Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Did you know...

Did you know that the United States is one of only two countries, which has not approved the Rights of the child?

Just last week we were shocked in class. Why? We had just learnt this fact. The United States along with one other country - Somalia are the only two countries which have not approved the UN Convention on The Rights of The Child. This ‘news’ was initially quite baffling considering that 193 countries have since approved these rights, including every other member of the United Nations. I thought, how come? Really? Why...The reasons we were informed were two fold. One, in the United States children receive the death penalty, and two approving these rights would weaken parent’s rights. These reasons frankly only raised more questions in my head. To what extent are American children protected by the justice system? Would approving the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child, really weaken parent’s rights? How?

I therefore looked forward to the readings of this week and was glad to have my questions answered. Indeed there are a number of complex issues which have resulted in the delay in reaching a general agreement on what Rights children should have in the United States. However I do not think that these issues are totally peculiar to the United States. There are cases where the Convention has had to be adapted to particular socio-cultural settings. For instance the member states of The African Union (previously known as the Organization of African Unity) believed that the United Nations Conventions on The Rights of the Child did not include important socio-cultural and economic realities particular to Africa. Subsequently taking into account these factors and the virtues of the continent’s cultural heritage and historic background, The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child was adopted in 1990. Presently this charter has been approved by forty-three of the fifty-three countries in the continent. This example further supports Walker’s belief that ‘children’s rights must be considered in context’. Indeed I agree with him in his conviction, that the time has come for the United States to take that first important step, from which other steps will follow – the ratification of the UN Convention.

Thankfully there is hope as President Barack Obama at the Walden University Presidential Youth debate in October 2008, described the United States failure to ratify the UN Convention as ‘embarrassing’ and has promised to review it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Blood is thicker than water"

Following this week’s readings, I was particularly intrigued to learn how the definition of the family has evolved overtime in the United States. The term has indeed become vague and flexible to accommodate a number of relationships and living arrangements between two or more people. Besides the traditional family arrangement of father, mother and child (ren), it is now common place to find nontraditional family arrangements, which include nonmarital, heterosexual, cohabiting relationships and homosexual cohabiting relationships amongst others. I thought even more interesting is the fact that while a “liberal” definition of the term family has been Lawfully adopted in some states like New York, in others like Minneapolis the Law does not recognize same sex partners as spouses or dependants. These disparities from place to place offer a good background in understanding the development, enactment and implementation of Family policies in the United States.
Back in Nigeria where I have spent most of my life, the term family is extremely important to most Nigerians and Africans as a whole. In Nigeria the term still has a traditional meaning. It is generally recognized by the formal and informal institutions as a group of people who are related by blood or marriage. There are simply two types of families in Nigeria. The first is the nuclear family which consists of a man his wife (or wives in polygamous homes) and their children. Some families may include adopted children. The second type of family which is more common not just in Nigeria but in the African continent as a whole, is the extended family. It is composed of two or more nuclear families. It goes beyond a man, his wife or wives to include other relatives. It often includes three generations, children, parents and grandparents. Not all members of the extended family live together in one household, usually the extended family is split into smaller nuclear units, each within its own household within a compound. In most families there exists a strong family bond often emphasized by the common phrase “blood is thicker than water”.
Naturally Nigeria is gradually being influenced by urbanization and migration, resulting in more nuclear family arrangements. Many of these however still bear traces of the extended family system, echoing overtime still that, “blood is thicker than water”.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Happiest people!

Hi everyone!

As you might already know my name is Anurika Ejimofor and everyone calls me Anuri.
I am currently a Masters student in the Family and Child Sciences program.

I hold a B.Sc in Family and Institutional Management from Nigeria. Since graduation I have worked in human resource and developmental positions and most recently with a family oriented non-governmental organization.

I have just arrived the U.S.! and I'm quite excited about this course. I look foward to an exciting and rewarding learning experience with everyone.

Overtime, I will be sharing my experiences, opinions and views (through my point of view, coming from Nigeria ) on class topics as we go along. As I look foward to learning with and from you, I hope you will also learn something(s) about Public policies /Child and Family Issues from a wider perspective.

To begin with, I invite you to visit: to learn about the most populous country in Africa, with over 500 languages! "naturally" a variety of religions and cultures, four distinct systems of Law and still the happiest people!(2003)

Let me know what you think!

Best regards.