The Observatory of Children of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia is an investigative institution which has been rated by Colciencias (the governmental watchdog for investigative bodies) as having achieved the highest levels of excellence in investigative work. Its primary objectives are focused on information generation, research concerned with the situation of children, adolescents, public policy and programs that seek to contribute to societies compliance of Child Rights. We have become an important voice that links the state and civil society.
The Observatory seeks to deepen the identification and understanding of the changing situation of children and adolescents in Colombia by the study of a variety of social, political, economic and cultural indicators. Within this line of investigative work The Observatory has an important role in the design and development of projects for, and the analysis of public policy directed towards, the wellbeing of children and adolescents.
From its start The Observatory has been an interdisciplinary and intergenerational institution that through its action strategies has strengthened the production and development of research about children and adolescents in universities and other academic institutions. Today it has become an important coordinating body between academics working in different areas linked to child rights and welfare, which is a social problem becoming ever more worrying, owed to the particular social, political and economic situation that Colombia finds itself in.
THE STATUS OF THE ORGANIZATION:
The Observatory of Children is an investigative agency linked with the Human Sciences Department of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, which although an independent university is linked to the Ministry of National Education. Its objective is the development of higher education and to undertake investigations for, and to be used by, the Colombian government. As a public institution it is both pluralistic and transparent. The legal representative of the Observatory is the Dean of the Human Sciences Department of the Universidad Nacional.
The team of The Observatory is made up of a combination of professors and researchers linked with different departments of the Universidad Nacional, as well as graduates and students which give assistance to different projects, giving us a reputation as having a highly interdisciplinary approach to issues concerning child welfare.
In the field of social processes, we have had the opportunity to implement research projects in issues such as: “Children in armed conflict” and “Child labour” which have been solicited by agencies of the United Nations, such as UNICEF and The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Other projects that the Observatory has implemented are:
The Observatory is a member of the La Alianza por la Niñez de Colombia (The Colombian Alliance for Children), a network which includes government organisations, university and academic groups, international agencies and the United Nations, which have united their interests, their knowledge and their experience in at the national, regional and local level, to work jointly for the promotion of the defence of the Rights of the Child in Colombia. http://www.alianzaporlaninez.org.co/
In the same way we are part of the interuniversity network for the rights of the child, we have participated in the international coalition for the commemoration of the 19th November (International Day Against the Abuse of Children) promoted by the NGO WWSF, and in the same way we have participated in various meetings of the network of researchers of Childwatch.
Paola Ordóñez Yamhure.