What is it about?
The aim of the Child Participation Program is to ensure that the views of children are better taken into account in Hungary. This is done by informing the children of their rights and supporting them in expressing their opinions safely. But it is also for adults to engage children in issues that concern them, to listen to the children's perspectives and to work with them in a way that is effective, safe and ethical. The program supports research and projects involving children, as well as engaging children in the Foundation's professional work since it is best to think of them is only worth if they’re also included.
What do we do?
The program was launched in 2017 to be the first in Hungary to work together with children in representing children's rights. We had been working with student volunteers in the Yelon program for a year, however, on the one hand we wanted to give children a voice in the expanding activities of the foundation; on the other hand, our goal is to get more and more people to consider it when working with or talking to children.
Why is it important?
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child has the right to have his or her views taken into account in all cases concerning him or her. In addition, adults need to provide the right amount of information and opportunities so children can develop and express their views, both individually or collectively. Involving children enhances their confidence, their sense of security and their responsibility as well as promoting democratic values. It leads to better decisions because thinking with children results in more effective and sustainable solutions to issues that affect them.
We are providing information
- Throughout the program, we produce informational and professional materials on how to take the views of children into account.
- Our promotional materials in the charity shop provide guidance on, for example, events involving children, media coverage, and organizational work.
- Our professional literature explains why it is worthwhile to involve children in issues that concern them; what role does this plays in children's development, communities, society; what ethical considerations must be met and how they can be met.
- Introducing the most relevant results and research in the international literature and practice in the field of children's rights and psychology.
Advocacy of the children's right to participation
- Our advocacy work aims to make decision-makers, practitioners and adults in general more aware of children's views.
- Supporting the participation of children in reporting on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Council of Europe Lanzarote Convention;
- Research and professional reports help evidence-based work of decision makers and practitioners.
- We launch awareness-raising projects to prevent children from being used for political or commercial purposes and to make society more sensitive to the difference between actual participation and the usage of children.
- Together with our student volunteers, the Children's Rights Ambassadors, we advocate for children's rights and opinions in the media and at professional conferences.
- We provide consultations to organizations and individuals who work with children or who find it important to seek out and express their views on children.
- We provide help to our domestic and international partners to ensure that children play an effective, safe and ethical role and engage with adults.
- By developing methodological materials, advice and training, we support, for example, media professionals, student organizations or researchers planning to interview or engage children to make the most of their knowledge and experience while providing them with a protective framework.
- Organizations that make children's products or advocate for their rights are consulted with children so that they can incorporate their concerns in time.
- Genuine participation is based on providing children with relevant information to form their own opinion and decision about their participation.
- We create child-friendly materials (publications, videos, graphics, online content) for teens to learn about their rights and age-group issues.
- Our publications help them with how they can be treated when working with adults, what to watch out for, when participating in a show or organization, or when attending a demonstration.
- Some projects include organising school activities with our Children's Rights Ambassador.
- We are campaigning for more children to participate in international or domestic surveys and consultations where they can influence the decision-making process in their lives by expressing their opinion.
- We participate in international projects supported by the European Union, involving children in research and consultation prior to the development of professional sites that have never involved consideration of children's views (eg child-friendly justice), using a novel methodology.
- We organize consultations to test the content and toys for children.
Working together with children
- We involve children directly in our work.
- The Child Rights Ambassadors are the Foundation’s 14-18 year old volunteer team of the who are young representatives of children's rights. Since 2017, they have been working with the Foundation on a weekly basis to make Hungary a better place for children.
- As experienced experts, they participate in the Foundation's professional discussions;
- They raise awareness among their peers on children’s rights;
- They stand up for children's rights on TV, radio and at conferences;
- They assist in collecting and presenting children's views in national and international reports on children's rights.
- On their Instagram page and on Yelon, they write about children's rights issues of interest to their peers.