Establishing a DCI National Section: What You Need to Know
Defence for Children International (DCI) is a movement for the promotion and protection of children’s rights. DCI is represented in 40 countries worldwide. National sections and associated members design and implement their programs according to the specific needs and priorities of the children in their respective countries, thus engaging in various spheres of work including juvenile justice, child labor, trafficking, child participation and children in armed conflict, among others.
If you are concerned about children’s rights in your country, join us!
1. What does it mean to be a DCI national section or associated member?
- A commitment to children’s human rights and to upholding the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;
- A responsibility to raise awareness about and act upon the child rights issues facing your country (both nationally and internationally);
- A chance to be part of worldwide movement working to promote and protect the rights of the child;
- An opportunity to make the challenges faced by children and young people in your country visible internationally.
2. What are the benefits?
- Membership in an internationally recognised child rights movement;
- Opportunity for involvement in DCI’s global campaigns and regional programmes including: No Kids Behind Bars! Campaign; Campaign for Inclusive Education; and Regional Juvenile Justice Programmes;
- Training and capacity building opportunities;
- Access to an international platform to advocate and lobby on national issues;
- Opportunity to exchange information and expertise within the DCI network and with partners working on similar issues and programmes;
- Link to Geneva United Nations forums through DCI's ECOSOC consultative status, particularly the UN Human Rights Council, and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
3. Who Can Apply?
A group (representing at least 10 people) with expertise in human rights and a commitment to working towards the advancement of child rights in their country may apply to form a DCI national section. An existing child rights organisation may also apply to join the DCI movement by becoming recognised as an associated member.
In countries where DCI is not currently represented, groups may apply to be a national section or associated member. In countries where DCI is currently represented, groups may apply for associate membership status. DCI always consults with the current national section member as part of this process.
DCI national sections are present in the following countries:
Albania; Angola; Argentina; Australia; Belgium; Benin; Bolivia; Brazil; Cameroon; Canada; Colombia; Costa Rica; Czechia; Congo-DRC; Ecuador; France; Gambia; Ghana; Israel; Italy; Lebanon; Mauritius; Netherlands; Niger; Nigeria; Palestine; Paraguay; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Slovakia; Switzerland; Togo; Uganda; Uruguay
DCI Associated Members are also present in Mexico and Pakistan.
4. How Do I Apply?
- Send a letter to the DCI International Secretariat representing a group of at least 10 people. The request should indicate interest in becoming a national section or associated member (specifying which);
- Complete the Membership application form ( EN / FR / SP) and gather the required accompanying documentation (as listed on the membership application form). Send the completed application (by email or postal mail) to the DCI International Secretariat.
5. What Is Required of DCI Members?
- You commit to conducting programmes which reflect the mission and vision of DCI;
- You commit to paying a "joining fee" of $500 and a yearly membership fee (2% of the operational budget, but not less then 500$);
- You commit to using the DCI logo in your publications and website;
- You commit to sending annual narrative and financial reports to the International Secretariat in Geneva;
- You commit to keeping the International Secretariat informed of your activities and programmes;
- You commit to ensuring child protection in all programmes.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
1. What if my country already has a DCI national section – Can I still apply?
There can only be one DCI national section in a given country. You are encouraged to contact the members in your country to see how to collaborate with them. However, your organisation can still become part of the DCI movement by applying to become an associated member of DCI in that country.
2. What is the difference between a national section and associated member?
A DCI national section is usually formed by a group of individuals wanting to represent DCI in a particular country. There may only be one national section representing each country.
An associated member is usually a pre-existing organisation, often already established within the field, which wishes to associate itself with the network, vision and mission of DCI.
3. What language is required?
DCI national sections and associated members may submit an application written in any of DCI’s 3 official languages: English, French and Spanish. Once accepted, national sections and associated members can indicate in which of the DCI official languages they prefer to receive correspondence. DCI national sections and associated members may always conduct their national activities and programmes in their own national or local language.
4. I cannot form a DCI section, but I would still like to be associated with DCI. Is there another way I can join?
For the most part, the DCI movement is represented through national sections and associated members. However, individuals who wish to be associated with the DCI movement can apply to become part of the network as an 'individual member'. Please contact the DCI International Secretariat for further information.
5. When will I know the outcome of my application?
DCI receives many enquires about becoming a national section or associated member. You should expect to receive an initial acknowledgement of receipt of your application to the International Secretariat within 1 week (if the request is by email) and within 2 months, if the application is by postal mail.
Decisions on membership applications can only be taken by DCI’s International Executive Council every six months. The Council aims to meet twice a year, thus decisions on membership applications will occur twice annually. Please note that the decision by the Council is a provisional one, which is then formalised at the next International General Assembly. Applicants will be notified as quickly as possible as to the status of their application, though at times, the process may take up to a year.