A Journey in Children’s Participation. By Nandana Reddy and Kavita Ratna. 2002, Bangalore: Concerned for Working Children
This is one of my favourite publications about protagonism of children.
The Concerned for Working Children have been working in partnership with children for over 25 years, to enhance their protagonism and participation and realise their rights. This document brings together some of the experiences and perceptions related to children’s participation that have been gathered over the years.The link to this website is an updated version, dated December 2002, which includes many concrete examples of what is being discussed in the text.
From the introduction:
Children’s Participation is not a project, it is not event based; it is a running theme through every action or intervention and it requires a major paradigm shift. The understanding of participation and the way it is translated into action varies and seems to be defined by the socio-cultural context of the child and the ideological frame
surrounding this understanding. However it is important to arrive at a culturally neutral definition of children’s participation, where the principles are common, though the manifestations may vary according to the situation of children.
When Children’s Participation is seen within the frame of protagonism it takes on another dimension. The right and the ability to advocate on one’s own behalf, to be in control and a part of decision making processes and interventions. This form of participation of children and youth enhances the concept of civil society participation and strengthens democratic processes.
Children’s participation should enhance children’s personhood. Often their individual growth is side lined, especially when they are a part of an organisation. Children’s participation should also be in keeping with their capacity and ability (milestones of development) and contribute positively to the process of children’s growth and development. However, all this operates within the context of children’s rights and their participation is the means by which children realise their rights.