Child and youth participation resource guide

Involvement in political decision-making

 
 

Child and youth participation in adult organizations

Learning democracy The experience of the School -Municipality model in Peru
Cathrine Terreros and Anna Tibblin   Save the Children Sweden in South America wanted to try a permanent model for children’s participation. The concept of School Municipalities was launched. The underlying idea is to use the schools to carry out an important socialization process with the aim of preparing citizens for the future. In Peru this coincided with a period when, after many years of dictatorial regime, there was a strong craving for democratic and participatory values. The School Municipality is now part of the Peruvian school system even if all schools still do not have such councils. The Ministry of Education has adopted it as compulsory for all schools; in due time all school children should at least theoretically benefit from this forum for pupil participation. The children who are elected may be children who would make themselves heard anyhow, as well as the fact that adults may manipulate children in a School Council. Now that the School Municipalities exist as an accepted system, the real challenge is to make it worthwhile to participate on a continuous basis and to improve their quality so that girls and boys really feel that they are meaningful. A network of children’s School Councils provides a great opportunity to reach out to children on different topics that require their attention and opinions, for example urban planning, so called “child-friendly” programmes in general, HIV information and National Plans of Action
Bernard, Hans, The Power of an Untapped Resource: Exploring youth representation on your board or committee, Association of Alaska School Boards, Juneau, USA, 2001.
This handbook is based on youth experiences and suggestions and provides a list of basic criteria for creating an effective board that includes youth representation. It addresses topics such as how to prepare boards for youth involvement, choose representatives, address legal issues, recruit youth, and educate youth members. It also includes a checklist for adults and youth.

Checkoway, Barry, Adults as Allies, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, no date.
This workbook focuses on sensitizing adults on the benefits and necessity of youth participation in community action. It provides information on assessing the assets of youth, essential elements of youth development and checklists for adults and children to respect each other and work together.

Lansdown, Gerison, Involvement of Children and Young People in Shaping the Work of Save the Children, A Report to the SC-UK Board, Save the Children UK, London, 2003.
This report reviews Save the Children’s experience in involving children in its work and identifies gaps in children’s participation in the organization’s governance. It gives an overview of where and how children are involved, analyses the impact of their participation, raises questions regarding accountability and proposes recommendations to strengthen Save the Children’s commitment to children’s participation.
Email: supporter.care@savethechildren.org.uk

Michel, Emma and Di Hart, Involving Young People in the Recruitment of Staff, Volunteers and Mentors, National Children’s Bureau, London, 2002.
This is a practical resource pack for organizations wishing to involve young people in the recruitment of staff, volunteers and mentors. It is particularly useful for agencies providing social care services to children and young people, such as residential child care and mentoring for care leavers. It can also be adapted for use by schools and health care providers who want to develop children’s
participation.

NSW Commission for Children and Young People, Taking Participation Seriously, New South Wales Commission for Children and Young People, Australia.
Booklet One: Sharing the Stage
Booklet Two: All aBoard!

Taking Participation Seriously consists of six booklets that provide comprehensive information and practical tools for involving youth in decision-making processes. ‘Sharing the Stage’ explores the idea of youth participation and looks at five key elements that are necessary for effective participation in decision making. It includes practical ideas and examples of what has worked for other organizations. ‘All aBoard’ looks at why and how organizations can involve children and young people on agency boards and committees. It provides information on the recruitment, roles and responsibilities, induction, supporting young people before and after meetings and on making
meetings fun.

Office of the Children’s Rights Commissioner for London, Advisory Board Handbook, OCRC, London, 2001.
The Office of the Children’s Rights Commissioner for London was a fixed-term voluntary project that promoted the full implementation of the CRC and making London a child-friendly city. This handbook was compiled based on the work of 24 children and young people in an advisory board. The advisory board members were recruited and trained to work in partnership with paid adult staff members, help make decisions, contribute their expertise and make sure that a project remained child-focused.

Save the Children, The Recruitment Pack, Save the Children UK and the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights, UK.
This pack was designed to support organizations wishing to involve children and young people in the recruitment and selection of staff. It is based on practical experiences from organizations and young people from across Scotland.
Email: fiona.robertson@sacr.org.uk

Shepherd, Zeldin, At the Table: Making the case for youth in decision making, Research highlights from a study on the impacts of youth on adults and organizations, Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development and National 4-H Council, Tahoma Park, MD, USA, 2001.
This research report presents the findings of a study involving 15 organizations that involved youth in decision-making processes. It describes the nature of participation and its impact on the organizations and on children. The study concludes that in addition to promoting adolescent development, young people’s participation often has powerful and positive effects on adults and
organizations.
UN Programme on Youth [DESA], Youth and the Work of the United Nations: Growing Together, 2008
Although the United Nations Programme on Youth of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs is the only part of the United Nations Secretariat with the explicit mandate to address youth issues, this brochure shows how the United Nations system, as a whole, supports youth development with a diverse range of programmes and activities. Moreover, the brochure is a welcome example of how the United Nations system and the young people it serves are growing together.
Youth on Board, 14 Points: Successfully Involving Youth in Decision Making, Youth on Board, Somerville, MA, USA, no date. (Available for purchase or download)
This 220-page guide to youth involvement is a starting point for preparing young people to take ownership of their communities. It includes guidelines, worksheets, a resource directory and stories from the street. The guide is designed to help young people and adults work together to improve their communities.
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