Reflecting on child and youth participation: A publication for programmers and policy makers in east and southern Africa

Reflecting on child and youth participation

RIATT-ESA commissioned a review of methodologies that involved child and youth participation in the eastern and southern Africa region in the context of HIV and AIDS. The review focused particularly on children’s involvement in relevant decision-making processes at policy and programming levels; in research, including monitoring and evaluation; and in conferences. 

A number of descriptive reviews of child participation have already been undertaken in recent years. In order to build on these reviews, the RIATT-ESA review decided to take an analytical approach. Therefore, the review is not a 'how to do' nor a description of what is being done in the region, but rather an attempt to highlight important issues that need to be thought about when considering how to encourage greater child and youth participation in policy making initiatives and in our programming.

The intention of the review was to delve beneath the surface of the rhetoric around child and youth participation, and ask some tough questions about what we as development professionals - in our various roles - understand about this topic, and how we perceive our own involvement. Whilst the full review is available from the RIATT-ESA secretariat, this publication is a summary of the key issues. RIATT-ESA’s ongoing collaboration, through its child rights and participation working group, with the SADC secretariat was the initial motivation for the review, and it is hoped that it will also be used to get organisations talking about how children participate in their programmes. It can also be used for advocacy purposes to raise key issues with donors, programmers and policy makers.