Why involve children

Firstly, involving children and young people in your organisation helps realise their right to participate in a very tangible way.

Young people participate in climate change talks - Plan International supported eleven ‘young journalists’ to attend the Copenhagen conference on Climate Change in December 2009. By being involved, and grilling some world leaders, these ‘young journalists ensured that their voices, and questions from other children, were heard at the climate change talks’.

Secondly, there are many instrumental reasons why including children and young people can make your organisation ‘better’. As the broader success of consumer and client participation has shown, involving ‘end users’ can lead to better projects. Involving children and young people in all decisions about services and programme delivery can lead to more effective results.

A US study1 exploring the benefits of children being involved in organisational committees found that:

  • Adult committee members experience children’s abilities first hand, thereby combating internal negative stereotypes
  • The commitment and energy of adult committee members was improved
  • Adults and organisations enhanced their sense of community through the involvement of young people
  • Children and young people help clarify the organisation’s mission for everyone
  • The organisations may become more appealing for funding

More international examples can be found in What Works in Youth Participation: Case Studies from Around the World

1. Zeldin, S., McDaniel, A., Topitzes, D. & Calvert, M. 2000 Youth in Decision Making: A Study on the Impacts of Youth on Adults and Organisations