Children and young people participating in PRSP processes: lessons from Save the Children's experience
This paper summarises Save the Children UK's experience in facilitating children and young people's participation in PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers) processes, highlighting in particular the experiences of Vietnam and Honduras, and drawing on insights from Lesotho, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the work of a Guyanese NGO. It discusses the effectiveness of a range of approaches, highlights challenges, outlines learning points, and raises questions about the impact and cost-benefit trade-off of children and young people's participation in PRSPs. It explores the difficulties and challenges of involving children, and argues that children and young people can make a significant contribution to developing effective strategies to tackle poverty within PRSP processes. Some lessons learnt include: Children and young people need to be well informed about the opportunities for influencing PRSPs, the challenges, the process, its aims, their role, the time required, the channels of decision-making and the context of PRSPs; Effective participation takes considerable time; Feedback needs to be given to the children involved; The most marginalised children need to be included; Consideration needs to be given to compensating children for the cost of their involvement; Adults should be involved too, such as local decision-makers, family members, teachers etc.; Partnerships need to be developed to share expertise; International organisations should work with indigenous civil society organisations, or local officials, on participatory initiatives to increase their access to PRSP decision-making processes, rather than undercutting their role.