World Children´s Day 2017: Give Children a Voice

Participants of a consultation in Tanzania drawing a Body Map. This research method of the Time to Talk toolkit is for sharing likes and dislikes about the child´s work.

Time to Talk welcomes the choice of this year´s world children´s day theme “Give children a voice” and the demand for supporting particpation of children within political and social debates.

The theme of this year’s world children´s day in Germany on the 20th September “Give children a voice” shows perfectly the growing importance of participation of children in social and political debates. Therefore it is cheerful to see that the German government acknowledges the participation of children and young people. They play a key role in the social development in the 21st century. This is a forward-looking approach to integrate the valuable input of the future generation. Even if the professional and scientific debate about this topic is growing, the implementation of it in the broad basis still is in the fledgling stages. Promoting the right to participation through a public event helps to raise awareness and interest. As well as in society, as within children and young people themselves.

HISTORY OF WORLD CHILDREN´s DAY

Starting with only 40 countries in 1954, today the world children´s day is celebrated in more than 145 countries all over the world. The countries can choose the theme and date themselves. The world children´s day was founded by the United Nations on the 21st September 1954. With this special day, they were trying to pursue three goals. First, support for children´s rights, and second, support the friendship between children and young People. The third goal  was that governments shall once a year the support the work of UNICEF publically.

PARTICIPATION IN THE UN-CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN

Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that a child has the right to participate in decision-making processes that may be relevant in their lives. And also to influence decisions taken in their regard—within the family, the school or the community. The principle affirms that children are full-fledged persons who have the right to express their views in all matters affecting them. It requires that those views be heard and given due weight in accordance with the child’s age and maturity. It recognizes the potential of children to enrich decision-making processes, to share perspectives and to participate as citizens and actors of change. The practical meaning of children’s right to participation must be considered in each and every matter concerning children.

OUR CONTRIBUTION

The Time to Talk project wants to strengthen the development of participation by supporting working children. Their voices and views must be heard and considered. As we think, participation in social and political processes affects the life of children positively in many ways. For example learning about democracy and democratical processes from early ages on and from experts, who can teach them their rights well-founded. But also empower and strengthen their personalities and self-confidence . Showing children that every opinion is heard and meaningful to the current processes is also motivating them to follow up with their rights . Around 1800 children took part in the Time to Talk consultations in 36 countries. With the child-friendly methods and tools of the Time to Talk toolkit the children were consulted in workshops about their experiences, wishes, likes and dislikes on their work. These methods are mostly creative and visual contributions, each in accordance to the children’s age and maturity.