When children take the lead

Time to Talk! is part of the latest publication of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children. The report «When children take the lead» contents 10 examples of participatory approaches to tackle violence.

The report draws on 10 case studies to examine child participation experiences related to different forms of violence, spanning initiatives driven by governments, international organizations and civil society. It zooms in on children’s roles, the methods used, the balance between offline and online, and how each initiative has achieved its impact. It identifies common elements that make child participation effective for violence prevention, reporting and awareness, offering concrete recommendations for children’s rights-based organizations.

Time to Talk! is mentioned as an campaign from the civil society, aiming at promoting working children´s messages towards governments, caregivers, NGOs and other related actors. Participation of working children helps to figure out practical protection and risk factors.

Key conclusions and recommendations

The authors of the report share seven key conclusions and recommendations of their analysis:

  1. Adults need to share or even transfer power to children, understanding that this does not exempt them from their responsibility to protect and guide children in the process.
  2. Organizations need to include children at the earliest possible stage and trust them with leading roles so that child participation becomes part of the ‘fabric’ of the programme.
  3. Adults need to connect to children’s personal motivations for achieving change and should limit their own role to facilitation and the provision of information and tools.
  4. If adults are to create effective peer-to-peer approaches, they need to trust children. They must treat them as partners with a collective advocacy purpose.
  5. A comprehensive child participation model should, ultimately, be an empowering tool and experience, and should not end when children have provided adults with what they want. Organizations should aim for – and plan for – extended engagement.
  6. We need to adapt to – and mobilize – the technological revolution for child participation.
    Incorporating ICTs is crucial and implementing organizations should explore the benefits of ICTs beyond their
    value for quantitative data collection.
  7. Child participation models need to evolve in step with children’s realities, so that they can respond appropriately to children’s growing expectations in a digital age. A digital generation requires strong digital standards.

The full report can be downloaded on the website of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children: