Networking meeting : “Street workers must speak out” (Geneva, 11 Oct. 2017)

On September 28th, Alexandre Widmer, street social worker in Switzerland at the Espace Prévention la Côte, was in Geneva to represent Dynamo International-Street Workers Network during the side event organized at the Human Rights Summit by our partner the Consortium for Street Children (CSC), an international network of organizations and individuals advocating for the rights of street children.

The meeting, held at the United Nations Palace, made it possible to formally present the new General Comment on the Rights of Children in Street Situations to representatives of States, the private economy and civil society.

Alexandre, street social worker more used to the streets, shares this experience at the summit and his impressions of this networking meeting organized as a preamble to the United Nations conference.

“I was the only street worker”

It seems to me that I was the only street worker in the audience. Yet, we are important partners of the work with street youth. That is why, during my speech, I particularly emphasized our expertise on the field and of the streets, as well as our daily advocacy work on a more local scale. Dynamo International-Street Workers Network can also be a key player in giving a voice to street children and in raising public awareness and information.

A certain “disconnection” with the reality of the field

I have indeed noted a certain “disconnection” with the reality on the field and a logic centered strongly on street children in emergency situation. It also seemed to me that this meeting was mainly aimed at large organizations and NGOs that have a more theoretical approach to street work.

Street workers must be consulted and speak out

Professionals who accompany and follow these children on a daily basis must be represented, consulted and heard at the highest level. For this reason, I wanted to speak out. I wanted to highlight the importance of our contributions. Members of Dynamo International-Street Workers Network need to put take part and provide their specific expertise into these discussions.

The “voluntary” application of the General Observation by the States

From my point of view, the text of the General Comment reflects a certain knowledge of the realities on the field. Its content is relevant. But according to some NGO representatives, the non-binding nature of the General Comment leaves States with too much flexibility in its implementation.

The highlights of the meeting

  • The intervention of the Uruguayan representative because it made it possible to explain concretely the actions put in place on the field and recalled the interest of a long-term holistic approach. The holistic approach of the General Comment, the notions of “empowerment” and dignity were also stressed by the majority of speakers at the conference
  • The testimony of Mr. Dedho Luamba, former street child, on his experience of the street and the work undertaken with the organisation Apprentis d’Auteuil : “It It’s important to take a look at the street, you who are not there”.

International meeting in Sao Paulo on 27 and 28 November 2017

On 27 and 28 November, at the initiative of the American Bar Association, an international meeting on this theme was organized in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Three members of Dynamo International-Street Workers network participated as leader: Maria Ximena Rojas Landivar (Bolivia), Verónica Müller, Associação de Educadores Sociales de Maringá (Brazil), Luis Enrique Hernández, El Caracol (Mexico).


Also on our website:


Networking meeting : “Street workers must speak out” (Geneva, 11 Oct. 2017)