Child and youth participation resource guide

Basics of child and youth participation


Capacity building

Capacity Building Workshop on Strengthening Meaningful and Ethical Participation of Girls and Boys UNICEF and Save the Children Sweden 2007. (Neha Bhandari and Ravi Karkara)

This is the conference report of the ‘Capacity Building Workshop on Strengthening Meaningful and Ethical Participation of Girls and Boys’ workshop where 76 participants representing UNICEF’s district, regional and national offices in Nepal, their partner organizations and local government officials, came together between 13-17 June 2006 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The workshop was organized by UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia and UNICEF Nepal, while it was facilitated by Save the Children Sweden, Regional Office for South and Central Asia. The workshop represents UNICEF and Save the Children’s commitment to take forward the movement on child participation in South Asia. The workshop report attempts to adapt the concept of meaningful and ethical child participation to a Nepalese context. It introduces several concepts of child participation, its various parameters and minimum standards that need to be implemented by adults together with children.

The evolving capacities of the child
UNICEF Innocenti Research Center 2005 ( Gerison Landsdown)

This study identifies three separate but inter-linked strands crucial to understanding the concept of the evolving capacities of the child. First, it analyses the developmental dimension of the CRC. Secondly, it analyses the participatory or emancipatory dimension. Finally, the study examines evolving capacities as a protective concept. It seeks the answers to questions like what can we learn from existing theory and research about the environments most likely to promote the optimum capacities of children? What do we know about the process of learning, the impact of poverty, the role of play, and the impact of different family. This publication represents a contribution towards what we hope will be a fruitful and challenging journey in understanding how universal human rights can be realized most effectively for children experiencing a multitude of childhoods across the globe. Further work will be needed in applying the concept to many rights recognized by the Convention – for example, the rights to information, freedom of association, freedom of religion, privacy, and the ages of marriage and medical treatment. More cross-cultural research is needed to explore how work and formal education serve to either promote or inhibit capacity.

One Step Beyond
Save the Children Sweden ,2008 ( Alana Kapell)
Understanding “advocacy” is a process that both adults and children alike learn more and more about every year. With every project, new lessons are learned and it is always possible to take our efforts “one step beyond” if we have the necessary information and support. This handbook can be used by advocacy experts, as well as anyone who thinks they do not know anything about advocacy, children and young people who have experience with advocacy or taking action to create change, or who want to create positive change but may have little or no experience with making a plan. Also by adults who want to support children and young people in their advocacy work and who want to improve their own advocacy projectsThe handbook will be most useful to use it during group planning and discussion, and with a lead facilitator or trainer to guide the group through the various activities.

Regional Capacity Building Workshop on Advocacy for Realizing Child Rights
Save the Children Sweden  2006 Neha Bhandari

This report will serve advocates who are waging their issue campaigns. In this report, advocacy issues have been unravelled on three main areas: gender-based violence, physical and psychological punishment and children's education in emergencies, especially in floods. Other specific issue efforts affecting the protection and strengthening of children's rights can be initiated. In every respect the participants reflected on their experience and concerns to gain insight on how to advance Child Rights Advocacy. The report reflects that experience and concern. The various sections of the report should be adapted for specific workshops. They provide a conceptual understanding of the connection between a rights-based approach and advocacy. The summary of ‘RegionalAdvocacy Workshop on Realising Child Rights’. The Nepal venue encompassed participants from the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nepal and Vietnam. The diversity and richness of experience led to the insightful understanding and learning reflected in this report. In every sense the workshop modelled the necessary leadership practices required to realize a Child Rights agenda. The participants exemplify the importance of what in other contexts we would call first principles.

Children's Participation - Experiences in capacity building and training
This publication analyses experiences from capacity-building and training in children's participation in project contexts. It examines the results of training adults and provides detailed examples of different ways to nvolve children. The lessons learned may be useful for organisations and individuals who plan to promote children's participation in their policies, reserach and interventions. It may be of specific use for agencies and professionals who work in different socio-cultural contexts where the concept of children's participation may be seen as alien to existing societal norms and values.

Can you hear me? The right of young children to participate in decisions affecting them
Bernard van Leer Foundation, 2005 ( Gerison Lansdown)

This study emphasizes that participation enhances children’s self-esteem and confidence, promotes their overall capacities, produces better outcomes, strengthens understanding of and commitment to democratic processes and protects children more effectively. In the 20 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the UN General Assembly, a proliferation of activity and thinking has evolved on the subject of children’s participation. Children have become visible in political arenas from the village development council at one end of the spectrum to the UN General Assembly at the other. They have been involved in research, consultations, campaigning and advocacy, peer education and support, programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, media work, policy analysis and conferences, as well as the development and running of their own organizations. Relatively little emphasis has been given to children under 8 years of age. The lives of children under 8 are managed by parents and carers, and a range of professionals – teachers, nursery teachers, playgroup leaders health workers – who have, thus far, been less pro-active in the debates on children’s rights; although clearly many such professionals do promote participatory practices with children.

Creating an Enabling Environment

Save the Children Sweden Southeast Asia and Pacific Region 2006

This book gives an account of how Save the Children Sweden and partners in Viet Nam went about creating an enabling environment for child participation in programmes. The recommendations from this assessment formed the basis for a capacity-building programme, which was based on a focus on working with adults rather than children – giving priority to increasing understanding and capacity of all staff and management within any organization before working partners in the field
The capacity-building programme in Viet Nam between 2000 and 2004 took place in the context of increasing debates about, and activities in, children’s participation worldwide

Bartlett, Sheridan, Joanna, Hill, Arnold Caroline, Conversations with Families to Prepare for Early Childhood Programming: Participatory research handbook, Save the Children (Norway, US and UK) and UNICEF, ISBN 92-806-3699, Kathmandu, 2001.
While focusing on early childhood programming, this handbook is a useful guide for all researchers. It describes the step-by-step process of participatory research design, data collection and analysis with community members.

Beenash, Jafri, Fire It Up! A toolkit for young action, Youth Action Network, Toronto, 2002.
This manual for youth organizations focuses on strengthening fair societies. It starts with a discussion of principles of anti-oppressive organizing, including colonialism, feminism, anti-racism, homophobia, and class. It provides tools and strategies for group organizing, event and project planning and meeting tools. It also includes profiles of successful projects and lists of youth organizations, resources
and websites.

van Beers, Henk, Children’s Participation: Experiences in capacity building and training, Save the Children Sweden, ISBN 91-89366-96-4, Stockholm, 2002.
This book is based on experiences with street and working children. It deals with developing understanding and skills for children’s participation among professional staff and within organizations. It includes information on the various aspects of training on children’s participation, including measuring the outcomes of such trainings.
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van Beers, Henk and Casper Trimmer,Adults First! An organizational training on children’s participation, Child Rights Foundation Cambodia and Save the Children Sweden, SEAP, Bangkok, 2006.
Any organization working for children’s rights needs to train its staff on children’s participation, not just people who are in daily contact with children but also managers, personnel officers and communicators. All agency staff need to understand the concepts and practices of children’s participation. Adults First! describes a typical organizational training on children’s participation run by SCS for a Cambodian NGO. It describes and explains the training activities used in the workshop. Adults First! is aimed at staff and managers of child-focused organizations and is a rich source of ideas and exercises to use with adults and young people.

van Beers, Henk, Vo Phi Chau, Judith Ennew, Pham Quoc Khan, Tran Thap Long, Brian Milne, Trieu Thi Anh Nguyet, Vu Thi Son, Creating an Enabling Environment. Capacity building in children’s participation, Save the Children Sweden, Viet Nam, 2000-2004, Save the Children Sweden, SEAP, Bangkok, 2006.
This report is an assessment of efforts to build capacities for children’s participation in Viet Nam, South-East Asia and elsewhere. It provides an overview of past experiences, describes successes and failures of the programme and builds the basis for planning future programmes to promote children’s participation. The assessment combined three simultaneous research processes carried out by three research teams. They include assessments of the Children-Friendly District in Ho Chi Minh City, national forums for children in Viet Nam and an assessment of the impact of the capacity-building programme in the South-East Asia and Pacific region and globally.

Commonwealth Secretariat, London, 2005.
One: Participation in the Second Decade of Life: What and Why?
Two: Adolescent and Youth Participation: Adults Get Ready!
Three: Adolescent Participation and the Project Cycle
Four: Tools for Adolescent and Youth Participation

Developed in collaboration with UNICEF’s Adolescent Development and Participation Unit, New York, these booklets are a set of four how-to guides on promoting meaningful adolescent participation in decision making. Together, the booklets provide a comprehensive framework for participation that can be adapted for various social and cultural environments. The first booklet explains what participation is and why it is important to involve young people in decision-making processes. The second booklet addresses the roles adults can play in creating an environment, which enables meaningful youth participation. The third booklet features the process and methodology of involving children in the project cycle. The fourth booklet offers tools and tips on involving youth in programmes and decision-making processes.

Dynamix Ltd, Participation – Spice It Up! Practical tools for engaging children and young people in planning and consultation, Save the Children UK, London, 2003.
This publication provides ideas and values that underlie youth participation approaches. It includes tried and tested examples of over 40 activities. The topics cover everything from getting started and gathering information to long-term planning and evaluation.

Ennew, Judith and Dominique Plateau, How to Research the Physical and Emotional Punishment of Children, Save the Children Sweden, ISBN 974-92438-6-6, Bangkok, 2004.
This book includes guidance and tools for programme managers and researchers for conducting scientific and ethical research with children. In clear language, it describes a 12-step process for planning, data collection, analysis and writing up research findings. Despite its title, this book also applies to more general research with children.

Gibbs, Sara, Gillian Mann, Nicola Mathers, Child-to-Child: A practical guide. Empowering children as active citizens, Health Action Zone, Groundwork Southwark, London, 2002.
This guide outlines a process for working with children ages 9–15 on projects that are child-initiated and child-led. It is an illustrated, easy-to-read resource for practitioners. It also contains sections on group work, choosing issues, conducting research, taking action and evaluation. It includes a list of recommended reading, additional resources and sample lesson plans.

Hodgkin, Rachel and Peter Newell, Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Fully Revised Edition, UNICEF, ISBN 92-806-3782-2, New York, 2002.
This handbook is a practical tool for those involved in implementing principles and provisions of the CRC and realizing the human rights of children. Under each article of the Convention, the handbook records and analyses interpretations by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the internationally elected body of independent experts established to monitor progress for children’s rights worldwide.

Kilgour, Kylie, Circus Skills: A training, support and development needs survey of participation workers, Carnegie Young People Initiative, London, UK, 2002.
This survey looks at training, support and developmental needs of participation workers. Its main recommendation is the need for a network of participation workers.

Kirby, Perpetua, Claire Lanyon, Kathleen Cronin and Ruth Sinclair, Building a Culture of Participation: Involving children and young people in policy, service planning, delivery and evaluation, Handbook, National Children’s Bureau, Department for Education and Skills, Nottingham and P.K. Research Consultancy, 2003.
This handbook draws on the findings of a research study that explored the experiences of 29 organizations in seeking to listen to young people and to take action on what they said. It moves beyond the acceptance of children’s involvement in organizations and looks at how commitments can be translated into practice by bringing about changes to actively involve children and young people in services and policy making.

Marx, Maxwell, William Finger, Hally Mahler (eds.), Youth Participation Guide: Assessment, planning and implementation, YouthNet and Family Health International in collaboration with Advocates for Youth, ISBN 0 939704 93 5, Arlington, VA, USA, 2005.
The Youth Participation Guide seeks to increase the level of meaningful youth participation in reproductive health and HIV/AIDS programming at an institutional and programmatic level. The target audience includes senior and middle management, programme managers, staff involved in implementing activities and youth who may be engaged at all levels of an organization’s work.

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!
Booklet Three: Count Me In!
Booklet Four: Conferences and Events
Booklet Five: Meeting Together–Deciding Together
Booklet Six: Research and Resources about Participation
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 recruitment, roles and responsibilities, induction, supporting young people before and after meetings, making meetings fun and much more. Count Me In! looks at how organizations can involve children and young people in research. Checking the Scoreboard is a resource guide that helps to get feedback from staff and children and young people involved with organizations about what has worked and where participation activities could be improved. Conferences and Events provides ideas and activities for helping children play meaningful roles before, during and after events so that everyone benefits from their participation. It includes stories about young people’s participation in conferences. Meeting Together–Deciding Together helps young people to prepare for a meeting, participate during the meeting and debrief afterwards. It includes child-friendly templates for invitations, agendas and minutes. Research and Resources about Participation offers a guide on where to access information on youth participation and analyses some leading models of children’s participation.

PLAN Philippines, Facilitators’ Guide for the Promotion of Children’s Rights and Responsibilities and Their Participation in Social Development, PLAN International Philippines, ISBN 1 902280 12 1, 2001.
This practical manual includes child-friendly models and tools on basic strategies and approaches in promoting children’s rights and responsibilities and their participation in development. The guide contains seven modules: perspective development, values, transformation, organizing children for empowerment, organizational management and strengthening, capacity building, networking and advocacy, and phase-out.

Pretty, Jules, Irene Gujit, John Thompson and Ian Scoones, Participatory Learning and Action: A trainer’s guide, International Institute for Environment and Development, London, 1995.
This is a guide for training in the use of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) techniques. These appraisal instruments can be used in urban and rural settings and can be adapted for use with young people.

Regional Working Group on Child Labour, Learning to Work Together: A handbook for managers on facilitating children’s participation in actions to address child labour, Regional Working Group on Child Labour, ISBN 074-90 865-3-8, Bangkok, 2003.
This book combines lessons learned by working children and adults who have participated in child labour programmes, with insights from the growing literature on this subject. It targets programme managers for promoting children’s participation in programmes to combat child labour. Key themes include: implementation, monitoring and evaluation, child-to-child, and communication about child labour.

Save the Children, So You Want to Consult with Children? A toolkit of good practice, Save the Children Alliance, ISBN 82-7481-099-6, London, 2003.
This toolkit is based on the experience of Save the Children in helping to facilitate children’s meaningful participation in the process leading up to, and including, the 2002 UN General Assembly Special Session on Children. The toolkit lists everything that needs to be done to make sure that children participate in consultations in meaningful ways.

Theis, Joachim (ed.), Handbook for Action-Oriented Research on the Worst Forms of Child Labour Including Trafficking in Children, Regional Working Group on Child Labour in Asia, ISBN 974-90865-2-X, Bangkok, 2003.
This handbook brings together essential information about conducting effective, action-oriented research on the worst forms of child labour using a children-centred approach. It includes information on a step-by-step research process with sample materials in a user-friendly manner.

World Bank, Participation Sourcebook, World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1996.
This is a good resource on participatory planning and implementation in general. It contains case studies and chapters on how to conduct participatory planning and decision making, tools to enable people who are poor to participate and an overview of participatory methods and tools.

Youth Peer Education Electronic Resource, Peer Education Training of Trainers Manual, UN Interagency Group on Young People’s Health Development and Protection in Europe and Central Asia, Sub-Committee on Peer Education, 2003.
This manual focuses on the training of trainers of peer educators and provides an example of a training programme. Themes include sexual and reproductive health, prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and substance use. Special considerations are given to gender and cultural sensitivity in conducting health education.

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