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Participation resource guide

Participation in programme areas


Children with disabilities, orphans, refugees

Not Seen or Heard: The Lives of Separated Refugee Children in Dar es Salaam
Save the Children Sweden 2003 Gillian Mann

The purpose of this case study was to learn from boys and girls, their siblings, peers, parents, guardians and others about children’s networks of support and the joys and challenges of their daily lives. It was felt that the situation of separated refugee children needed to be considered alongside that of refugee children who live with their parents: to date, nearly all research with separated children has been done in isolation from the issues of broader relevance to refugee children in general. This study thus aimed to place the needs, circumstances and perspectives of separated Congolese boys and girls in the context of that of their urban refugee peers.   Participant observation and child-focused participatory methods were used throughout the research process. Both collective and individual research methods were employed. The separated children who participated in this study are boys and girls of all ages. Nearly all came to Dar es Salaam directly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or from another Tanzanian town; very few had ever been to a refugee camp. The large majority of children have come to the city since 1996 as a result of the escalation of conflict in eastern DRC. These boys and girls have made their way to Dar es Salaam in a number of different ways and there they live in a variety of different living situations.

Refugees in Lebanon Palestinian children’s voices
Save the Children Sweden 2006 Mia Gröndahl

This report is part of a series of reports about Palestinian children’s rights. The Swedish journalist Mia Gröndahl has met and interviewed Palestinian refugee children residing in Lebanon in order for them to tell us, in their own words; what it is like to be a Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon. The children talk about how they experience daily violations of their rights and how they feel hopelessness and frustration; but also about the things they enjoy and that make them happy in life, as well as about how they are dreaming about and aiming for a better future. Save the children Sweden hopes that this report will initiate a debate in Sweden, Lebanon and internationally about the Palestinian refugee child’s situation. We would also like to see this report as a demand to stakeholders to take their responsibility for the implementation of these children’s rights.

Think of Me, Think of You
Save The Children , 2004

 This guide is an anti-discrimination training resource for young people by young people. It has been developed and designed by young people in Northern Ireland to raise issues around cultural diversity and children's rights. It presents statistics on ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland, and looks at issues like stereotypes, multiple heritage backgrounds, difference and integration, and family and community expectations. A great number of young people from diverse community and cultural background participated in the project that demonstrated that there is a genuine interest in working for and on behalf of their own and other communities. Their ideas were fascinating in many areas, and they also worked to help on the content and design of this document. Their continued participation is crucial to mainstreaming issues of cultural diversity into Northern Ireland and for the eradication of racism, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.I am
Discrimination and Human Rights in Uruguay. The Voice of Children and Adolescents An example of Good Practice when Working on the Issue of Discrimination
Save the Children Sweden, 2005

The researchers and authors of this report have successfully used a qualitative methodology to collect empirical data. The primary data principally consists of individual in-depth interviews with children and adolescents from different departments and discussion groups/workshops with children who have experienced different forms of discrimination. This publication enlightens us on the different areas of concern, such as exclusion and socio-economic discrimination as well as other specific forms of discrimination and possible protective mechanisms against the problem. The publication is part of the process of thematic development of our work with Non-Discrimination in Latin American and the Caribbean region. At the same time it wants to show cases of discrimination in different countries of the region and ways of acting in these situations in order to combat discrimination. This study helps to identify the main actors in the society who are in charge of implementing the existing laws and regulations against discrimination, and of proposing protection measures to combat discrimination. The other important component is that it is not enough that children tell us their opinions; more important is that somebody listens to them and that the situations are changed.

Equal you and Equal Me, Save the Children
Through this book children from 7 years can learn about the types of discrimination they may face in their day to day life and the many forms of discrimination faced by other children throughout the world.

Learning from Children Families and Communities to increase CP in Primary School
Save the Children US

 Save the Children US is working through Basic Education Strategic Overhaul II/ Strengthening Communities through Partnerships for Education (BESO II/SCOPE) to increase the quality of education and the participation of girls in primary education. One strategy for achieving this objective is training a variety of stakeholders about gender issues in education, thus building their capacity to mobilize communities to serve the needs of girls more effectively through the formal and non-formal educational systems. Save the Children US has decided to take a Behavior Change Approach to address the challenges that have been identified. Behavior Change Approaches have been widely used to increase the impact of Health and Nutrition programs for decades, and sectors such as Food Security and Education are beginning to adopt them. The principle behind Behavior Change Approaches is that in order to successfully change behaviors (such as parents sending girls to school, or teachers supporting girls to succeed in school), programs must reduce barriers to change as well as convince stakeholders of the benefits of change.

Boys For Change
Save the Children 2007, Moving towards gender equality (Ravi Karkara)

 The case stories in this report shows that we are indeed taking small steps towards gender equality. But they also show the difficulties boys and men meet when they want to change their behavior and attitudes and fight inequalities. However there are strong child rights and social economical arguments in favor of working with boys and men to challenge root causes of violence against children. Save the Children focuses on the participation of girls and boys as part of an overall strategy. The purpose of children’s participation is to empower them as individuals and as members of civil society, giving them a genuine opportunity to express their views and to be involved in decisions and actions. The projects described in this study are precisely the kind of gender transformational approach that is needed. Save the Children Sweden is among the organizations that are playing a vital role in the enlargement of this discussion, in promoting gender transformation and in taking this challenge into communities around the world.

Promoting the Rights of Children with Disabilities
(UNICEF Innocenti)

The Innocenti Digest is based on reports from countries across regions and from a wide range of sources. These include accounts by persons with disabilities, their families and members of their communities, non-governmental organizations, as well as country reports submitted by Member States to the United Nations, including to human rights treaty bodies responsible for monitoring the implementation of international human rights treaties. It focuses particularly on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Society must adapt its structures to ensure that all children, irrespective of age, gender and disability, can enjoy the human rights that are inherent to their human dignity without discrimination of any kind.
Disability cannot be considered in isolation. It cuts across all aspects of a child’s life and can have very different implications at different stages in a child’s life cycle. The Digest aims, therefore, to encourage actors at all levels − from the local to the international − to include
children with disabilities in all their programmes and projects and to ensure that no child is left out.

It’s About Ability Learning Guide on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2009 Valerie Karr

The purpose of this human rights activities guide is to empower children and young people with and without disabilities to speak out on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to advocate for their rights and to make their communities more inclusive. The guide was designed to serve as a resource to the booklet It’s About Ability:
An explanation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a summary of the Convention written especially for children. The activities in this guide are to be used by young leaders, peer educators, teachers and other educators at the community level to facilitate learning among 12- to 18-year-olds about the Convention and how it applies to children. The main thrust of this guide is that all children and young people are equal: with appropriate attitudes, supports and confidence every person can lead fruitful and self-determined lives in her or his community with dignity.

See Me, Hear Me
A guide to using the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to promote the rights of children  Save the Children 2009

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities represented the culmination of many years of consistent advocacy by the disability community in their struggle for recognition of their rights. The Convention marks a turning point: it asserts that the rights of people with disabilities must be recognized and respected on an equal basis with others; it provides a comprehensive and coherent analysis of the measures needed to overcome the discrimination, poverty, violence, neglect, isolation and denial of independence and human dignity they face. It also provides mechanisms to hold governments to account in implementing those measures.
The Convention must also be implemented. Civil society organizations will continue to play a central role in ensuring that this happens. The advocacy that has been so successful at international level now needs to be replicated at national level, with those working for disability and for children’s rights collaborating and utilizing each others’ knowledge and expertise. Joint advocacy will have the greatest impact in persuading governments to introduce the necessary legislation, policies, resources, public awareness campaigns and government structures to achieve real change in the lives of children with disabilities. This guide represents a significant contribution towards that process. Its detailed analysis of the two Conventions, and their interrelationship, together with practical guidance on strategies for advocacy and illustrations of good practice, make it an invaluable tool for practitioners committed to bringing an end to discrimination against children with disabilities. The hurdles to be overcome are very high. This guide should contribute to ensuring that they are not insurmountable.

Memory Book: memory, grief and identity: Life Stories from Orphaned Children.
Save the Children Sweden East and Central Africa Region 2006

This book is the result of a memory project undertaken by Save the Children Sweden and Handicap National in a deprived area of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during December 2005. Eighteen children were involved in the project all of whom come from particularly poor urban backgrounds and have experienced the death of one or more parent, in nearly all cases from HIV/AIDS. These children were given a space to tell their stories and to be listened to. The overall objective of the memory project was to enable orphaned children in a deprived area of Addis Ababa to talk freely about their feelings and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. It was intended that this be an empowering process for the children involved and that it should enable them to develop strategies for coping and to learn from one another. In the process of remembering their bereavement, central issues of identity, memory and heritage were clarified and a narrative emerges from them relating how and why their parents had died and the repercussions this has had on their lives.

Adams, Eileen and Sue Ingham, Changing Places: Children’s participation in environmental planning, The Children Society, London, 1998.
This book shows how children of all ages can participate in the process of change in the world around them. It encourages planners, architects, youth and community workers, teachers and others to consider: what community participation means, how children learn about planning processes and how children’s opinions and views may best be elicited and incorporated into a planning process.

Bartlett, Sheridan, Cities for Children: Children’s rights, poverty and urban management, Earthscan and UNICEF, ISBN 1-85383-470-X, 1999.
This publication is intended to help urban authorities and organizations understand and respond to the rights, needs and concerns of children and adolescents. It looks at the responsibilities that authorities carry and discusses practical measures for meeting these. Written by specialists

Bartlett, Sheridan, ‘Building Better Cities with Children and Youth’ in Environment and Urbanization, 14 (2) 3-10, IIED, London, 2002.
This brief focuses on older children and youth who face barriers and limited opportunities for constructive engagement in their own communities. Recognizing young people as experts in their own environments, this paper shows how to include children’s needs into practices of local governments.

Bartlett, Sheridan and Roger Hart, Children’s Environmental Rights, Save the Children Sweden, ISBN 91-7321-050-1, Stockholm, 2002.
This document highlights the environmental challenges that affect children in housing, schools and other institutions. It examines the characteristics of homes and neighbourhoods that best support children’s rights.

Chawla, Louise (ed.), Growing Up in an Urbanized World, UNESCO, Paris, 2002.
Written by an interdisciplinary team of child-environment specialists, this publication emphasizes the active role of children and youth in the planning, design and implementation of urban improvements. The book summarizes the results of an eight-nation UNESCO project in low-income neighbourhoods. It explores the impact of urbanization on the lives of young people, children’s perceptions of a good city and the factors that encourage the active participation of children in making their urban environments child-friendly.

Chawla, Louise, ‘Insight, Creativity and Thoughts on the Environment: Integrating children and youth into human development’ in Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 14, IIED, London, 2002.
This paper discusses the benefits of involving children in planning and managing human settlements as they learn the formal skills of democracy and of creating opportunities for young people to contribute their knowledge, energies and perceptions about local environments. It includes suggestions for creating formal channels to include children in schools and community-based programmes.

Driskell, David, Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth: A manual for participation, Earthscan, UNESCO in collaboration with members of the Growing Up in Cities Project, London, 2002.
This is a useful, practical manual on how to conceptualize, structure and facilitate the participation of young people in the community development process. The methods and contents of this manual have been field-tested. The case studies help to demonstrate the methods in action and show how they can be customized.

Hart, Roger A., Children’s Participation: The theory and practice of involving young citizens in community development and environmental care, Earthscan, ISBN 1853833223, London, 1997.
This manual focuses on conceptual issues, processes and methods of involving children in community development projects. It includes case studies from diverse cultures and social classes to demonstrate a range of useful and effective techniques to facilitate children’s participation in projects.

Hart, Roger A., The Children’s Community Participation Handbook: Methods for involving citizens aged four to fourteen in sustainable development of the environment, UNICEF, New York, forthcoming.

Knowles-Yánez, Kimberly, ‘Children’s Participation in Planning Processes’ in Journal of Planning Literature, 20: 3-14, Sage Publications, 2005.
This article reviews different approaches to involving children in local land–use planning processes. Based on this analysis, the paper develops a new approach using components from the studied approaches.

Swart–Kruger, Jill (ed.), Growing up in Canaansland: Children’s recommendations on improving a squatter camp environment, A site report in the international UNESCO-MOST project “Growing Up in Cities”, UNESCO, ISBN 0-7969-1907-0, 2000.
This research report is part of the “Growing up in Cities” project that studies children’s perceptions of resources and risks in their urban environments through participatory research and planning. The report covers participatory research conducted by children to evaluate the living conditions in Canaansland, one of the largest squatter camps in Johannesburg. It illustrates the process and methods of conducting research with children and involving them in advocacy and planning with urban decision makers.

The National Youth Agency, The Active Involvement of Young People in Developing Safer Communities, The National Youth Agency and the Crime Reduction and Social Inclusion Unit of the Government Office of the West Midlands, UK, 2002.
This comprehensive guide sets out the principles and processes required to meaningfully involve young people in the development of safer communities. It highlights a wide range of examples of how youth services and other agencies have involved young people in crime-reduction programmes, to the benefit of young people and their communities.

UNICEF, Building Child Friendly Cities, A framework for action, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, 2004.
This document provides a framework for defining and developing a child-friendly city. It identifies the steps to build a local system of governance committed to fulfilling children’s rights. The framework is intended to facilitate children’s participation in creating living environments that support their healthy development.

Varney, Darcy and Willem van Vliet, ‘Local Environmental Initiatives Oriented to Children and Youth: A review of UN-Habitat best practices,’ in Children, Youth and Environments, 15 (2), Colorado, 2005.
This article presents the results of a study of child- and youth-oriented environmental initiatives from around the world. It reviews how local communities and municipalities are working to create environments that support the rights and priorities of children.

Wurtele, Susan and Jill Ritchie, ‘Healthy Travel, Healthy Environments: Integrating youth and child perspectives into local municipal transportation planning,’ in Children, Youth and Environments, 15 (2), Colorado, 2005.
This article presents the experiences of Active and Safe Routes to School, a national programme to increase active and safe travel by children on the home-to-school journey and thereby to improve health, traffic safety, air quality and community connections. The research project described here involved transportation studies carried out at 10 schools by geography students in cooperationwith parents and schools.

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