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Participation resource guide

Participation in programme areas


Conflict situations and peace building

Children as participants in settings of Armed Conflict
Summary of an e-discussion
Jason Hart Ph.D, University of Oxford November 2004

This paper summarizes some of the key issues and insights emerging from a recent virtual discussion focused on children as participants in settings of armed conflict. Supported by the Adolescent Development and Participation (ADAP) unit at UNICEF NYHQ and facilitated by Jason Hart, the discussion took place over a two-month period (August and September, 2007) and involved experts from academic and practitioner backgrounds (see appendix for list of names). Between them these experts have first-hand knowledge of a great many of the world’s countries and regions that have experienced armed conflict over the past two decades.

Children's Participation in Humanitarian Action

Learning from zones of armed conflicts  Canadian International Development Agency Jason Hart Ph.D Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford February, 2004

This document considers the benefits and challenges of supporting children’s participation in humanitarian action. It is based on the study of projects in eastern Sri Lanka, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Nepal, there are separate reports for each area.

Kit of Tools: For Participatory Research and Evaluation with Children, Young People and Adults

A compilation of tools used during a Thematic Evaluation and Documentation on Children’s Participation in Armed Conflict, Post Conflict and Peace Building, 2006-2008
Save the Children Norway 2008 (Clare Feinstein and Claire O’Kane)

A key feature of this evaluation and research process has been the active involvement of hildren, young people and adults from clubs, groups and associations in schools and local communities in the four countries. The participation of the girls and boys involved has been made more meaningful and inclusive by building their capacity to apply and use a variety of child friendly tools among their peers as well as with adults. These tools are contained in this ‘kit’ which has been developed collaboratively by the global researchers and the four country teams over the course of this evaluation. It has been enriched, adapted and expanded by contributions from the children, young people and adults. Each of the tools has its own history about how and where it originated. Many of the tools may have already been adapted for use in other, different contexts. We therefore extend our acknowledgment and appreciation to all the practitioners who have played a role in developing, sharing and adapting participatory tools such as these.

Ethical guidelines: For ethical, meaningful and inclusive children’s participation practice
Save the Children Norway2008 (Clare Feinstein and Claire O’Kane)

These guidelines have been drawn up to ensure ethical, meaningful and inclusive child participation practice, both with and by children, young people and adults, during the Thematic Evaluation and Documentation process.
The guidelines focus on:
• ensuring that Practice Standards on Children’s Participation are fully incorporated in the process
• developing some general principles for good child participation practice
• exploring possible risks faced when working with children in conflict situations and ways of dealing with them
• ensuring that Child Protection issues are dealt with appropriately and sensitively
• ensuring that the diversity of children’s experiences is captured
• ensuring that issues which reflect or reinforce child-adult power relations are dealt with
• exploring discrimination and ensuring non-discrimination is practiced
• ensuring effective communication and co-ordination
At the end of the guidelines there is a Checklist of some key ethical considerations for research involving children and young people.

I Painted Peace: Handbook on Peace Building with and for Children and Young People
’Children as Agents of Peace’ drawing by a 14 year old girl in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Save the Children Norway2008 (Clare Feinstein and Claire O’Kane) http://www.reddbarna.no/default.asp?V_ITEM_ID=19028

This handbook has been designed and developed together with children and young people for children and young people. It is, however, also meant to be of use and interest to adults. The children and young people involved in the production of this handbook would like to promote, build and sustain peace in their local communities, schools, districts, and nations. The handbook may be most suitable for children and young people aged 12 years and upwards. Children, young people and adults contributing to this handbook have also had good experiences of using some of the tools and guidance with younger children aged 6-12 years. Children under the age of 6 years can also be encouraged and supported to promote peace and to participate in decision-making in creative ways.
The handbook is important as it recognizes children’s role as agents of peace. The idea behind this handbook is to encourage more adults to listen to girls’ and boys’ voices carefully and seriously and to work with them as partners in creating and sustaining peace. In this way, the handbook helps to promote children’s participation leading to the better fulfillment of children’s rights.

Academy for Educational Development, Youth as a Catalyst for Peace: Helping youth develop the vision, skills, and behaviors to promote peace, Center for Civil Society and Governance, AED, Washington, D.C., 2005.
Based on AED’s experiences with youth development, this document shows that youth are much more likely to choose peaceful resolutions to conflicts if they have strong self-esteem and strong connections to their own community, a sense of empowerment to make decisions, opportunities to get to know youth who are different from them and have access to job training and employment.

Bainvel, Bertrand, ‘The Thin Red Line: Youth participation in times of human-made crises’, UNICEF, no date.
This short paper highlights the dangers of involving children in conflict situations.
Available from: www.intranet.unicef.org (only accessible by UNICEF staff)

Boyden, Jo, ‘Conducting Research with War-Affected and Displaced Children’ in Rethinking Childhood: Perspectives on children’s rights, Special issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly, Issue 24.2, Cambridge, MA, 2000.
Research in situations of conflict can be sensitive and may affect the privacy, well-being and security of subjects. This paper explores some of the ethical and moral obligations that should be met while conducting research with children. It addresses the ethical dilemmas that are involved in the process.

Boyden, Jo, ‘Children Under Fire: Challenging assumptions about children‘s resilience’ in Children, Youth and Environments, Vol. 13, No. 1, ISSN 1546-2250, 2003.
This article examines perceptions of childhood, child development and theories of human responses to adversity. It calls for a paradigm shift in thinking about children as agents of their own development, even in situations of conflict.

Boyden, Jo and Gillian Mann, Children’s Risk, Resilience and Coping in Extreme Situations, Background paper to the Consultation on Children in Adversity, Oxford, 2000.
This paper, produced by the Refugee Studies Centre, reviews existing evidence on childhood adversity and provides background information for a consultation on children in adversity.

Cameron, Sara, Out of War: True stories from the frontlines, Scholastic in collaboration with UNICEF, ISBN 0-439-29721-4, 2001.
This is a first-person account of the struggle for peace by 10 young people from Colombia’s Children’s Peace Movement.

Carlson, Lisa, Megan Mackeson-Sandbach and Tim Allen (eds.), Children in Extreme Situations: Proceedings from the 1998 Alistair Berkley Memorial Lecture, Development Studies Institute, LSE, London, UK, 2000.
This is a collection of presentations on children in conflict situation. It presents differing views and debates on children’s rights and protection in extreme situations.

CIDA, A Kind of Friendship: Working for and with war-affected children and youth, A resource manual for programmers, Children as Peace Builders Project (CAP), DCI-Canada and the CIDA, Gatineau, Quebec, 2003.
This manual is based on field experiences in conflict and post-conflict situations. It focuses on the impact of war from children’s perspectives and discusses programming issues.
Available for download:

CIDA, Support to Former Child Soldiers: Programming and proposal, CIDA, 2005.
This guide provides practical tools on how to help child soldiers. It includes checklists, a risk-analysis matrix, a grid for evaluating proposals and designing programmes.

Delap, Emily, Fighting Back: Child and community-led strategies to avoid children’s recruitment into armed forces and groups in West Africa, Save the Children UK, London, 2005.
This report is based on interviews and discussions with around 200 children and 300 parents and caregivers in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It presents a number of preventive strategies used by children, families and communities.

Elliott, Heather (ed.), Children and Peacebuilding: Experiences and perspectives. World Vision, ISBN 1-875140-49-2, Melbourne, Australia and Milton Keynes, UK, 2001.
This publication brings together a collection of examples of children’s roles in peace building from Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Australia.

Hart, Jason, Children’s Participation in Humanitarian Crises: Learning from zones of armed conflict: Synthesis report prepared for the Canadian International Development Agency, Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford, UK, 2004.
This document considers the benefits and challenges of supporting children’s participation in humanitarian action. It is based on the study of projects in eastern Sri Lanka, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Nepal (see separate reports for each area).

Kemper, Yvonne, Youth in War-to-Peace Transitions: Approaches of international organizations, Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management, ISSN 0949-6858, Berlin, 2005.
This study focuses on youth in war-to-peace transitions. It examines the approaches international organizations have taken and their impact. The paper highlights two case studies of good practices in peace building and examines the practical aspect of involving youth in post-conflict peace building.

Lowicki, Jane, Untapped Potential: Adolescents affected by armed conflict: A review of programs and policies, Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, New York, 2000.
This report draws attention to the special needs of adolescents affected by armed conflict and analyses the cost of leaving them to fend for themselves. It discusses the special needs and potential of this group of children and proposes interventions that can be implemented to tap their potential and strengthen their capacities to promote well-being and the stability of their families and societies.

Lowicki, Jane, Youth Speak Out: New voices on the protection and participation of young people affected by armed conflict, Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, New York, 2005.
Drawing on research conducted by more than 150 adolescents in Kosovo, northern Uganda and Sierra Leone, Youth Speak Out provides an overview of the problems and challenges young people face during and after armed conflict. It offers youth-driven solutions for addressing these problems.

Newman, Jesse, Voices Out of Conflict: Young people affected by forced migration and political crisis, Post-conference report, Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford, 2004.
This conference report provides a critical discussion of child and youth participation as a form of protection in situations of conflict.

Newman, Jesse, Protection Through Participation: Young people affected by forced migration and political crisis, RSC Working Paper No. 20, Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford, 2005.
This paper explores the importance, possibilities, challenges and limitations of young people’s participation as a way to protect themselves in situations of conflict. It was written before the conference on ‘Voices Out of Conflict’.

Save the Children, Building Peace Out of War. Children and Young People as Agents of Peace: The young generation’s challenge, Save the Children, Norway, Oslo, 2005.
In July 2005, youth from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Kosovo, Nepal, Norway, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Uganda gathered to provide inputs to the Childhoods 2005 conference. They exchanged experiences and learned methods for peace building.

Save the Children, Reaching All: Core principles for working with children associated with armed groups and forces, Save the Children UK, London, 2005.
This position paper outlines critical issues for working with children involved with armed groups.

Save the Children, Listen To Us! Children’s rights in peace processes and peace agreement, Save the Children, ISBN 82-7481-141-0, Norway, 2006.
This report is based on a seminar organized by Save the Children Norway on children and young people affected by armed conflict. It discusses approaches to children’s involvement in peace-building initiatives.

UNICEF, Adult Wars, Child Soldiers: Voices of children involved in armed conflict in the East Asia and Pacific Region, UNICEF, EAPRO, ISBN 974-685-015-6, Bangkok, 2002.
This collection of the voices of former child soldiers is a resource for policy makers and programme planners. By documenting the experiences of children abducted or recruited by armed groups and forces, it provides powerful evidence that children should never be forced or permitted to participate in armed conflict.

UNICEF, Caught in the Crossfire No More: A framework for commitment to war–affected children, Final Report of the Experts meeting at the International Conference on War–Affected Children, UNICEF and Government of Canada, Winnipeg, 2002.
The International Conference on War-Affected Children in Winnipeg, Canada from 10–17 September 2002 was the largest-ever gathering of governments, experts, academics, NGOs and young people to discuss issues facing children affected by war. The goal of the conference was to move the international community from words to action.

UNICEF, Adolescent Programming in Conflict and Post–Conflict Situations: Case Studies, UNICEF, New York, 2003.
This collection of case studies demonstrates how adolescents can contribute to creating better and more peaceful societies.

Youth Statement for the Ministerial Meeting at the International Conference on War-Affected Children, Winnipeg, Canada, 2002.
This statement summarizes the main concerns of young participants at the largest international conference on war-affected children.

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