Empowering Children and Youth through Knowledge: Equity for Children at the 5th Latin American / Caribbean Biennial Conference

In July 2023, the 5th Latin American and Caribbean Biennial on Early Childhood, Childhood, and Youth convened in Manizales, Colombia. It brought together more than 1500 academics, researchers, civil society stakeholders, social organizations, and policymakers from 22 countries and 186 cities throughout Latin America.

Hosted by the International Center for Education and Human Development (CINDE), based in Colombia, the Biennial focused on nurturing a common understanding of challenges created by the living conditions of children, adolescents, and youth throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The event was made possible through collaborative efforts by the Center for Advanced Studies in Childhood and Youth at the University of Manizales, and the Working Group on Childhood and Youth and Popular Education and Critical Pedagogies.

Equidad para la Infancia played a pivotal role at this transformative event, contributing research, publications, facilitation, and reflections. Programs coordinator, Mariela Giacoponello, delivered a compelling presentation during the first panel discussion, which was entitled “Generational Inequalities – Childhood and Youth: Policies, Resistance, Poverty, and Hunger.” 

The presentation shared the results of main actions developed by Equity for Children through different projects that seek to reduce inequalities in childhood and adolescence in Latin America. Specially, she focused on the description of the bunch of quantitative research made with different partners to analyze multidimensional child poverty in the region. To mention some of them: (i) metrics to examine intraurban inequalities in eight countries in the region, using microdata from international household’s surveys (Childhood and urban housing inequality in eight Latin American countries, with Unicef), and (ii) the study made in Colombia to include a monitoring process on child poverty, using secondary sources (Measuring and Monitoring Child Wellbeing and Inequality at the Local Level, with Fundación Corona y Red de Ciudades Como Vamos).

Also, she described the projects developed since the pandemic started. These actions were more qualitative and included fieldwork with different communities: (i) audiovisual project to give voice to problems experienced by vulnerable families in five Latin American during the beginning of pandemic (In first person), (ii) qualitative research focuses on Latinx migrants in the Queens community (with Voces Latinas and Spencer Foudation), and (iii) Call For Action to commemorate World Children’s Day with more than 7000 children and adolescents in Argentina (with Unicef).  

To sum up, the presentation highlighted the importance of building networks to develop projects to advocate child rights and make actions to raise the voice and participation of children and adolescents. 

Spanning two days, the conference consisted of five panels and 30 workshops, all centered around three themes:  Generational Inequalities, Collective Social Mobilization, and Narratives of Life.” 

The three panels were structured as follows:

  1. Generational Inequalities – Childhood and Youth: Policies, Resistance, Poverty, and Hunger.
    • Intersectoral and multidimensional public policies addressing territorial, labor, and educational inequalities.
    • Experiences of resistance and resilience against inequalities across diverse dimensions.
    • Epistemological, methodological, and pedagogical reflections for comprehending inequalities among children and youth.
    • Educational challenges and proposals amid the multidimensional inequalities exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  1. Social-Collective Mobilization, Democratic Transformations, Empowerment, and Violence.
    • Educational challenges within democratic transformations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    • Public policies, empowerment strategies, and socio-state production dynamics pertaining to childhood and youth.
    • Political mobilization and civic engagement within progressive cycles and conservative reactions.
    • Juvenicide, violence, and necropolitics.
  1. Narratives of Life, Social Movements, Diversities, and Identities.
    • Public policies: diversities and pluridiversities.
    • Social movements: gender, identities, sexual diversities, and intergenerational relationships.
    • Challenges to education [educations] stemming from diversities and caregiving practices.
    • Ethnicities and interculturalities: exclusion and othering.

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