The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of KidsRights and is presented annually to an exceptional child, whose courageous or otherwise remarkable acts and thoughts have made a difference in improving children’s rights. The prize was launched during the 2005 Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit, by Mikhail Gorbachev.
Each year the International Children’s Peace Prize Laureate is selected from nominations from all over the world. An Expert Committee assesses the candidates and then selects the winner. The winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize is awarded a statuette – ‘the Nkosi’ – which is especially designed for the occasion. Furthermore the winner receives financial support for his/her current and future education. Last but not least the winner is offered a permanent podium to advocate and promote his/her message to the world.
The International Children’s Peace Prize is sponsored by ABN AMRO and AkzoNobel. ABN AMRO is the main sponsor of the Children’s Peace Prize award ceremony and AkzoNobel provides the project fund; the AkzoNobel Children’s Peace Fund. This fund supports local initiatives in the theme and country of the Children’s Peace Prize winner.
The first Children’s Peace Prize was dedicated posthumously to Nkosi Johnson, for his work to offer a more dignified existence to South African children with hiv/aids. In 2006, the honour went to Om Prakash Gurjar from India. He received the prize from Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former President of South Africa F.W. De Klerk, for his unceasing work to combat child labour and liberate child slaves in India. In 2007, the honour fell to Thandiwe Chama from Zambia. She received the Children’s Peace Prize from Bob Geldof and Nobel Prize Winner Betty Williams, for her devotion to the rights of children in her country, especially their right to education. In 2008, Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu presented Mayra Avellar Neves with the Children’s Peace Prize for her ongoing fight against the violence in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 2009, Baruani Ndume from the DR of Congo, was awarded the prize, by Nobel Peace Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai, for his ongoing work to improve the living conditions of the children in the Nyarugusu refugee camp, where he lives. In 2010, Francia Simon from the Dominican Republic won the Children’s Peace Prize for her perseverance in helping over 130 children to birth certificates and therewith helping them to access the right to name and nationality. She was presented the prize by Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum.
In 2011, Chaeli Mycroft was awarded the prize for her dedication to helping disabled children in South Africa by advocating for their rights and helping them to therapy and assistive devices through her organization, the Chaeli Campaign. In 2012, Kesz Valdez received the prize out of the hands of Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu for helping out thousands of street children in the Philippines.
Not only is the prize a sign of recognition for the young winners, it also offers them a platform to promote their ideals. In this way, these young heroes’ messages have more impact, and reach a larger audience. For example: Om Prakash was received by the president of India and has discussed the subject of child labour with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. After receiving the prize, Kesz Valdez spoke with President Akino from the Philippines and presented the first KidsReport from KidsRights about the status of street children in the Philippines.
The members of the Expert Committee of the International Children’s Peace Prize are:
- Marc Dullaert, Founder and Chairman of the KidsRights Foundation and initiator the Children’s Peace Prize.
- Frans Roselaers, former Director of the ILO’s (International Labour Organisation) International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).
- Prof. Jaap Doek, former Chairman of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
- Jeroo Billimoria, Founder and Chair of Child Helpline International and Founder and Director of Aflatoun, Child Savings International.
- Nevena Vuckovic-Sahovic, member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.