PRESIDENT'S REPORT

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INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR CHILD WELFARE

   

San Jose, May 6th. 2003

Dear Colleagues:

Travel.

I just returned from a trip to several countries (Argentina, Uruguay and Peru) of South America.  The purpose of the trip was to meet with some NGOs working with children, to learn about their activities and needs and to promote IFCW as an international venue that might be of interest to some organizations.

Of course, I had no expectation of immediate membership requests and none were sought or put forward at this time.

But let me give you my impressions of what is happening in South America and the implications this might have for IFCW membership expectations:

While there are, of course, NGOs working with children, most of the work is now done at an integral level involving the family or the community.  Poverty is the number one enemy, even in Argentina, a country not used to having to deal with the needs of an increasing number of poor families.  

Great progress has been made in the creation of regional networks for information exchange purposes and to provide a more valid voice vis-Ó-vis the governments.  Almost all countries have a National Coordinating Body for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes many small organizations.  These new bodies are in charge of the alternative country reports for the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Lack or, rather, the cost of foreign currencies due to devaluation and the lack of knowledge of the English language are the main obstacles for many persons and institutions to access organizations such as IFCW.

Perhaps the most important visit was the one made to the Interamerican Children's Institute in Montevideo, Uruguay.  The ICI is a specialized agency of the Organization of American States (OAS), and deal with children matters in the region since 1927.  Because of budgetary constraints it concentrates its work in only a few fields, of which information exchange, legal aspects, the CRC and education are the most important ones.

During the past few years they have created specialized information centers in several countries that serve as research centers for students, scientists and experts dealing with children matters.  The centers are bound together by a computerized network that handles an incredibly high number of queries per day.  You may access it's website, either in English or Spanish at: www.iin.oea.org

In Argentina I met with the "Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo", an IFCW founding member and who now has an active participation in the National Children's Rights Commission.  It was a nostalgic occasion for both of us but, more importantly, a possibility to renew their participation in IFCW.

Reminders.

1)      If you have not yet paid your membership fees for 2003, we would appreciate your kind attention to this matter.

    2)      The Second World Congress on Family Violence will take place in Prague, June 19-25.  IFCW is a Cooperating Organization of the Congress.

   3)      WorldForum 2003 will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, October 21/25.  Please mark these dates in your calendar.  The organization of a WorldForum is an arduous task carried out for your benefit as IFCW member, please support this effort by participating.

4) You are again invited to give us your comments, opinions and suggestions regarding IFCW matters.  Drop us a line whenever you have the time to do so.

5) AND - last but not least - remember that YOU are part of our membership drive.  All we ask is that you invite ONE new member to join IFCW.

Sincerely,

Rolando Quiros

PRESIDENT

P.O. Box 393-2010, San JosÚ, Costa Rica

Telephone (506) 228 6601 - Fax: (506) 228 0945 - e-mail: feilat@racsa.co.cr

 

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