of education (Future & present)’. In cultural events, performances of song, drama, dance, jokes, recitation, role-play and folk songs focused on the theme - “ no one will be missed out”.
Japan: Children request MPs to increase aid to education
Over one hundred teenagers attended the children's parliament organised by the Japanese coalition for EFA on the 23rd and 24th April at United Nations conference room in Tokyo. The children adopted a statement to the Japanese government. Later, children from the parliament presented their statement in meetings with 28 MPs from the ruling and opponent parties, including the former chairperson of the lower diet and the shadow cabinet members of the opposition party. They also met with senior officials from the foreign and education ministries.
Children discussed the three aspects of EFA during the parliament, namely Japanese ODA for basic education, children missing education and the quality of education in Japan. Their statement to the government clearly articulates requests to improve the foreign assistance and domestic education policy. On the occasion of the children's lobby, the Japanese coalition for EFA distributed a questionnaire to all the members of the parliament asking their position on improving the Japanese ODA policy for EFA. The results of the questionnaire were distributed to MPs and to the foreign ministry for future lobbying efforts.
Nepal: Letters to the President
Despite civil unrest, Action Week was under way. Massive groups of volunteers up and down the country collected letters from children from conflict affected areas. Since the children in these parts of the country are the ones missing out from education in Nepal due to poverty and currently also due to Maoist conflict, these organisations are determined to get these children's voices reach the Prime Minister. The letter contained the idea of children regarding why education is important and how a quality education for all can be achieved. 773 letters have been collected to give to the president. Many of these will be published in national newspapers so that the children’s voices get the best possible platform.
Public Awareness Programmes took place through street shows and dissemination of leaflets to the public. 50 schools and community groups received mailing about Global Action Week. A one-day workshop on ‘children missing out on education’ was held and children from diverse backgrounds (school going children-private and public, children out of schools and children from different institutions) participated in this workshop. A wall magazine is being prepared by ‘Child Rights’ Forum’ in Nepal on the theme of ‘children missing out’. This will be facilitated by CWIN community conscientizers. Different media organisations were also involved in these events.
Philippines: Half of Filipino children are missing out education
In the Philippines, President Arroyo launched a new Education for All initiative to enable poor families to send at least child through vocational school or university.
"More than half of Filipino children are part of the government’s deficit in its commitment for Education for All", says the Alliance of Concerned Teachers who are simultaneously mobilising the Global Action Week in the Philippines from 19th to 25th April, 2004 in support of the Global Campaign for Education.
Vietnam: Children were heard by the adults
Vietnam was into a number of activities like increasing community awareness of barriers to education and proposing corresponding solutions, providing children an opportunity to partcipate, express their views and to be heard by the adults and bringing children’s messages on education to the leaders at the local/central level for lobbying.
Other activities
Generating Stories, poems, drawings, photos, and slogans on educational issues.
Children sang, danced and performed in plays to cut across their message to the local authorities.
North America
United States: The World’s Biggest Lobby in the U.S
This week during the GCE’s 2004 Global Action Week, close to one million youth and community members in 105 countries, together with a dozen heads of state and thousands of MPs around the world, spoke up for the 100 million children missing an education in the World’s Biggest Lobby, and politicians heard them – 12 heads of state, dozens of cabinet ministers and thousands of MPs listened to the children and vowed to take action. They held lobby meetings face to face, wrote letters, formed human chains, took MPs ‘back to school’ to see for themselves the challenges in some of the world’s poorest communities.
In the United States, Maura Welch of Syracuse, NY, a U.S. youth delegate to the Children’s World Congress on Child Labor organised by the Global March May 10-13, highlighted the connections between child labour, education and poverty at a Congressional Reception on Universal Basic Education on April 20, 2004. 
Central America
Costa Rica: School-going & out-of-school children took part in mapping activities
300 children and youngsters joined hands from different areas to actively participate in consultation sessions on problems of children excluded from education. During these sessions, national versions of posters and banners were circulated to the masses and messages were sent to the parliamentarians, provincial political and government authorities. Children also mapped the education problems within their own community. Since the new legislative period will be starting from 1st May, it is hoped that the politicians will take up the needs of children deprived of education.
Panama: An inaugural seminar on 'Quality of Education & Right to Education for Out-Of-School Children'
Check out the activities taking place in Panama:
Mapping to identify the children’s who are missing in education. A big map was created with names of those children who have helped in making the map and finally the results will be presented before the Legislature.
Lobbying activities in the legislature with the participation of 200 children and youth hailing from 5 provinces of Panama
An inaugural seminar on' Quality of Education and Right to Education for Out-Of-School Children'.
South America
Argentina: Large-scale mapping activities
Argentina consists of 24 provinces and in each province the teachers along with the professors developed a province map with all the data on education. During the Global Action Week, posters were distributed to all the schools, community health centres and general masses of the country. In addition, letters were sent out to the legislature, Governors and Minister of education of each province. Radio programmes and talk shows also helped in publicising the event.
Chile: 1000 children particpated in the parliament on 20th April
Participants in the Chilean national lobby in front of Congress. 24 April 2004
Around 1000 children were brought before the national or state legislature / parliament on April 20th. Mass mailing was sent to thousands of schools and other community groups.Children who are unable to particpate in the national lobbying were involved in similar such activities in their respective regions. 53 NGOs and schools were involved in organising the event.
Ecuador: Children Drafted a Proposal for the National Congress 
A thousand children in schools in 17 cities across Ecuador designed a proposal which was presented in the National Congress on the 20th of April with a group of children lobbying the Ecuadorian Finance Minister. The GAW in Ecuador was rounded out by a symbolic event in front of the government palace and a concert for the right to an education was attended by 5000 children.
Peru: Children participated in the national lobby event 
During an emotional national lobby event with 250 children from all over Peru, a a young cajamarquina girl evoked tears from Ministers and legislators when she spoke about the plight of rural children excluded from the school system. Grammy winning musician and UNICEF ambassador Susana Baca added sparkle to the event.
The central government will be presented with Missing Out Maps made by Peruvian school children.
Albania: Activities for the world's biggest lobby
Tirana - Children's Human Rights Centre of Albania CRCA in collaboration with Global March Against Child Labour carried out the World Biggest Lobby in Albania. The purpose of the Global Campaign for Education in
Albania is to sensitise the Albanian Government for drop out of schools in Albania.
Russia: School children, child labourers, HIV/AIDS affected children-all joined hands to participate
In Russia, school children,child labourers, HIV/AIDS affected children, teachers and other NGOS have all joined hands to participate in this event of the week. Some of the main partners who were involved in the Action Week are ---Volunteer Center “Nadezhdinsk” (Serov), Regional public children’s organisation of Voronezh “Iskra”,Regional affiliate of DIMSI (Perm), Organisation of Tver “Young travellers”,Regional public foundation of Astrakhan “New Perspectives” , Regional affiliate of the New Perspectives Foundation and so on.
Under the Action Week 2004, April 19-25 2004, a number of activities were held in 8 regions of the Russian Federation, including "Politicians Go back to School", holding discussions and lessons at schools on how to get each child to school. April 19, 2004, a meeting of students from schools 405 and 411 of Moscow City with the Deputy Chief of Youth and Social Policy Service of Ivanovskoye District Council Janna Pronina was held. The event took place in UNESCO Sphera Club as part of the international Big Lobby campaign, coordinated in Russia by the New Perspectives Foundation. 40 students and 5 volunteers took part in the meeting. Students of schools 405 and 411 (with total number of 1140) were informed about the Big Lobby Action Week. April 21, 2004 a lesson was held at school #5 of Tyumen city. All the schoolchildren of the school, totaling 745 people, were informed on the Action Week 2004. 28 schoolchildren from the 8-th grade, aged 14, took part in the lesson. During the lesson the following issues were under discussion: -Why is education so necessary? -What prevents children from going to school in developing countries? -What prevents children from going to school in our country? -What does “Lobby” mean? -How can children participate in lobbying? -What can politicians do to improve the situation in the field of education? April 22, 2004, the same issues were discussed during the lesson held under the Action Week at school-lyceum #49 of Tyumen city. 24 schoolchildren, aged 10-11, from the 4-th grade took part in the lesson. Other students of the school, totaling number 1258, were informed on the Action week 2004.