The CATS Forum 2018 (Children as Actors Transforming Society) was dedicated to creating safety in partnership, as way to address violence against children. The forum gathered almost 300 participants, of which about half were under 18 years old. The heart intention of this forum’s edition was to equip participants with tools that can help them deal with violence through partnership between children and adults.
This year’s theme was ‘Safe Togehter’, which was approached through the ‘Protective Environment Framework’ (PEF) developed by UNICEF, which offers eight key focuses for ending all violence against all children. CATS displayed these eight areas as sections of a colourful umbrella. If one part of the umbrella is not working, the rain will get through and the child will not be protected.
The framework was used in workshops, group activities and social times throughout the week. There was one workshop for each section of the umbrella, allowing smaller groups to discuss the topic, delve into personal issues and come up with solutions. Parallel arts and skills workshops aimed to help participants put what they learnt in the PEF workshops into practice. These included sessions on dance, poetry and on helping children speak out. Lauriann from the UK said, ‘I have learnt so much from the workshops. I can take ideas to help me with my job. They also helped me understand more about other cultures.’
A series of Together Times for the whole forum built community and allowed children and adults to work together. One of the highlights was the Human Library, in which participants volunteer to share their stories of combatting violence against children with small groups. Many hard-hitting and inspirational stories were shared, from overcoming bullying to supporting victims of violence in different countries.
Both children and adults developed their knowledge and skills to implement actions to fulfil the strategies needed for a safer environment for children. At the same time, they were supported in imagining and planning their own social action. With the aim of addressing the root causes of violence against children in their local environments. Through an ongoing collaboration between children and adults.
Here you can find the year book with all the activities of CATS 2018 (please, scroll down to ‘other documents’).