FISA Develops a Strategic Approach to Discrimination Against Children
Turkey Mozaik Foundation supports The Idea and Arts Workshop Association(Fikir ve Sanat Atölyesi Derneği-FİSA)’s project “Strategic Approach to Discrimination Against Children”. With this project, FİSA aims to bring together different stakeholders working in the field of children’s rights to create a common strategy on discrimination against children. 5 two-day workshops on stakeholder views will be organised for children, parents, professionals working with children (educators, social workers, paramedics, psychologists, journalists, artists, and CSO representatives. FİSA will prepare the “Strategy Set on Discrimination Against Children” which includes stakeholder views and policy suggestions. To raise awareness on the subject, the Strategy Set will be published and made available online for all interested parties. It will be shared with local administrations and public institutions, experts in the children’s rights field, and members of the press.
In the initial phase of the project, FİSA formed the project team with one project coordinator and one project expert and prepared the content and the materials for the workshops. Following the Covid-19 outbreak, FİSA re-evaluated and revised the project activities, which were initially based on collective two-day workshops. In line with the precautions, FİSA decided to convert these workshops into 48 one-to-one online interviews with stakeholder groups and one workshop with children, after consultation with the Support Foundation for Civil Society. Following these changes, the project team has worked on the adaptation of materials to be used in the online one-on-one interviews for different stakeholder groups.
In the reporting period, FİSA conducted 38 one-on-one interviews with parties from 4 stakeholder groups (parents, journalists and artists, civil society organisation representatives, professionals working with children such as educators, social workers, paramedics, psychologists) and the project team is currently working on the transcriptions. Additional 10 online interviews will be held with the stakeholders described above. Following the developments with the outbreak, FİSA aims to organise one face to face workshop with children because it is perceived that online interviews with young children will not be as effective as in-person meetings.
Please see below our interview with FISA on their work:
Could you tell us about the aim and activities of the Idea and Art Workshop Association (Fikir ve Sanat Atölyesi Derneği – FİSA)?
Idea and Art Workshop Association is an Ankara-based civil society organisation established in 2015 to work in the fields of refugee, children, LGBTI, equal representation in the media and to support young people with education and health scholarships.
FİSA is also home to the Children Rights Centre which is operating under the association. Can you tell us about the aim and scope of the work the Centre does?
The Children Rights Centre has been active since 2017. However, the Centre has shifted towards a more systematic approach since last year. The Children Rights Centre; aims to make children right violations more visible, proposes policies by monitoring and reporting on children’s rights and freedoms and it also develops concrete models and resources on this subject. The main areas of focus for the last two years have been child labour, impunity, refugee children, the business world and children’s rights.
FİSA implements the Strategic Approach Against Discrimination Against Children project within the scope of Children’s Fund 2020 period with the financial support of Turkey Mozaik Foundation. Can you tell us about the purpose of the project and the activities you will do in this context?
Human rights movement in Turkey has been fighting for a long time to prevent rights violations. It is certain that there has been positive change and transformation in some areas. However, the overall progress achieved is not proportionate to the efforts put in this struggle. Unfortunately, discrimination against children is one of the areas we face such a disproportion. This issue continues to be a major human rights violation. It changes shape from time to time, however, it reoccurs for various reasons, sometimes it increases and sometimes it becomes more visible. But unfortunately, all children continue to be exposed to different forms of discrimination in different settings and by different perpetrators. It is possible to eliminate discrimination against children by understanding the relational and structural patterns, mechanisms and systems that produce it in the first place. This also includes all its subjects and forms of relationship.
This project, which we started to carry out with the support of the Support Foundation for Civil Society and the Turkey Mozaik Foundation, aims to develop effective strategies against discrimination of children. In order to reach this goal, we will meet with several stakeholders who may be related to discrimination against children and try to develop common strategies and even tactics. All of these will be included in the Strategy Set on Discrimination Against Children, which we will prepare as a result of this project. The stakeholders that will participate in this process will be children, artists and media professionals, individuals from various occupations working with children, representatives from civil society and parents.
Within the scope of the project, you aim to prepare and disseminate the Strategy Set on Discrimination Against Children. You mentioned that local administrations and relevant public institutions will be among the target groups that will be informed about this Strategy Set. How can local governments and relevant public institutions benefit from this set?
We aim to address discriminatory practices, basic patterns, causes and effects of discrimination regarding children with visible and invisible aspects. In addition to all these, there will be policy and perhaps implementation recommendations against discrimination. Through this set, both local administrations and public administrations can realise once again their obligations regarding discrimination against children and develop applicable practices against it. Of course, FİSA Child Rights Centre will be open to collaboration with the interested public and local administrations in these processes.
We know that the measures taken within the scope of the COVID-19 outbreak caused major changes in the work of civil society organisations. How did the outbreak affect the activities you carried out within the scope of this grant? Are there any methods you use to continue with your work?
As of April, we had planned to hold 5 two-day workshops for 2 days as part of this project. In these workshops, discrimination against children would be discussed and a strategy set would be formed taking into consideration the findings in these workshops. Unfortunately, within the scope of the measures taken due to the pandemic, we cannot carry out our activities as we initially planned. That’s why we made a methodological change without changing the main goals and outputs of our project. With this change, instead of workshops with 12 people, we will hold online one-on-one meetings where we can discuss all aspects of discrimination against children. We postponed the workshop with children to a later date, as we think online meetings would not be effective for that age group. We are planning to create a strategy set from the results of these interviews.
The outbreak, of course, has led us to run our work from home. So, we are part of the privileged group of people that can stay at home. We are trying to carry out our ongoing work with other tools and methods. However, we are trying to develop policy recommendations and monitor the process on the basis of children’s rights in order to reduce the impact of the outbreak on children.
The Idea and Arts Workshop Association(Fikir ve Sanat Atölyesi Derneği-FİSA), was established in Ankara with an aim to support the cultural, scientific, intellectual and artistic production . FISA provides scholarships for students in these fields; implements educational activities such as workshops and panels;
collaborates with public institutions, private sector and civil society organisations. The association carries out projects and programs in the fields of child neglect and abuse, child labour, discrimination, child participation, child and migration, disability and education in order to promote children’s rights. FİSA, cooperating with different civil society organizations working in the field, contributes to the work of the Prevention of Violence Against Children Network (Çocuğa Karşı Şiddeti Önlemek için Ortaklık Ağı) as a board member. The association also conducts advocacy work by following child abuse cases in
coordination with the Anti-Impunity Network (Cezasızlıkla Mücadele Güçbirliği Ağı).