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The OpenDemocracy platform, on its Beyond Trafficking and Slavery pages, features an Open Letter endorsed by ‘over 50 leading academics, human rights practitioners, and advocates in the area of children and youth labour’. The letter urges the United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child ‘to avoid binding the proposed ‘General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents’ to the ILO Minimum Age Convention (No. 138) or the minimum age standards set out in that convention.’

The Open Letter also usefully rehearses the various arguments in the children’s work debate. This includes the main arguments commonly used by advocates of the minimum age of employment set out in ILO Convention No. 138, and the counterarguments. It also helpfully discusses some areas of conceptual confusion common to many a children’s work discussion, such as the problematic distinction between ‘children’s work’ and ‘child labour’. Lastly, whilst the signatories of the Open Letter are critical of the ILO Minimum Age Convention, they are in supportive of another ILO Convention: No 182 on the worst forms of child labour – provided that the full range of children’s rights is respected ‘including their protective rights such as their right to education as well as their participative rights such as their right to information, their right to participate in decisions that affect them, and their right to organize, among others. In addition, they also stress that ‘any application of ILO 182 in practice would need to take into consideration the local contexts where children work to ensure that children’s best interests are always served.’

See HERE for the full text of the Open Letter.

posted by Roy Huijsmans

 

copenhagenuni

On Friday 15 January, 2016, Marina Korzenevica successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled ‘Negotiating Life Chances: The lives of young people and socio-political change in rural eastern Nepal’.

Marina carried out her PhD at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at Copenhagen University under the supervision of Jytte Agergaard.

Marina’s PhD thesis consists of four stand-alone articles (some of them already accepted for publication) usefully complemented by an introduction, a detailed context chapter, a field work chapter, a conceptual and theoretical chapter as well as a conclusion and epilogue. The thesis has grown out of a DANIDA funded research project entitled ‘Nepal on the Move: Conflict, migration and stability‘ and it stands out as it succeeds in bridging various fields of studies, including: youth studies, migration studies, household studies and Nepal studies.

Drawing on detailed ethnographic research in two remote settings in rural eastern Nepal the thesis is centrally concerned with how, through mobility, young people are negotiating their individual life chances and contribute to socio-political change in the context of post-conflict Nepal. The distinct focus on rural communities is an important contribution as most work on youth is typically urban-centred. In terms of gender, the thesis concentrates on both female and male youth. And more importantly, it unravels how cross-border migration of young men affects the mobility of young women – especially in relation to marriage. Another interesting feature of the study is the conceptualisation of cross-border labour migration as a form of ‘education’. This leads her to argue that despite young women’s increased educational attainment (increasingly, young women remain in school for longer than young men), it is young men’s educational capital (acquired through migration) that continues to be valued higher in everyday life.

Marina’s thesis was examined by Torben Birch-Thomsen (University of Copenhagen), Susan Thieme (Free University Berlin) and Roy Huijsmans (ISS).

Vacancies!

Category: jobs/interns| research| scholarships

11 Nov 2015

indexSome interesting positions for Children & Youth Studies people: a funded PhD position at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and two Research Fellow positions in the UK (one at Plymouth University, one at the University of Strathclyde).

The PhD position in Amsterdam is a four year funded position that is part of an NWO-WOTRO funded project entitled Young Burundians tactical agency regarding sexual relations and decision making: From participatory research to evidence-based and practically relevant sexuality education. The successful candidate will be working at the Department of Anthropology and be affiliated to the ‘Health, Care and the Body Programme group‘. S/he will be conducting anthropological research on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights in Burundi. Further details can be found HERE.

The two Research Fellow positions are part of an ESRC funded project entitled ‘Here to Stay? Identity, belonging and citizenship among Eastern European settled migrant children in the UK (a decade after EU enlargement)’. The project will focus specifically on Eastern European migrant children who have lived in the UK for at least three years, and compare their everyday lives and sense of cultural and national identity and belonging across Scotland and England. The Research Fellows will work with Dr Daniela Sime, Dr Naomi Tyrrell and Dr Marta Moskal. For further details on the Plymouth based position see HERE, and for the Strathclyde position go HERE.

Kim Chi Tran is an ISS PhD student working on ICTs and schooling among children and youth in Mongolia. In her work, she employs a range of innovative participatory research techniques on which, among other things, she reflects in this BLOG posting.

Child growth research @ ISS

Category: research

31 Oct 2015

downloadAlthough most of the posts featuring on the CYD blog refer to qualitative research, the International Institute of Social Studies is also a vibrant place for quantitative research on issues concerning children and youth.

A good example is a research project on the ‘Causal Factors of Child Growth: Evidence from Aggregated Survey Data’ (Principal Investigator: Matthias Rieger) that has just been awarded funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project aims to inform nutrition-related interventions and clinical trials, as well as identify investment priorities for the Gates Foundation. The project will estimate complex micro-econometric models using “big data”- sets on longitudinal child growth around the world assembled by the Gates Foundation.

Maki Suyama from Japan (CYS, 2011) recently completed a 3-year post working for UNICEF Ethiopia’s Research, Policy, Monitoring and Evaluation section as a Programme Officer in Addis Ababa. Her duties included drafting fact sheets, policy briefs and evaluations of UNICEF’s work in children’s rights advocacy. She also assisted in efforts to improve the quality of the evaluation, research, and government cooperation.

Maki says,

“What I liked about my job with UNICEF was trying to improve the quality of the programme in the scientifically proven way. As a member of the Research Committee, I assisted in revisions to the Terms of Reference. The Research Committee process is very similar to the RP draft seminars at ISS, so my experience at ISS helped me to improve the quality of UNICEF’s work.

Maki PhotoOverall, my job required academic knowledge (e.g. how to develop a research question, how to write methods in the report, how to write policy briefs, etc.), so my experience at ISS was really relevant to my job. Moreover, to recognize different discourses about children is very helpful when I attend meetings or review internal/external reports, because I can understand each stakeholder’s position. So I can say that the knowledge from CYS classes was incredibly useful for my job.

When I got my MA, I believed I was free from reading. But in reality, I had to read more documents than I did at ISS to develop my ability to progress in my job. This is not what I expected, but I enjoyed it.”

If you are an alumna/alumnus of an ISS CYS program who would like to share what you’ve been up to with the CYS community, please contact Kristen Cheney at cheney@iss.nl

In commemoration of the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child today, October 11, the ISS Children and Youth Studies Interest Group is launching a series of events to celebrate the power of the adolescent girl. This theme ties in to the general targets of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Through this initiative we hope to unveil the status of the girl child and highlight the challenges they face to realize their potential. As one of our main activities, we will produce a short film and a photo exhibition about what it means to be an adolescent in today’s society.
Here is a little teaser to get you excited. Stay tuned to the ISS Children & Youth Interest Group page (https://www.facebook.com/issycsinterestgroup?fref=nf) for more information about how you can participate and share your story with us!12162400_10153248399078262_342684278_o

indexThe University of Dundee is advertising a three year, funded PhD position part of an ESRC-DFID funded research project examining ‘social cash transfers, generational relations and youth poverty trajectories in rural Lesotho and Malawi’.

Details can be found HERE (deadline for applications: 26 October).

 

Becoming Fathers

Category: sexuality

29 Sep 2015

becoming a father

The website ‘reproductive journeys in Malawi‘ presents the main findings of a 4 year research project on ‘Becoming a father’ in an online exhibition format.

Whereas the bulk of research in the field of reproductive health and rights focuses on women, ‘Becoming fathers’ shifts the analytical spotlight to men. Its main objective was ‘to explore Malawian men’s aspirations and experiences of having children, particularly from the vantage point of men’s involvement in their own and their partner’s reproductive health’, with the aim of helping to ‘contextualise the reproductive health issues that people experience in Karonga District, a rural area in the north of Malawi, and facilitate sharing and learning from that information.’

To this end, a methodology centred around ‘reproductive life stories’ was employed involving 55 men and their female partners. The material this generated (both visual and interview material) is presented bilingually (Chitumbuka and English) in a very engaging online exhibition and structured around ten themes. It starts with the theme of ‘boyhood aspirations‘ and closes with ‘finishing “the programme”‘, which refers to sterilisation. Other interesting themes include ‘childlessness‘, ‘outside pregnancies‘, ‘becoming a father’, and many more. The combination of beautiful photographs, short quotes and expanded quotes works particularly well. It gives a good overview of the main findings whilst it also gives a sense of the qualitative richness of the material. For example, the quote introducing the ‘becoming a father’ theme reads: ‘even before the arrival of his first born, a man may become a father to younger siblings or cousins’.

Another interesting feature of the project’s website is the inclusion of some fieldnotes in the ‘About‘ section and a useful commentary on language and translation. The fieldnotes illustrate very powerfully the context in which the research must be understood. The research was conducted in Chitumbuka (the main language of northern Malawi), whilst in transcribing the data influences of the English (‘jenda’ for gender) and Chichewa (the national language) were noted. In addition, another interesting point is made on how in everyday speech the research participants have appropriated development and committee speak. The case in point is the phrase ‘the programme’, used to refer to sterilisation (mostly of women).

posted by Roy Huijsmans

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Thesis drafts presented in the current Research Paper Drafts seminars suggest we may expect some very strong theses in the field of Children, Youth and Development at the ISS.

The research draft paper seminar week is an important step in the MA in development studies programme at the ISS. Following course work, students work full-time on their research projects in July and August and present the first drafts of their thesis during seminars scheduled late September.

In the seminars, each MA student presents her work for 20 minutes followed by discussion by peers and faculty.

This is some of the interesting work-in-progress that was presented before the weekend:

-Gifty Fosuaa Nuamah Youth: ‘Mobile Phone: A Blessing or a Curse? A case of Kintampo District in Brong Ahafo, Ghana’

-Stephen Ucembe: ‘How do care leavers make meaning of leaving care in relationship to institutional care?’

-Michael Sambo: ‘Youth and social movements: The conflicting relations between youth and the state in Mozambique over the last ten years’

-Mahardhika Sjamsoeoed: ‘Negotiating a Third Space: The construction of young Dutch Muslim’s identities and their daily secular realities’

And this is what’s still in stock:

Kristel Avila: ‘Contesting ‘youth at risk’ discourses through soccer practicing? Explorative research on young male subjectivities of El Agustino, Lima, Peru.’

Sandra Dewi Arifiani: ‘The role of child forum as a space for child participation in Indonesia’

Maria Camila Pachebo Blel: ‘Choosing motherhood? Understanding the factors that influence young motherhood in low socioeconomic contexts in Colombia’

Okoth Maurice: ‘Citizenship and sense of belonging: The experiences of second generation Somali immigrant youths in Eastleigh neighbourhood’

and much more!

posted by Roy Huijsmans


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.