Understanding and evaluating children's participation: a review of contemporary literature

Understanding and evaluating children's participation: a review of contemporary literature

Approaches to and ethics of children's participation

This document examines current approaches to the evaluation of children’s participation in development. Its principal focus is on children's participation in local level activities, both child-led initiatives as well as community development processes involving adults and children together.

The discussion is based on a review of existing organisational and academic literature on child participation across the globe, and is supplemented by interview testimonies from scholars and development workers with particular experience in this area.

Section one of the document provides a background to the concept of children's participation within development, and examines the fundamental motivations and understandings that have placed it on the agenda of so many organisations. It looks at the process of children’s participation, and assesses the factors contributing to the success or failure of participatory programmes with children, including the social, political, cultural and economic context as well as organisational issues.

Four key realms in which the impact of children's participation may be sought and evaluated are examined in section two: individual, familial, communal, and institutional. In addition, the authors give a broad overview of the main ethical concerns relating to the practice of evaluating children’s participation, and reviews approaches to the evaluation of children’s participation, focusing on key issues such as the tools, objectives and methods that guide practitioners in this area. [adapted from author]