» Archive for: December, 2012

A post-2015 agenda?

Category: United Nations| youth

20 Dec 2012

posted by Roy Huijsmans

With the expiry date of the Millennium Development Goals around the corner something interesting is happening. The entire UN machine has moved into a ‘post-2015 development agenda’ mode.

Timelines are drawn, meetings are called for, consultation rounds are organised, press-statements are issued, and background documents are produced. Youth too are included in this machinery. For this purpose there is the United Nations sponsored webspace called ‘The World We Want‘. It invites young people to become involved in the ‘post-2015 development agenda’ discussion on a number of predefined topics.

Despite all the noise, the unquestioned starting point appears that there must be a new ‘global’ agenda following the MDGs. For example, none of the 24 framing questions the UN High-level Panel on the post 2015 development agenda is considering questions the very idea of such an agenda. This mutes the question of who actually needs a post-2015 development agenda most?

The need for such agendas is also naturalized through the mobilisation of certain youth voices. The following quote appears prominently in a ‘Toolkit‘ for post-MDG youth consultation:

I am a product of the MDG generation. The MDGs have been part of my ‘coming of age’.

One wonders, how many young people would actually see themselves like this? Hence, rather than mobilising such quotes in an uncritical fashion it raises real questions about youth participation as practiced by United Nations bodies and associated civil society. Who are the young people participating in such fora? What are the parameters of the discussion? How come some young people have come to embody United Nations discourses to the extent that they refer to themselves as part of an MDG generation? What does all this say about the world of development and the incorporation of youth?

Representative for Child Protection Initiative in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC):

Application deadline 15 January 2013.


Category: CYS specialisation

14 Dec 2012

Following 15.5 months of course work and individual research projects the 2011-12 Children & Youth Studies students will be awarded their degrees today:


Below the titles of their individual Research Papers for an impression of the scope and diversity of their work:

The Challenges of Educated Young Women in the Labour Market: A review of perceptions and experiences of young women graduates in accessing formal employment in the private sector‘ (by Agnes Kyamulabi, Uganda)

Gendered Barriers to Secondary Schooling for Young Women: The Case of an Urban Slum in Delhi‘ (by Chandni Tandon, India)

The Voices Unheard – Exploring How Young People with Disabilities View and Experience their Growing Up as Sexual Beings: A Case Study in Akshay Prathisthan, New Delhi, India‘ (by Pham Do Nam, Vietnam)

The Revolution will not be Tweeted #TRWNBT‘ (by Juan Raúl  Escobar Martinez, Colombia)

Cambodian Youth as Creative Force in Cultural Reconstruction of the Khmer Traditional Arts‘ (by Takahiro Hara, Japan)

Discursive Representations of Young People in the Beetham Gardens: Marginalization, Discourses and Governmentality‘ (by Aleisha Holder, Trinidad & Tobago)

Young Migrant Women from South Asia in the UAE: Negotiating Identities under the Kafala System‘ (by Shipra Saxena, India)

Social Movement 2.0: An Analysis of Mobilization through Facebook in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution‘ (by Hani Shehada, Palestine)

posted by Roy Huijsmans






Gender stereotyping in ads for children’s toys is common. This Dutch website is perhaps the case in point. The homepage features a ‘girls’ (meisjes) button and a ‘boys’ (jongens) button streaming customers to highly gendered toys with dolls and teasets for girls and shotguns and drills for boys.

The Swedish company Top Toy diverts from this trend and uses in their 2012 catalogue a ‘non-gender’ representation. On their website they describe the changes as follows:

‘The changes have been made to show girls more actively playing with toys typically perceived as toys for boys – and vice-versa for boys.’

To be sure, this initiative appears reactive rather than proactive. The move is described as both a response to critique from Swedish customers on the gendered stereotyping in toy adverts, as well as a market response to an awareness that in what is described as the ‘modern way of children’s play’ use of toys in children’s play has become less gendered. In other words, removing gender stereotyping in toy catalogues makes good business sense. That this is not about radical transformation is also evident from the note that the gender neutral approach is not followed through to the same extent in neighbouring markets where the gender debate is considered less far ahead than in Sweden.

Whatever the effects will be of this ‘non-gender’ approach. It certainly appears a clever business move. Seldom will the launch of a new toy catalogues have received so much media coverage than this one: The Wallstreet Journal; Volkskrant; the Guardian; the New York Times. With the Christmas shopping around the corner this appears certainly good news for business, whether it is also good news for gender equality we will see.


Reporting back from “Child Sensitive Social Protection” Lunch Meeting
On November 15th, STOP AIDS NOW! and UNICEF organised a meeting on Child Sensitive Social Protection. About 45 professionals from civil society, the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Social Affairs and Employment, Universities and several students came together at the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, where Rachel Yates, Senior Advisor Children and HIV/AIDS at UNICEF New York, spoke about the latest international developments in the field of Social Protection. Plan Netherlands, UNICEF Mozambique and STOP AIDS NOW! additionally provided lively examples on how the financial contribution of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mozambique and the contributions of civil society in Sierra Leone and Malawi can benefit the development of national Social Protection systems. The discussion led to a number of identified key issues for child sensitive social protection.
For more on ‘children living and HIV’, please visit OVCSupport.net which includes pages on ‘what’s new in research‘.

Posted by Roy Huijsmans

In their efforts to increase global school attendance UNESCO acclaims that ‘We cannot afford to ignore the data’. But what about representations of ‘development and education’ in both text and image in global education campaigns? Does it matter that we speak about ‘children slipping away’, and what to make of ‘catch these kids while we can’? Whose is the ‘we’? Why ‘catch’? What is written out of the script through such representations?

And what about the metaphor of school as an hot-air balloon? Is here a parallel drawn between physical laws and the role of schooling in upward social mobility? What sort of questions are here then erased, and how does this, for example, relate to rising concerns about ‘educated unemployment‘?

International Institute of Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.