4 November 2014 (10.30-12.30) - Room 8 – Palais de l’Europe, Interpretation: FR/EN


Young people often do not feel adequately represented by their elected officials. In Junior Councils, youth works to build a culture of accountability through meaningful participation. Will Junior Councils be able to build trust between decision-makers and young citizens and ensure that institutions are really responsive and accountable to all, including the young?

Junior Councils, Mwanza Youth and Children Network – MYCN, Tanzania

The goal of “Children Engagement for Government Accountability” is to contribute to the global initiatives of promoting democratic engagement of young people in matters that affect their wellbeing. The actions that will be taken include things such as: child led media programs, suggestion boxes, accountability notice boards, dialogues where children and government officials can directly engage and capacity building trainings to children and government officials on young people’s engagement for development. The initiative takes place in Mwanza City Tanzania where 6o members of Mwanza Junior Councils from two districts are engaged as pioneers.

Website: https://envaya.org/mycn


Ms Halleluyah BENJAMIN, Tanzania, Regional Accountant of the Junior Council

Halleluyah Benjamin, 15 years old, is in form one at Kilimani Secondary School in Mwanza City, Tanzania. She joined the Junior Council in 2012 and this term was elected to be the accountant for the council at regional level. The Junior Council provides Halleluyah and her peers with a platform for children to defend their rights and ensure their active participation in the matters that affect their lives. Halleluyah has been effectively advocating for child rights and participation through radio and television programs as a program presenter as well as through convening meetings with government leaders.

Mr Shaban RAMADHANI, Tanzania, Founders and Executive Chairperson of Mwanza Youth and Children Network (MYCN)

Shaban Ramadhani, 26 years old, is one of the founders and currently the Executive Chairperson of the youth led Mwanza Youth and Children Network (MYCN). He has been involved in ensuring that the rights of children and youth are protected and realized since he was a child himself. He works closely with members of the Junior Council in Mwanza at both the ward and regional level and was himself the second Chairperson of Tanzania’s National Junior Council from 2004-2005. From program planning and implementation to advocacy, Shaban has shown his commitment to ensuring the best future for children and youth.  

Action Aid, Bangladesh

In order to transform the power of people and parliaments to increase resources for education, ActionAid and other national civil society organisations in Bangladesh undertook an initiative that sought to build the capacity of community audit groups to monitor the allocation of resources at district level and service delivery in schools. Findings from budget monitoring by the community audit groups were linked up to national level advocacy by Bangladesh’s first parliamentary caucus on education, which has lobbied the government for education to be recognised as a right, and for an increase in resources to be allocated to the education sector.


Mr Samiuddin AHMED, Bangladesh, Programme Officer – Youth (Research & Development) at ActionAid Bangladesh

Sami is a young professional at ActionAid Bangladesh and leads the organisation’s research and development efforts concerning youth. He is also heavily involved with Activista Bangladesh – ActionAid Bangladesh’s national youth network. Sami has experience in coordinating young people’s activities on the ground and linking them up with national level efforts. He is currently engaged in mainstreaming youth across various issues, undertaking policy research and looking into the Post-2015 process from a Bangladeshi youth’s perspective.


Ms Sarah HUXLEY, United Kingdom, Global Child and Youth Rights Coordinator for ActionAid International

Sarah is currently the Global Child and Youth Rights Coordinator for ActionAid International. Her special areas of interest and expertise are participation/governance, youth policy and strategy, child rights, education, protection and post conflict transitions. From 2008-2010 she was the Project Manager and lead writer for the DFID-CSO Youth Participation in Development Guide. She has worked for a diverse range of organisations, including small NGOs, international agencies and the UN, including as the lead writer for the first ever crowd sourced online UN World Youth Report in 2011. Sarah is keen to ensure that young men and women are recognised in all their diversity as partners and leaders in fighting the social injustices that they and their wider communities face.



Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Mr Bernard DE VOS, Belgium, General Delegate of the French Community for the Rights of the Child

A specialised educator with a degree in Islamic Studies, Bernard de Vos is the author of several books dealing with issues of childhood and youth (including “Les Apaches des parkings, adolescents des villes et des ghettos”  published by Labor in 1999). For fifteen years, he was director of the SOS Youth-FreeTime association in Brussels, where he was responsible for the creation of innovative strategies for aid and protection of youth (e.g. Samarkand association, Solidarcité, Synergy 14). He served several terms in decision-making or consultation bodies on the same subjects. Since March 2008 he holds the position of Executive Vice President of the French branch of ‘Rights of the Child’. Since the end of September 2013, is he working for the Presidency of ENOC, the European Network of Ombudsmen for children.

Ms Rokhaya DIALLO, France, Writer and Film Director

Born and raised in Paris, she became involved early on in local politics, presiding the Youth Council of the City of La Courneuve (a suburb outside of Paris), while at the same time participating actively in the anti-sexist organization Mix-Cité. In 2007 she co-founded the INDIVISIBLES, a group whose goal is to use humor and irony to break down prejudices, and racial discrimination. One of the ways the association tries to reach its objective is by recognizing through satire the “best” racist pronouncements made by French public figures during the “Y A BON AWARDS” Ceremony. In 2009, after working eight years in youth television programming, Rokhaya, having earned degrees in law, and audio-visual marketing and sales, became a commentator for the TV program, LA MATINALE on Canal + before working for I>télé (a cable news network), RTL, France’s number 1 radio station, and then hosting and producing a cultural radio program FRESH CULTURES on Le Mouv’.


Ms Joëlle GERBER, France, Head of Programmes at the House of Young Citizens, Coordinator of the Children's Council of 1996-2014, City of Schiltigheim

Trained in political science and issues of participatory democracy, Joëlle Gerber accompanied for 18 years the Municipal Council of Children and its projects in Schiltigheim, home of the participation of children and young people in France. Passionate about child development and the active expression of citizenship, she is now responsible for programmes at the House of Young Citizens in Schiltigheim which aims to promote the rights of children and youth in the city and society through actions, material and educational activities that meet their expectations and their democratic aspirations. Joëlle Gerber is also involved in group of experts of the National Association of Children and Youth Councils.

Mr Kirill KOROTEEV, Russian Federation, Senior Lawyer at the Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, 2009 Sakharov Prize Laureate

Kirill Koroteev is a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Centre “Memorial” since 2012, where he develops strategies for human rights litigation, both domestically and before the European Court of Human Rights. From 2006 to 2011, he was a case consultant with the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre. He is a speaker and trainer in numerous conferences and trainings for law students, lawyers, public officials and judges in the former USSR and Balkan States on European and international human rights law. Kirill Koroteev holds a law diploma with distinctions from the State University, Higher School of Economics, in Moscow, and a Master’s degree in European Comparative Law from Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.



Ms Andrée BUCHMANN, France, Regional Councilor of Alsace, Member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Andrée Buchmann is Regional Councilor of Alsace and Municipal Councilor of Schiltigheim, which was the first town in France to create a Municipal Council for Children, and for those who wish to continue their political engagement, a Municipal Youth Council. Some of the children that have participated in the Youth Council later became Municipal Councilors. Andrée Buchmann is Chair of the Observatory for Inland Air Quality and member of the National Council of Air. She is very involved in her local community, especially in the field of environment.


Mr Guillaume DELOIZON