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Save the Children
In 1999 the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) introduced a new process for low-income countries requesting debt relief from the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative or those seeking low-interest IMF and World Bank loans. To qualify for assistance, governments had to produce a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) setting out their strategies to combat poverty, aligned to national social and economic plans, including detailed measures sector by sector. In the five years since its inception, the PRSP has become a defining document for economic and social policy in around 40 countries. Hence, this paper summarises Save the Children UK’s experience in facilitating children and young people’s participation in PRSP 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 further 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.