Advocacy: Our Campaigns for Change

War Child advocates for vital psychosocial support to be included in international humanitarian responses - and in 2018 we enjoyed some notable campaigning successes.

In February we held a Special Procedure in the Dutch Parliament in collaboration with several of our partners - including Health Works, Antares, The Free University of Amsterdam and MHPSS.NET.

Jeppe Schilder

The event explored the urgent need to provide mental health to children and their families affected by crisis and saw speeches from academic experts and researchers from the World Health Organisation. This led to the Dutch government making mental healthcare and psychosocial support in emergencies a priority issue - representing a significant campaigning achievement.

War Child also works to ensure the voices of children and youth are heard - and influence the decision-making processes that affect their lives. We convened a major Youth Conference in Uganda during October - which saw participants from five conflict-affected African countries come together to discuss violence and its impact on mental health and wellbeing.

The findings from the youth conference will be shared in international networks - helping to influence change. War Child will also draw on these findings to inform the design of our programmes - ensuring they remain relevant to the needs of children and youth.

Andy Hall

We also continued our efforts in support of the increasing number of children affected by urban violence between armed gangs in major cities. A petition containing 10,000 signatures was presented to Dutch parliamentarians in July calling for renewed efforts to address urban violence in foreign policy.

Efforts to engage with the increasing incidence of urban violence are not merely a moral imperative - they also contribute towards key outcomes of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We continued our work - as part of the Dutch Palestine Coalition - to strengthen the protection of Palestinian children from torture and other forms of degrading treatment - particularly those in the criminal justice system. Advocacy efforts were undertaken both in the Netherlands and inside the occupied Palestinian territories.

When we see that children’s rights are violated - no matter by whom - we speak out.