Child and youth participation in East and Southern Africa: Taking stock and moving forward


Child and youth participation in East and Southern Africa.pdf

An analytical review of the literature and five case studies on child and youth participation in East and Southern Africa.

In response to the lack of evidence on whether and how child participation can lead to the empowerment of children at an individual, family, community and policy level in the context of HIV and AIDS RIATT commissioned this review. The objectives of the review were:

  • To document the methodologies involving children and youth participation focused on HIV and AIDS within the Eastern and Southern Africa region, focusing particularly on their involvement in relevant decision-making processes including at policy and programming levels, research, including monitoring and evaluation, and conferences.
  • To critically analyse these methodologies in light of how they promote a rights-based and ethical approach leading to the individual's empowerment, as well as those of the family and community and children in general.
  • To identify promising practices of how children and youth have been meaningfully involved by governments, and international/non- governmental/ community based organisations.

In deciding where to focus this review the decision was made to build on the number of existing reviews of child participation (see Appendices at end of Section One) by taking a more analytical rather than a descriptive approach.

This document is intended as a technical resource for organisations aiming to advance child and youth participation as part of a broader response to HIV and AIDS within southern and eastern Africa. The hope is that policy makers and programme managers will through reading this overview of the state of play, the outline of issues and some description of methods be helped to reflect on what the operational implications are for promoting child participation in their area of operation.

Section One of the publication is an analysis of the state of play of child participation in the region based on an extensive review of literature and on 18 interviews (see end of Section One) with representatives of children's organisations working in the region.

Section Two is a collection of five case studies that focus on different ways that children are participating in the region. The case studies examine the extent to which these projects benefit and empower children, their families, communities and how they have influenced policy