The African Movement of working children and youth was formed in 1994, in Bouaké on the basis of the twelve rights and an action plan which the children and youth gave each other at that time, while promising to review and evaluate after one year .
Rights and duties, evolution
The AMWCY is primarily a movement that is mobilizing to build rights and therefore improve the lives of children.
•The right to learn how to read and write
•The right to be taught a trade
•The right to remain in the village (no exodus)
•The right to work in a safe environment
•The right to light and limited work
•The right to rest when sick
•The right to be respected
•The right to be listened to
•The right to play (leisure)
•The right to healthcare
•The right to self-expression and to get organised
•The right to equitable legal aid (in case of trouble)
In 1995, 18 towns were represented in Bamako where the WCY had the chance to meet with President Alpha Oumar Konare, who encouraged them to be strong, persevere and be "proud of Africa"
In addition to their rights, the WCY came to define their duties
• Respect and love our work
• To respect yourself,
• Listen to the elders,
• Be diligent,
• Be honest
• Not to become prostitutes
Then finishing the Ouagadougou meeting in (1996) a decision was made to participate in the international debate on child labour , with other child working movements in the world. In Popenguine in (1998), the West African Movement became the African Movement of Working Children and Youth (AMWCY).
The rights and duties are in the center of this movement which takes into account the experience of those early years. The rights should not only be proclaimed, but be realized by the Working Children and Youth Associations (WCYAs) The Periodic General assemblies are an opportunity to periodically check their progress in each country. From Popenguine, to the twelve rights the development of Income-generating activities (IGAs) was added. Support for children in migration comes a few years later.
In 2010, 84.3% of the WCY responded that since they got involved in the AMWCY, they work fewer hours and less hard.
The AMWCY has grown rapidly: the original group of four countries in 2000 is comprised of over 250 groups in 44 cities of 16 countries. It is organized in National Coordination from 2003. Then in 2006, it went on to 100 cities.
After 16 years of existence, it now includes (end 2010) 396.346 members and supporters including 122.547 members, gathered in 2071 grass-root groups which are federated into 235 existing associations in many towns of the 22 African member countries, 55% of girls and 72.7% of self employed children on the streets and in markets, in towns and villages (housemaids, small venders, farmers etc)
It is a solidarity that extends gradually among village and town children across borders. It is a hope to achieve here and now, the collective dream of seeing the rights and aspirations grow.
It is primarily at the base: in the towns and villages, the AWCY radiate through multiple actions of human rights concretization, literacy, negotiation with health structures to facilitate access to the WCY, alerting authorities on raids and issuing membership cards, afforestation campaigns, birth registration, entertainment and child recreation, the denouncement - of abuse, prevention of child migration and also support to children in migration. In most cases and with much patience, the WCY succeed in imposing their existence and even involving parents, officials and traditional leaders during their marches, sometimes making them the spokesmen of their message.
At the national level:
This is information on a broader level and to become successful in the media but not without difficulties. It is also developing action plans, broader than the city and participate in multiple coalitions with or without the government. While continuing to do ground work in the town areas, there is relations work to do on a much larger scale. Fortunately, the movement has partners and friends, locally, among NGOs and international organizations who know them and recognize their potential and make it easier, despite the cultural reservations which remain strong.
At the African and international level:
Its interventions are frequent (see chapter on “international lobbying”). The process of "a world fit for children» in New York then in Africa, the African Union Committee of Experts, with the discussion on child migration within in the framework of ECOWAS, the rights of "street children” to the Commission of the human rights in Geneva, the AMWCY takes the floor, helped by their friends participating in the regional group on “child migration” in which they participate diligently alongside members from ILO, ENDA, IOM, Plan, Save the Children, Terre des Hommes and UNICEF.