EU ‘toolkit’ to engage young people in decision-making

Eurochild, an EU-supported network of children’s rights champions, has published a new ‘toolkit’ aimed at helping involve children and young people in the decision-making processes affecting their lives.

It is likely to be particularly useful for NGOs, but also for government officials working at national, regional and local level, who want to engage with young people.

Methods

Promoting young people’s participation at different administrative levels is seen as vital by European policymakers, and reflects a recommendation of the Council of Europe on the participation of under-18s. The toolkit includes methods and guidance on how professionals can best engage with children and young people at their level, but in a meaningful, constructive way that helps develop and implement specific strategies.

“In recent years, an understanding for children’s participation in decision-making processes has gained ground,” says the introduction. “But what do we know about engaging children in decision-making processes, in particular in public decision-making processes? Do children get engaged and if yes, how? Are there are any tools that can be used to engage children in a more structured and child-friendly way?”

Objectives

It goes on to give concrete examples of how advocacy strategies can be developed, including key elements like identifying and understanding problems, being clear on objectives, considering what resources are available and forming an action plan.

Based in Brussels, Eurochild is wide a network of organisations and individuals working across Europe to promote the rights and well-being of children and young people. Its work is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The toolkit is due to be formally launched at the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Rights of the Child (CAHENF) meeting in Strasbourg from March 21-23.

Author: Simon Weedy

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