A day to reimagine a better future for every child
November 20th marks World Children’s Day, an annual day of action for children, by children, and an opportunity to shine a light on child’s rights and address some of the challenges faced by their generation. This year’s theme for World Children’s Day is Reimagining a better future for every child.
This Day is special for Aflatoun International and its network partners, as all our efforts are guided by our vision of socially and economically empowered children and young people who act as agents of change in their own lives for a more equitable world. The onset of COVID-19 has made reimagining a better future more complicated by putting child rights and access to education for children worldwide at risk, especially for the most vulnerable. Through our existing and developing curricula around social and financial education, we help children and young people claim their rights and become socially and economically empowered persons.
Empowering children through social and financial education.
Aflatoun curricula equip children with both social and financial skills. At Aflatoun clubs, children work together, learn and engage with the world and those around them. They are encouraged to manage their savings, start small businesses, and engage in community improvement activities.
Children are born scientists. They are naturally active and self-motivated learners who are eager to understand the world they live in. Aflatoun curricula harness children’s natural curiosity, and incorporate sustainable saving skills, by integrating them in the daily routine of Aflatoun students.
An example of this is our Aflatot curriculum, which provides this foundation to children between 3 to 6 years old. By equipping children with the foundational tools of social and financial literacy before they reach primary school, we give them a head start on necessary life skills such as: taking turns, teamwork and setting goals. The programme emphasises on initiating social and financial education at this early stage.
For older children between the ages of 6 and 14, we believe, it is important to address issues faced by modern society. They need to understand basic financial concepts such as money and markets. This can prepare them for a complex and turbulent job market and give them the knowledge to grasp future job opportunities with confidence and avoid exploitation.
Realising that furthering the education of children worldwide calls for a more tailored and multidimensional learning experience, we have complemented our core curricula with thematic supplements to target some of the crucial global issues, such as child protection, violence prevention, community engagement and the environment. With these supplements, we aim to encourage children and young people, their families and communities to learn how to address these issues.
You can find more information and download samples of Aflatoun curricula and thematic supplements here.
Non-Formal Education and Children as Peacebuilders
Aflatoun International provides Non-Formal Education (NFE) for children who do not have access to formal education. The NFE Manual targets children in need of special protection, such as out-of-school youth, street children, abused children, and children in drop-in centres. They may face literacy and numeracy challenges as well as reduced self-confidence and capacity to learn, as a result of their experiences. At Aflatoun we redesigned our curriculum to fit the demands of Non-Formal Education, and its flexibility continues to successfully help children and youth in streets, jails and orphanages around the world.
We recognise the need for a special learning programme which supports social stability by fostering a culture of peace and prepare them for the developmental demands of their communities. Therefore, we created curricula to fit the social and financial education needs of the millions of children living in conflict zones. We developed Life Skills and Financial Education for Peace, to provide children with critical thinking skills to analyse the underlying causes of conflict. The ultimate goal of this programme is to enhance the activity of children and young people as peacebuilders.
Children during COVID-19
The novelty of COVID-19 has brought many notable strains globally but has further endangered vulnerable children and young people by lessening their access to essential services and hindering their access to education. With many schools moving lessons online, COVID-19 highlighted a lack of access to digital infrastructure and services for children and young people. This year 1.6 billion children and young people have been affected by school closures, and less than 1% of children from financially insecure backgrounds have internet access to participate in distance learning.
Additionally, children and young people who already lacked access to education before the outbreak of COVID-19 have become even more vulnerable than before. Aflatoun International works with low and medium-tech solutions for children with limited or no access to the internet to make our curricula accessible for every child.
Digital Learning and Reaching out to the Most Vulnerable
Aflatoun International is continuing to further develop digital learning materials along with our core curricula. For instance, we have developed the Aflateen+ Digital curriculum to ease modern challenges in teaching. It includes a series of digital learning paths on financial education and life skills for children and young people and is flexible to their learning environments.
Diverse Aflatoun curricula also discuss the challenges experienced by vulnerable children. Girls statistically more often than boys experience discrimination, violence, lack of access to education, resources and skills. Therefore, their economic empowerment is limited. Aflatoun’s materials (Aflateen+) were designed to meet the evolving needs of students in diverse contexts and can be adapted to relevant local situations. They also include entrepreneurship and employability components with a gender lens, delivered through participant-centred learning methods.
COVID-19 has further complicated the path to child empowerment. Despite these challenges, Aflatoun International is working harder than ever in cooperation with our global network of partners to close existing poverty and education gaps. Join our continuous efforts in empowering children to reimage a better future for themselves and become the agents of positive change!
Happy World Children’s Day!