Children’s Rights

Flower of Participation

Youth Adult Partnership

Dealing with Turnover

Civic Participation

Movement Building

The rights of the child are specific rights to protect all young people under 18. Children are entitled to these rights to protect their more vulnerable position in society and to give their position special attention. A person younger than 18 years old is protected by human rights and children’s rights.

Children’s rights are important because:
  • They recognize the right to meaningful participation of youth on policies and programmes that concern them.
  • They make sure children can reach their full potential, by having access to education, health care (reproductive right), participate in society, have access to (sexuality) information,…
  • They protect children from violence and abuse.
  • They ensure mutual respect amongst children, but also within their relations with adults, to develop respectful behaviour and attitudes towards others.
The rights of the child were adopted through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1989 and recognize the economic, social and cultural rights of children. It is an international treaty, which has been signed by all countries in the world, except for the USA and South-Sudan.

Are you curious to see what rights children have? Have a look at them here.

You practice!
Have a look at what rights children have. Write examples for each one of how these rights play an important role in your daily life or in your community!
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Arfa Khatun was sent out to work as a maid when she was just 8-years-old. Her father had planned to marry her off when she turned 13, just as he had done with her two sisters.

But Arfa took a stand almost unheard of in her traditional Muslim community. She said no.

“Of course, one day, we will all get married,” said Arfa. “But not before 18, and not before my studies are finished.”

Arfa and her friend Saima attend the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) school run by the Government’s Labour Department. The school’s mission is to improve the lives of working children by enrolling them in school and restoring their basic rights. The school educates students about their rights, as well as to improve leadership, communication and problem solving skills.

“For many of these children, school is the only place where they are treated as a child. Even when they are with their families they are expected to work. They are treated as earners,” said Prosenjit Kundu, Assistant Labour Commissioner in Purulia.

“Getting children out of work and into school has empowered these young girls,” said Lori Calvo, UNICEF West Bengal Chief of Office. “Knowledge of their rights has given them the strength to say no to child marriage and complete their education.”

“The children love to come to school,” said Gulam Rabbani Ansary, the girls’ teacher at the NCLP school. “When a girl is educated she will take care of all of her children. A girl’s education is an asset for her entire family.”

Initially, Arfa’s father, Ansari, was not ready to accept his youngest daughter’s decision. So Arfa turned to NCLP for support.

“My elder sisters were not ready to get married at that early age, but I am more determined than my sisters,” said Arfa. “And I’m getting support from my school.”

In the end, Mr. Ansari was convinced by his daughter and the pleas of her teacher and fellow students. She remains in school and will not get married until she is ready.

Source : UNICEF

You practice!
Write down two important rights which are important in the story above.

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What rights are the most important in your community for children or youth under 18?

Do you think children and youth should know about their rights?

How can you make young people aware of their rights?

Discuss about these and other questions in our Facebook community!

You practice!
When you thought about the questions above, make a banner or a poster with a slogan about the most important right in your community for children under 18.

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quiz

Check out your knowledge about children’s rights in the quiz below!

 

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The Flower of Participation is a tool to give you a better understanding of the various ways of youth participation. It is based on the acknowledgement of young people’s rights in relation to the different needs and realities of youth participation.

The lowest steps of participation are the leaves, because this cannot be described as meaningful youth participation.

The flower petals represent the different variations of responsibility that young people can have or take but all are based on equality. This shows that there are different forms of participation that in practice, work differently and lead to different results. The form of participation must fit the program/project and the objectives of the program/project. Even more important: it must fit your needs.

According to the ‘Climbing Wall’ model of Participation there are six factors important for you to take into account in your participation:
  • The choice you have over your participation
  • The information you have and received about your situation and your rights
  • The control you have over decision-making process
  • The voice you have in any discussion
  • The support you receive in speaking up
  • The degree of autonomy you have to make decisions independently
Click to know more about the different forms of participation or download the Flower of Participation .
You practice!
Now that you know more about the forms of participation, try to apply these to your own life. Think about one example in which you participated in a project with other people (adults, teachers, friends, family,...) and write down which form of participation this was (tokenism, consulted and informed,...)
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If you are participating in a project, programme, organisation or somewhere else you can ask yourself the following questions.

1. How much choice do I have about my participation?
2. How much information do I receive about my situation and my rights?
3. How much control do I have over decision-making processes?
4. How much voice do I have in discussions?
5. How much support do I receive in speaking up?
6. How much autonomy do I have to make decisions independently?

Taking the answer of these six questions into account, which leave from the flower of participation can be attributed to your participation?

Discuss about this and other questions in our Facebook community!

You practice!
Write down the where you are currently participating (school, organisation, programme, project etc). For each form of participation, carefully describe your role, the role of adults, your activities and most importantly write down the answers on the six questions raised above and explain why you have chosen that answer. If you think one of the six factors can be improved write down how you would like to do this and make a plan. You can improve your form of participation for example by talking to the people you are work with, or by taking up different tasks, etc.

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What’s up? Do you know the level of responsibility youth have in these forms of participation? Check it out!

 

 
 
 
 
 

“We are working with young people, rather than for young people.” Peter Poit (director United Nations Programma on HIV/AIDS)

A true partnership exist when each person has the opportunity to make suggestions and decisions, and when everyone’s contribution is recognize and valued. A youth-adult partnership exists when adults see young people as full partners on issues facing youth and the programs and policies that affect youth.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that does not always give young people many opportunities to make their own decisions. Many cultures around the world are hierarchical, which means that people considered to have a ‘higher rank’ like parents or adults, have more power over those with a ‘lower rank’ like children and young people. To be effective partners, adults must respect and have confidence in young people. If they are truly sharing the power to make decisions with young people, it means adults are letting go of their traditional roles, listening rather than telling, and working with, rather than for youth.

A youth-adult partnership is one that integrates young people’s realistic perspectives and skills with professional adults’ experience and wisdom. It offers young people and adults the opportunity to share wisdom, make suggestions, and share decisions. All contributions are equally valued and appreciated in a good youth-adult partnership. It allows young people and adults to work in full partnership while envisioning, developing, implementing, and evaluating programs.

Often, tokenism is mistaken for youth-adult relationships. However, tokenism is not equal partnership. Examples of tokenism are;
  • Having youth present but with no clear role
  • Assigning to youth tasks that adults do not want to do
  • Having youth make appearances without training
  • Having only one youth on a board or council
There are different ways to approach a relationship between youth and adults;

Youth as Objects: Adults know what is best for young people and control situations in which they allow youth to be involvedn

Youth as Recipients: Adults allow young people to take part in decision-making because they think the experience will be “good for them”

Youth as Partners: Adults respect young people as having something significant to offer, recognizing the greater impact youth bring to a project. Youth are encouraged to become involved

You have the right to be involved in decision-making processes which concern your life. It makes programs more relevant and sustainable, and is good for your personal development ;
  • Social competence
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Autonomy
  • Sense of purpose and future


You practice!
Think of an example where you have been working together with adults. Write down how you perceived that experience, which role you had, how you felt about the partnership, etc.
Also write down what you would do different next time you work together with adults.
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What do you see are the benefits of youth-adult relationships?

What are the challenges?

Can you give some tips on working in an youth-adult relationship?

See some tips here!

Discuss about these and other questions in our Facebook community!

You practice!
Write down 5 challenges you experienced or you can think about when working with adults. Now turn each of these challenges in an opportunity. How can you turn around the challenge by making something positive out of it of finding a solution for it?
For example:
Challenge - Adults won’t take me serious

Opportunity - I will come up with good argumentation and prove that I know what I am talking about
Tip: Don’t forget this when you are working together with adults, they need to treat you with respect and value your opinions. If you feel you are not respected, then you should find a way to tell this to them or talk to a trusted adult about this.

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How should adults and young people work together? Select if the ways below are good or bad practices for adults to work with youth.

 

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“Coaching is the universal language of change and learning”- CNN

While we have discussed what it means to participate and the different levels of participation that young people can have vis-à-vis adults, in this session we will discuss what a youth organisation needs to deal with when young people are participating in it.

Many youth organizations face a high turnover of young people. This means that a lot of young people want to join the organization, but they also leave the organization very quickly for different reasons, some personal, some professional. This is a given when working with young people and in fact makes an organisation more dynamic.

To truly remain a youth-led or youth focused organization and not lose, a few things need to be done:
  • Recruitment and selection of new members can be a great opportunity to have new people, ideas and perspective in the organization. You need to have a strategy and budget to continuously recruit new people, for example by making a membership section on your website or sharing membership recruitment through newsletters with your community.

Selection of new members can be done through intake interviews. These give you an idea of potential members, their commitment, their motivations and ideas.

  • Introducing new members to the organization, showing them the in’s and out’s, as well as the core values and principles.
  • Make sure that you document all activities, developments of the organization, not only to introduce new members, but also to make sure that knowledge and experience is not dependent on one person, but on the whole organization. All this documentation will be a huge help to new members and staff as they join the organisation or movement and avoids having to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch constantly.
  • Enabling them to meaningfully contribute. To do this, you need to guide new members to develop their own skills and knowledge to actively contribute to the organization. You can organize regular staff meetings, introduction trainings, internal trainings and information sharing to empower new members and make them stay in the organization!

Take Two Principle is a buddy or coaching system, which helps transferring knowledge, skills and experience to new members. It means that new members team up with older members, to carry out tasks or activities together. It is a great way to learn new skills for new members! Older members are more experienced and have more knowledge about the working of the organization, but don’t forget that less experienced members have knowledge too!

You practice!
Try this tip to deal with turn-over. To make sure new and older members have an equal chance to participate in activities and develop themselves, you can introduce a selection procedure for activities;
  • Being a member for a certain period of time
  • Being active
  • Continue membership after the activity
  • Every time a different group of people is selected
  • Knowledge and experience of members
  • Learning opportunities for new members
  • Motivation and availability
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Do you have other ideas how to motivate youth to join an organization and how youth could stay at an organization?

What are important reasons for youth to join an organization?

Discuss about these and other questions in our Facebook community!

You practice!
Write down at least 5 ideas on how you could motivate youth to join an organization. Then try to talk to a friend about these ideas, and discuss together if this is a good way to motivate others!

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quiz

The Take Two Principle is a coaching system which has many advantages. Can you describe these? Try it out by writing your answers in the text boxes.

 

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.” – Margaret Mead

Civic participation refers to participating in your community to develop it with the help of your knowledge, skills and values, to make a difference in your society. The goal of civic participation is to raise the standard and quality of life in your community, through commitment and motivation. Young people are considered very important in civic participation, because they bring new and innovative ideas!

Civic participation can be seen as a continuous activity, because citizens are responsible for developing communities according to their beliefs and values. Civic participation requires active citizenship, which is a combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes and actions to build a healthy society. An active citizen is prepared to take action and participate to create a safe, healthy and sustainable community. Examples of civic participation can be; voting, becoming educated about your country, being informed about local and national news, joining or supporting a political party, volunteering, taking part in a public demonstration, etc. Also young people can be part of these activities, because they too have knowledge and skills to make their society better!

An important aspect of civic participation is critical reflection. This means that while you may love your community and society, you can still see the problems in it and are willing to address them. You can listen to community beliefs and values and assess them critically rather than taking them for granted. For good civic participation, it is important to recognise that others hold beliefs and values that may be different from yours or those of your community.

Civic participation is important because it teaches us how to live and work together, appreciating different opinions, values and beliefs in a tolerant manner. Through civic participation you become aware of difficulties, social problems and moral questions in your society, and are aware that there are possibilities to change and build a community. Only through active citizenship do people get involved in their communities to change for a better future.

You practice!
Think about what civic participation means to you, and write down at least 3 examples of how you believe you are an active citizen. If you don’t know something about yourself immediately, you can also write down some examples you have seen from others in your community! Or examples of things you would like to do – think about what you feel are the problems you would like to change in your community, and how you could address them.
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Do you think that everyone should be involved in civic participation in one’s society? Why (not)?

Are you involved in your community? How?

Why is it important for young people to be involved in their communities?

Discuss about these and other questions in our Facebook community!

You practice!
Write down your answers to the questions above, and discuss them with a friend, family member or something who you can have an interesting discussion with!
Tip: Now think again, which forms of civic participation are you involved in and do you care about most?

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Indicate whether the statements below are true or false!

 

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“To be part of building a movement, you have to keep moving” – Jacqueline Novogratz

A movement is an action taken by a group of people who share common ideas to change the future and their society. Very often, it starts when people feel injustice or anger with a current situation. As a response to this, they try to find like-minded people who share their ideas and what to take action against this together.

A movement can be a very powerful method to challenge governments, power holders, institutions and social beliefs. Movements in communities are very common, because often people stand together for improving their own community together. Successful movements have the power to bring a change in society and the way we think.

You practice!
It can be challenging to mobilize people to work towards the same goal. Here are some tips you can try if you want to start a movement yourself;

Highlight the mission: Explain why this mission is important, why there should be a change

Everyone can join: Explain that everyone has a voice, and that more people together make for a louder voice. Everyone can help and play a part towards change.

Include others: Make sure you include other people and listen to their ideas and opinions
Structure: Make a structure if you want your movement to become an effective organization. Read here how to do this.

Relationships: Make sure to keep good relationships with the people in your movement. Try to connect people to make unexpected encounters and create innovative ideas!

Show results: Make sure everyone knows what is happening, what is being done.

Have a look here! to see how to organize your movement!
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If you would start a movement, what would be your cause?
Have you ever been part of a movement?
Discuss about these and other questions in our Facebook community!

You practice!
You can start a movement with friends, family or even with strangers online! Write down an issue you find important enough to start a movement about. Done? Now try to follow the steps written out above, to convince people to join your movement!

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Test your knowledge about the different elements of starting a movement. Start!

 

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Take Action

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