In spite of children and young people being involved in many aspects of community life, social policy in the UK often neglects their interests. This book argues that contrary to conventional adult wisdom children and young people are competent to take part in collective decision making and that it is essential that they do so. Practical examples from Save the Children's work are provided to show ways in which children and young people can be encouraged to participate and have a real say in how things are done.
This brief reviews initiatives focusing on youth and children in city governance, with focus on mainstreaming attention to children's needs into the routine practices of local governments; giving greater attention to children's own perceptions; and drawing on the proven energy and creativity of children and young people to contribute to making their cities better places. It details projects that include: evaluations by children of their own urban neighbourhoods and how they could be improved; these also show how urban neighbourhoods can provide a richer and more supportive environment for children in low- and middle-income nations (with examples from Buenos Aires, Argentina and Bangalore, India) than in high-income nations (with an example from Melbourne, Australia); an initiative in Johannesburg, South Africa, where children evaluated their environment and reported on their needs and priorities to city authorities, and a municipal authority in Brazil (Barra Mansa) that fully involved children in city government and in participatory budgeting; programmes in the Philippines and in Brazil that successfully encouraged local governments to better address the needs and priorities of children; and child-friendly city programmes in many nations and the legal, institutional, budgetary and planning measures that underpinned them. Assessments of these experiences by children were generally positive, although they find that city administrators can be unreliable in implementing their promises and adults often retain control of processes where children had expected more autonomy. These precedents also show how children's participation becomes not only an objective in its own right but also a practical instrument for creating better cities.
This practitioner research, carried out by women’s empowerment organisation FAMM Indonesia, brings the voices of young women – a group consistently excluded from decision-making spaces about the allocation of local government resources – into the conversation about social accountability. Barriers to young (especially unmarried) women’s participation in public spaces include the prevailing view that doing so violates social norms, young women’s often low level of education, and family expectations. Many young women have internalised their marginalisation and lack the confidence to participate in community forums.
This paper describes participatory action research carried out in partnership with eight grassroots Indonesian women’s NGOs. Preliminary focus group discussions laid the foundation for a series of movement-building initiative workshops to strengthen rural young women’s leadership capacity, encourage critical awareness and develop their roles as community organisers. Young women’s social engagement can generate criticism and backlash, which may lead to their losing interest in public forums. As well as empowering participation in formal meetings, the research suggests that young women can overcome closed spaces through building on informal relationships and collaborations. And young women’s involvement in producing creative content (print, audio and multimedia) for use in community organising is used to strengthen their self-esteem and abilities.
The paper ends with a reflective conversation between Niken Lestari of FAMM and Francesca Feruglio of MAVC. They discuss the kind of capacity-building needed to enable young women to overcome barriers to their engagement in local governance spaces, and thus fulfil their own declared potential to contribute much more to the development of their communities.
This paper discusses the political participation of children. It explores three main questions: why do we need to talk about children's political participation; what sort of political participation is required, and; how can it be achieved? It does this by looking at adult visions of children and young people, the idea of citizenship which currently excludes children and young people, and asks what is actually meant by political participation and how children can be included in it.
This practical guide published by Save the Children is aimed at all organisations that are looking for ways to consult with children and young people. It can be used for drawing up a consultation strategy: there are checklists and question and answer sections as well as examples of good practice in reference to the British Charter Mark criteria. The manual looks at
- Why children should be consulted?
- The principles and practice of consultation, which includes levels of service impact on children and young people, child protection, first steps and planning checklists.
- Charter Mark criteria for consulting with children and young people: indicators and examples of good practice
- A selection of methods for consulting children and young people, including activities for children and young people
In finishes with details of the Children Charter Mark Award, a summary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and "useful organisations" and "resources" lists.