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A Qualitative Synthesis of Children's Narratives from Consultations on Civic Participation and Governance 2015-2020

This research looked at existing documentation of previous activities supported by Save the Children from 2015-2020). Content and thematic analysis on children’s civic participation (expression of opinion in public spaces, access to information, organizing and collective action, access to feedback and complaints mechanisms, participation in government decision-making processes, representation in government structures and electoral processes) and children’s perspectives on governance (citizens’ engagement and dialogue, skills and capacities of government officials and service providers to address children’s rights and concerns, government policy/policymaking, government planning, government budgeting, and government transparency and accountability). 

The study clearly highlights children’s desires and aspirations to meaningfully participate in matters that directly affect them in all settings, be it at home, in school, in the community, and even in broader society, to effect political changes in the formal governance institutions and processes. Participation for children means not only generating ideas about existing and forthcoming policies of the government but likewise in monitoring and evaluating child-centered programs and services provided by public institutions.

The study reveals the numerous barriers to the effective exercise of this right for children. Children feel that adults in general and local authorities, in particular, do not take them seriously as they are regarded as mere children, incapable of making sound judgment and decisions about matters that affect them. Lacking the right and the power to vote also makes a difference in how children’s opinions are received.

Published 2021-03-18