Global Gathering 2023

In January of 2023, Dialogue Works successfully hosted its first ever Global Gathering of working Children and Youth in Kigali, Rwanda, a conference for working children and youth representatives to exchange, to learn from one another, to build capacities and share key messages on crosscutting issues affecting the lives of working children and youths. 5 days packed with experiences – here is a sneak peak of impressions!


63 working children and youth from 16 countries including representatives of the African Movement of Working Children and Youth (AMWCY) and the Latin American and Caribbean Working Children and Adolescents Movement (MOLACNATS)


Kigali, Rwanda


During the 5 days of conference, policy and practice discussions took place through group work and plenary each morning. This time was used to analyze problems and solutions affecting working children, identify priority advocacy issues and levels of influence, and to prepare for a dialogue with external guests on the final morning of the Global Gathering. In the afternoons, skill training workshops were facilitated by adult and child representatives of the partner organisations and members of the Dialogue Works Steering Committee. The topics of the skill training workshops were diversity, climate change and climate justice, mental health, child-led advocacy tools and creative expression through theater or poem.

A key element in the program was the creation of Community Groups. These were groups with a stable composition of members of 3-4 CACs to create a safe space during the week. It was used to get to know each other in a better way and to deepen the discussions on key questions around the issue of child labour,  to share problems, concerns, suggestions or open questions and. In these groups, the children also developed positive agreements for the collaboration during the entire event.

The heart of the conference was a declaration that has been adopted by all children – the “Kigali Declaration”. A huge success for all people involved. The demands include that policy measures should be closer to the children’s reality. Poverty reduction as well as the creation of decent jobs for their parents and assured access to quality education for all children can be found in the paper, as well as positions on climate protection and inclusion. At the same time, however, the authors of the declaration also want to be allowed to continue pursuing appropriate light forms of work in parallel to attending school, in order to support their families and prevent them from slipping further into poverty.
At the end of the conference, a Intergenerational Panel discussion took place and the children presented this declaration to representatives from the Rwandan Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Rwandan Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, representing members of other governments, as well as representatives of other civil society organizations and alliances.
In the evenings, there was enough time to have fun together, dance together and get to know other cultural traditions. During the Culture and Talent Night, cultural dances and music were presented on stage and filled the hall with excitement. In a so called CAC market place, each CAC decorated a market stall with pictures, handcrafts, drawings or other creative material showing their CAC activities to others. Walking around and looking at the different market stalls was like a world tour through the lives of working children, their key messages and advocacy dialogues.
The main conference language was English but simultaneous translation was provided into: Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Indonesian, Spanish, Swahili.

New perspectives opened up for the participants and many new friendships were made. In addition to the powerful declaration that children take back to their home countries for their on children’s rights, the international exchange of working children and youth worldwide is probably the greatest success of the Global Gathering.

And now?

After a week of deliberations, sharing of experiences and joint commitments, what we go home with is nothing less than “The Kigali Declaration of working Children” – a message adopted by all CAC delegates present.

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