Promoting Child Participation through a Community of Practice in Romania

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Global Alumni Coordinator

The President of Education for Change Association (ECA), Laura Molnar, continues to engage children in important social change discussions. Laura says, “children are equal partners, and we have to ask for their opinions”. Laura has successfully created a Community of Practice for educators in Romania, convening a network of 150 teachers dedicated to improving education by listening to youth. 

LauraMolnar202003

This work to improve education is especially critical during the transition to distance learning in response to COVID-19 health guidelines.  In Romania, many families do not have the equipment like computers they need to successfully navigate online learning, with 47% of students limited to only a phone to access virtual classes. In Romania 38.1% of children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and almost a fifth of children under 6 live in severe material deprivation, according to Eurostat.

“It’s great for children to have a chance to interact with other children from other areas through Webinars. And it is especially nice to see there are international opportunities for them. I hope they feel encouraged to do more in their initiatives.” -- Laura Molnar, Goldin Global Fellow

As part of ECA work in 2019 during the International Day for Eradication of Poverty, children involved took initiatives in organizing donation campaigns and activities for other children. One shared concern the ECA is working to address is that too many teachers and parents treat children like they don’t know anything. These children are now mentors, they explain to other children how they successfully organized activities, success and challenges encountered and how they addressed them.

LauraMolnar202004

The ongoing quarantine situation has caused anxiety among teachers, and conducting online classes can be overwhelming for many teachers. Through the ECA, Laura has developed a toolkit to help teachers cope with the mystery of online learning. The toolkit is designed to help teachers enrich their online teaching experience and maximize children's involvement. 

Following the Visual Collaboration workshop that took place last week, Laura has been motivated to apply the tools in her work with children. Laura engages children in a broad range of conversation, from cyberbullying, online safety, child rights to all forms of violence experienced at school and home. The visual collaboration approach has improved the way children participate in the discussions.

“Children are now more attentive and engaged when I use my Visual Collaboration skills rather than my old PowerPoints presentations!” -- Laura Molar, Goldin Global Fellow, Romania

LauraMolnar202001

Laura would like to expand her knowledge on conflict management and prevention and learn other successful approaches. She also needs to learn more about fundraising since ECA don’t have any funding at the moment. The companies used to support them have redirected their support to hospitals, assisting efforts related to the corona pandemic.

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