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INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR CHILD WELFARE
San Jose, May 6th. 2003
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
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
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.
1) If you have not yet paid
your membership fees for 2003, we would appreciate your kind attention
to this matter.
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.
P.O. Box 393-2010, San JosÚ, Costa Rica
Telephone (506) 228 6601 - Fax: (506) 228 0945
- e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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