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Youth participation in upholding children's right

We firmly believe youth participation in the initiatives that uphold their rights is hugely important. The voices, opinions, and perspectives of children and young people should be at the heart of discussions, decision-making, and planning at all levels, particularly when it concerns their rights. This article outlines our efforts to ensure children and young people's voices are heard and that they have an opportunity to participate in matters that concern them and their future. 

For over a century, Save The Children has been championing children’s rights. Our mission is to ensure every child gets a healthy start in life, an education, and a chance at a better future. We are the world’s leading independent organisation for children, and we leverage our global scale and decades of experience to ensure we are as efficient and effective as possible. We believe all children should be supported in telling their own stories and that their voices need to be heard. Here is what we’re doing to ensure youth engagement and youth participation when it comes to upholding the rights of children and young people:

Youth engagement and participation

Article 12 of the UN CRC (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) which outlines the fundamental rights of children states that “every child has the right to express their views on matters that affect them, and for these views to be taken into consideration.”

All Governments must uphold this right. However, we have observed that children and youth participation is not as widespread as it should be. Children and young people are rarely consulted about their feelings, fears, expectations, thoughts, opinions, and proposals. As a result, the needs of children and their rights are often widely misunderstood and overlooked.

To address this, we create opportunities that empower young people and promote youth engagement & participation in processes and events that focus on outcomes that directly impact them. One such initiative is the Our Voice program, designed to include children and youth participation in emergency planning.

Our voice: Empowering youth in emergency planning

One example of the work we are doing is the Our Voice program designed to include children and youth participation in emergency planning. The program brings local councils, service providers and communities together to hear from children & young people so they can provide valuable insights into what their needs are when it comes to emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. 

We developed this program so that:

  • Participation of children and young people in communities is promoted 
  • There is a platform for children and young people to engage with local decision-makers so they can provide feedback and ideas 
  • They can become powerful agents of change 
  • Their voices are heard by those making decisions on their behalf that directly impact them 
  • There is an increased understanding of child rights, especially child participation as an element of these rights
  • Their needs are more accurately reflected in emergency management planning

Guidelines for fostering youth participation

To encourage youth engagement and participation in matters that impact them and their rights, we’ve put together some suggestions on how decision-makers, individuals, organisations, groups and communities can increase their involvement: 

  • Consult with youth and enable their full, equal, and meaningful participation during all stages (from preparation & revision through to final decision-making) ensuring they are listened to fully and equal access to child-friendly information is available  
  • Commit to reflecting the priorities and proposals expressed by young people into decisions that are made  
  • Ensure children and youth from diverse backgrounds have equal opportunity to participate

Support our mission

To support us in our effort to ensure youth participation and engagement are included when it comes to the rights of children and young people, you can make a single donation today or become a monthly giver. Donations over $2 are tax deductible. 

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