UNB Research

UNB research team’s project seeks to identify how to give children around the globe the best lives possible.

Author: UNB Research

Posted on Sep 28, 2022

Category: Research

Dr. Ziba Vaghri, an associate professor at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), wants to give the world’s decision-makers the tools they need to protect children and respect their rights through a new project – InspiRights.

Working from UNB’s Saint John campus, Dr. Vaghri leads the GlobalChild research program that has established the GlobalChild platform, a child rights monitoring system developed by an international team of experts and under the guidance of the United Nations (UN) Committee.

This platform was built to provide governments around the globe with a comprehensive portal to monitor their progress in upholding the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC explicitly recognizes children as human rights holders and lists these rights under 41 separate articles. The 196 signatory governments hold the primary duty under the Convention to take every measure to respect, protect and fulfill these rights.

But how, exactly, can they best satisfy these obligations? What practices and policies create the best outcomes for children?

Those questions led Dr. Vaghri to start her latest project, InspiRights. We spoke with her about the project and how people can take part in creating a better future for children everywhere.

What is InspiRights?

InspiRights is a project that seeks to create a global inventory of good practices that further children’s rights. These good practices could include legislation, policies, and programs that support the fulfilment of children’s rights under the Convention.

The main project has been funded with a five-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the child consultation component has been funded by the NB Health Research Foundation.

Who is a part of this project?

Because we want to cover the entire globe, we’ve assembled a group of eight international partner universities, each of whom will oversee a particular region. These institutions include:

In addition to leading data collection efforts in North America, UNB will serve as the headquarters of this international project.

What are you hoping to achieve through this project?

We know that there is a lack of understanding among signatory governments of what types of policies, programs, or processes could best fulfil children’s rights. These technical shortcomings hinder governments’ compliance with the CRC and the effectiveness of the UN Committee in playing its advisory role.

InspiRights will help create this understanding by identifying some of the best practices found around the world. In identifying these, we want to provide countries with a comprehensive list of these practices and of which elements in them contribute to their success and effectiveness. Such a list can help inspire countries’ actions in upholding children’s rights under the UNCRC.

We will also conduct a number of knowledge translation activities to share the results of our surveys with stakeholders, the general public, and children.

Ultimately, we want to promote child development by facilitating child rights implementation.

How will you identify these good practices?

The practices included in the InspiRights database will be gathered through surveys. The first surveys focus on identifying good practices from the North American region.

Following this North American survey, we will broaden our search to a global level, opening up the survey to all regions and identifying good practices worldwide.

After the close of the survey, the InspiRights team will review and analyze the practices proposed by respondents by screening them against a set of characteristics to evaluate their suitability and impact.

Whom are you hoping will respond to the survey, and how can they participate?

The participants we hope to reach with this survey include individuals, organizations and government officials with experience in, knowledge of, and interest in children’s rights in North America.

For example, pediatricians, academic researchers working in child-related fields, NGOs and child-protection workers may be well-positioned to nominate good practices.

As the CRC provides children with a wide array of rights, including rights related to civil and political rights, health, education, family and protection from violence, we are looking for participants from a correspondingly wide range of disciplines. What is essential for us is that the participants have knowledge of practices that they believe are good ones for improving the lives of children.

The North American InspiRights survey will be available from Sep. 26 through Nov. 7, 2022, at https://unbbusiness.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3jANOofkNyUT8Gi.

To learn more about the InspiRights project, visit: https://www.unb.ca/globalchild/projects/inspiright.html.

More information

Dr. Ziba Vaghri (orcid) | Faculty of Business

Research at UNB | Graduate Studies at UNB | Postdoctoral fellowships