Conflict Children campaign aims to end use of child soldiers

First News, the weekly newspaper for children, the Department for International Development (DFIF) and Save the Children are launching a campaign to raise awareness of the millions of children affected by conflict. It will call for an end to the use of child soldiers.

The year-long campaign aims to involve every UK school, and First News will provide all schools with an education resource pack, which is available in print or online. It contains a teachers’ guide, lesson plans, case studies, activity sheets and a DVD with films from Save the Children in Democratic Republic of Congo and DFID in Afghanistan. The campaign is also being backed up by a website.

Schools are also being invited to sign a letter of support to Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, calling for an end to the use of child soldiers. First News will also ask the Government to share the views of UK children over the course of the campaign.

The children can get involved outside of lessons by entering the campaign’s Young Journalist and Young Designer competitions. The winning entries will be published in First News and put on display in an exhibition in June 2009.

Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, says: “I’m delighted at this international campaign to help children affected by conflict. This is a crucial issue for the future of our planet and we will be working closely with First News and Save the Children to make sure the voices of British children are heard around the world.

“It is so important that our children gain a deep understanding of some of the causes and effects of conflict, knowing that they can play their own part in helping to change the world for children,” adds Nicky Cox, editor of First News.

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