Child welfare: their looks and their voices

Photo: Courtesy Educo.
Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

La ONG Educo, together with the Behavioral Sciences Research Institute (IICC) from the Bolivian Catholic University "San Pablo", launched the regional investigation “Well-being of the Childhood: their looks and their voices "; exploratory study with girls, children, adolescents and their closest environment (family, school and community), executed in four countries of the region: Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador; whose objective is to make an approach to the well-being of children in Latin American countries.

The research is part of the commitment of the Educo organization and the Bolivian Catholic University to advocate on the importance of well-being as a measure of social development, whose end has to be a good and dignified life and not, only, good indicators on income and access to services.

"Well-being is a more humane look at human rights and the idea of ​​development. It allows us to better connect with children, your wishes and aspirations ", Reinaldo Plasencia explained, Educo Global Wellness Specialist.

For her part, Marcela Losantos, Director of the IICC, explains the importance of this study: “Well-being from the point of view of children is both challenging and innovative. We adults have a lot to learn from that look ".

This research was done under the 3D Approach to Wellbeing, that has been assumed by Educo in its work on children's rights. This approach includes the dimensions: material, relational and subjective; those that in their interconnection allows us to have a comprehensive notion about well-being. Likewise, study participants comprise three groups: girls and boys between 7 a 12 years, teenagers (women and men) of 13 a 17 years and adults, group consisting of primary caregivers, teachers and community leaders.

Main findings

The main aspects of well-being are associated with provision rights, protection and participation of children. Among the rights of provision we can place the explicit reference to the family, the House, The education, health, recreation and nature, as central aspects of well-being. Childhood highlights the family as a priority for their well-being, quality family ties are highly significant.

Economic and material resources influence well-being from a utilitarian sense of service towards others. For children, girls and adolescents, the relevance of these resources lies in their practical nature and in the opportunity they offer to socialize or expand the improvement of the material conditions of life not only of oneself but also of others.

Private ownership of certain assets contributes to well-being as they allow for autonomy. For children, the sense of private property as part of well-being is not associated with property as such, but to the opportunity that it offers to not depend on others.

The school is associated with well-being as a learning opportunity, training and socialization. Children and adolescents come to school with an opportunity to share to be happy.

Besides the fun, the joy and entertainment that the game brings, children, girls and adolescents also consider it an opportunity to fulfill themselves, enhance skills and talents, strengthen health and make new friends.

Nature is valued as an aspect associated with well-being. Children, girls and adolescents recognize the benefits of nature and its contribution to humanity to sustain a good life. Likewise, it is recognized that human beings must repay this well-being by caring for the gifts of nature and reducing their pollution.

In the adult perception of the well-being of childhood, there is a tension between the centrist adult perspective and the one that tries to focus on the child as a full subject. A large part of the adults participating in the study refer to the well-being of children from a perspective focused on what they themselves consider necessary and valuable for children, without taking them into account.

Finally, childhood concludes that their well-being implies loving and being loved, share, socialize, have the resources to put them at the service of others and, supremely, being well implies doing good.

Educo is a global cooperation NGO for development and humanitarian action that has been operating for more than 25 years in favor of children and in defense of their rights, especially the right to receive an equitable and quality education. It forms part of the ChildFund Alliance, one of the main international NGO coalitions focused on child protection and present in more than 60 countries.

The Institute for Research in Behavioral Sciences (IICC) is a research unit of the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences of the Bolivian Catholic University "San Pablo", dedicated to psychological and social research on the causes and consequences of social vulnerability in the Bolivian population, especially in children, girls, teenagers, youth and women.