Plan UK recently launched "Children Changing Their World -
Understanding and Evaluating Children's Participation in Development". The report is
the result of research into the impact of children?s participation on development
programmes and how such participation can be facilitated.
This research is part of Plan's commitment to promoting the active participation of
children in their own and their communities' development. It highlights that genuine
and effective participation must be relevant and realistic. The report also assesses
how large international organisations with complex systems and hierarchical
management structures can respond sensitively and flexibly to the challenges that
will emerge when children are given a voice.
It brings together the findings of a literature review of current thinking about
children's participation and its evaluation with a field study undertaken in three
different countries (Ecuador, India and Kenya). It is also enriched by discussion at
a one-day conference in London in November 2003, which was hosted by Plan UK to
review findings from the research.
The report raises questions about the way participation is understood by development
agencies, arguing that the conceptualisation of children's participation by each
organisation will reflect their underlying philosophies. Limits will always exist to
the extent to which agencies may be prepared to support undertakings by children and
this will be shaped at least as much by values as by practical conditions. A similar
argument can also be made for approaches to monitoring and evaluation.
It also focuses on the changes - both positive and negative - that children's
participation may bring about, and discusses various issues relating to evaluation.
Possible tools and methods are described and consideration is given to the manner in
which evaluation activities are conducted. Particular emphasis is also given to
ethical issues in relation to evaluation practice.
The report considers the challenges for agencies in seeking to develop children's
participation further, and the introduction of a participatory approach to
evaluation itself. The results of the literature review, field visits and the London
conference all pointed clearly to the danger of focussing on evaluation in isolation
from the rest of the process of children's participation. [Source: CRIN]
For more information, contact:
5-6 Underhill Street
London NW1 7HS
Tel: 020 7482 9777
Fax: 020 7482 9778
Posted on 2004-08-04