Children can no longer be perceived as passive recipients of adult decisions, care and protection, or accidental beneficiaries of policy decisions; they cannot be envisaged as not yet persons or adults in the making. Attention must be paid to their inner feelings, thoughts and views. Providing space and inclusive opportunities for expression, information sharing, association and participation in decision making empowers children and young people as active citizens. Meaningful children’s participation leads to the development and implementation of more effective practice and policies, and increases realization of children’s rights.
CHILD PARTICIPATION WORK
- To put children at the heart of policy making and development work
- Give a voice to children and make them visible
- Build a community of child rights advocates
- Support child led initiatives
Areas of focus
- Children voices in policy making
- Child protection
- Child led initiatives/organizations
- Mainstreaming children’s rights
- Strengthening families and ending institutional care
- Better public spending and investing in children
- Climate change
All children involved in Mtoto News activities, projects and programmes have the right to have their health, safety and well-being, and their best interests considered as top priority. Mtoto News has a Child Protection Policy, which ensures the highest standards of professional behavior and personal practice to ensure no harm occurs in any situation to children and young people during their involvement in our activities, projects and programmes. Mtoto News’ Child Protection Policy is the basis for all the work undertaken to implement the Child Participation Strategy.
We aim to implement children’s participation based on the nine requirements for meaningful, safe and inclusive children’s participation:
- Transparent and informative – We always provide children with as much information as possible, so that, should they get involved, they know what they are getting into.
- Voluntary – We always inform children that they have the right not to participate and to opt out.
- Respectful – We always ensure participants, adults and children, respect each other and other people’s ideas.
- Relevant – We only involve children in decisions that are relevant to them.
- Child friendly – We always provide child friendly setups /spaces and language. Our mode of engagement is designed in a way that allows children to contribute.
- Inclusive – All children are treated equally and are given a chance to participate.
- Supported by training – We always empower children with information in child friendly versions to enable them participate meaningfully. The training is offered by adult staff.
- Safe – Children are not exposed to situations that make them vulnerable.
- Accountable – We always ensure we keep our promises, and children can let us know if something is not working.
aims to implement children’s participation
- Town Hall Meetings with key policy makers and community leaders. The meetings seek to give children a platform for participation in shaping policies and program interventions around issues affecting them.
- Watoto Innovations and Solutions Hub – an incubation hub for child led initiatives. Through WISH, we identify and support initiatives by children seeking to address their challenges.
- The African Children Summit; a premier continental child-led conference by children for children. Driven by children from Kenya, and amplified by Mtoto News, the Summit’s goal is to empower African children and create a space where they feel seen, heard and engaged by their peers and community. The Summit brings together children from across Africa and beyond to share their experiences on matters of children rights and protection; the unique challenges they face; interventions by their governments and share recommendations or solutions. The conference is designed to deliver unscripted and authentic dialogue between policy makers and children. The aim of the event is to share and address challenges that children are facing in an era of newly emerging risks.
- Training of children on child-led advocacy and digital literacy
- Children Forums