If we could take just one example of where the marginalization, poverty and discrimination are dramatic barriers for the development of children by preventing their access to education, healthcare and nutrition, the Occupied Palestinian Territory would be one of these emblematic places to find this sad reality. In addition to the programmes developed to enhance the quality of children’s lives and ensure their protection, Save the Children has also launched its new global campaign Every Last Child in Palestine.

This campaign will tackle some of the key causes of exclusion in order to help set the world on the trajectory to end preventable child deaths and achieve learning for every child within a generation. In Palestine, this will include targeting marginalized and excluded children living in Area C, East Jerusalem, and Gaza in addition to reaching out and improving the lives of children with disabilities, child detainees and ex detainees, refugee and internally displaced children, child labourers, and those who live in extreme poverty.

“We believe that each and every child matters and all children have an equal right to live in dignity with equal opportunities to survive, learn, be protected, and to fulfil their dreams. We, at Save the Children, will do whatever it takes to reach the world’s most excluded children and ensure these rights are upheld”, said Jennifer Moorehead, the Palestinian Country Director.

Ensure the rights of children who were detained by Israeli forces will be one of the objectives of our campaign. “Currently there are over 420 child detainees in Israeli prisons, and this number has increased 15% over the last two years,” reported Carol Zoabi, YMCA Program Director.  YMCA and Save the Children work together in the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-detainees children, one of the most marginalized populations in Palestine.

 

First achievements

During the launch, the participants met the members of the newly elected National Child Advisory Council, which represents one of the first annual achievements for Save the Children in Palestine and is one step forward to ensuring effective child engagement. Five of the 22 members - elected from over 120 child-led monitoring groups across the country - spoke at the conference. They talked about the necessity of ensuring that all children, especially the most marginalised and excluded, have access to safe and inclusive education.

“I was elected to represent children in all areas, especially the poor, the disabled and children with learning disabilities. I am part of this council to give children a stronger voice and to report on all violations against children. We have to work hard to change the many policies in our country that exclude children in villages or children with disabilities”, Baghdad Salihi an 11-year-old girl and member of the Child Advisory Council said at the event.

The event was attended by Sabri Saidam, the Minister of Education and Higher Education, who showed his commitment to support Save the Children’s campaign. Saidam announced the Ministry’s position to have the Child Advisory Council as an official children’s advisory council to the ministry. “I truly believe in the importance of the aims of Save the Children’s Every Last Child campaign and in the importance of working together to make sure that no child will be left behind. This requires that we all work together to provide them with equal access to social services and opportunities,” the Minister said.

The Child Advisory Council is a great progress to ensure that children have a voice and are heard and participate in developing plans, policies, programs, implementing activities, and budgets that target different areas of their lives.