Staff in action: Roberto Álvarez Torres

Monday 22 April 2019

Within the framework of our Centenary we want to highlight key people who have been contributing for years to the fulfillment of children's rights in Nicaragua. We present to you Roberto Álvarez Torres, Child Right´s Governance Project Coordinator in Nicaragua Country Office. More than 15 years ago, he took part on SC project when as a child communicator. 

What is your name, role, location and how long you have been working for Save the Children?

Roberto Álvarez, Child Right´s Governance Project Coordinator in Nicaragua Country Office. I have been in Save the Children for two years in two different roles (until December 2018 as Communication and Advocacy Officer).

What programme, response or project are you working on?

Child Right´s Governance

How does your work help the organisation and the children we work for?

There are several factors that I would like to highlight, but I will focus on what I consider is CRG work in promoting child participation inside and outside the organization. I believe that the voices of children should be heard more, even within our organization. When spaces are provided for the girls and boys to participate in their own development and in the decision-making of ALL the situations that concern them, it is how the foundations are laid for the construction of more just, egalitarian, democratic societies completely different from the country that historically we have had. I think that this paradigm shift in relation to the involvement of children and adolescents in society is one of the main contributions that Save the Children provides.

Why did you join Save the Children?

I did because I had the certainty that from Save the Children would provide a modest contribution to the fulfilment and strengthening of children's rights. In addition, Save the Children is a benchmark for the rights of children and adolescents (my passion, I would say my own life) in Nicaragua and the world.

What is your greatest achievement in your time with Save the Children and why?

The realization of innovative communication products of such quality that can be shared with other offices in the region.

Which of Save the Children’s values do you identify with and how do you demonstrate this in your day-to-day work?

I identify with all the values of Save the Children; otherwise, I would not be in this organization. I try to put them into practice day by day. All of us who collaborate in this organization are ambassadors of it and we must behave in accordance with our speech. Values such as transparency and accountability must govern our daily work. Our programs and projects are financed with public funds and it is necessary to use it effectively and efficiently so that our interventions can achieve lasting changes in the lives of the people with whom we work, especially children. In a context like Nicaragua where there is a lot to be done because children's rights are a reality, we have to be ambitious, proposing big goals, obviously according to real possibilities. The same context obliges us to use a lot of creativity and innovation, as well as to work in collaboration with other local and international organizations to meet our objectives and goals.

What was your experience of Save the Children as a beneficiary? How did this shape your life?

The first time in my life, I heard the word right, I was 11 years old. I was recently part of the MILAVF (CRG partner) children communicators’ interest group. I remember that we were writing ideas for a radio program that Save the Children and its partners had. Once a month it was up to MILAVF to give life to this space. I participated doing that program until its closure. From that day, children´s rights became my passion, I would say that my life itself, to the point of turning my professional career, I put aside the profession in which I trained, anesthetize, and focus on working in child rights. I recognize that many hands are needed to help in a hospital, however, it is much more necessary that people from their construction and deconstruction, give their small contributions so that children and adolescents are recognized as social subjects of rights, that the adults understand that children and adolescents have rights and needs that concern us all and all attend.

Maybe we are not like the day I heard the word "rights" for the first time, but we still have very big challenges, and we have them from government institutions and social organizations, to every Nicaraguan. Today, a little more than 15 years after that day that I fell in love with the rights of children and adolescents, I work in what I am passionate about, and I am filled as a person. In addition, I consider to be contributing to the construction of a better country, where childhood and adolescence can be developed in an integral way.

What do you remember the most about Save the Children when you were a beneficiary?

Without a doubt, it is a radio studio where two girls and two boys talked about children's rights; it is the first thing that comes to mind.

 Which moment from our 100-year history are you the proudest of and why?

I am proud of our founder, Eglantyne Jebb, who was one of the people who wrote the first "letter" on the rights of children (Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child, 1924), and that it would become into the Convention of the Rights of the Child in the future.

During our 100th Year, we are celebrating our legacy, launching a new three-year global work plan and a new global campaign, Stop the War on Children. What excites you about this year and why?

The launch of "Stop the War on Children" new campaign is an opportunity to mobilize and advocate socially and politically touching on impacts that violence has on the lives of girls and boys. In those contexts even where there is no declared war but they are of great social and political convulsion as the case of the majority of Central America.

What is your one hope for Save the Children in the future?

My hope is to see Save the Children broadening its interventions and scope in every office in all countries where we operate.