Participation tools (II): Flowers of Support

 Flowers of Support: children´s views on policies and practices and their messages to government, parents, caregivers, NGOs and others

To enable children to identify what different groups of people should do to improve the situation of working children, “Flowers of Support” are created. Each petal represents a stakeholder, such as parents, employers, local governments and international organizations. This tool favors child-led advocacy as children are encourages to share their messages with at least one of the groups in order to bring about positive change. The flower of support is one of different participation tools we used during our consultations.

Objective: To enable children to identify what different groups of people should do to improve the situation of working children, and to prioritise one group of people to try to influence to improve the lives of working children.

Use with: Groups of children. Children may work in mixed gender groups for this activity or they may continue to work in girls and boys groups. Can use with children aged 8 years and older.

Materials: Flipchart paper, pens, scissors


Practical Steps:

  1. Explain that children will have an opportunity to make a big flower to share their views and suggestions about what different groups of people can do to improve the lives of working children.
  2.  The first step is to identify the main groups of people (different stakeholders) who can help improve the lives of working children. Each group of people should have their own “big petal”. For example, one group of people are parents or caregivers. Provide children with big petal with parents/ caregivers written on the top of the petal, and another petal with employers, another with local government officials, another with international organisations. Ask children to identify other groups of people who can help improve the lives of working children, and have a petal for each group.
    Also, if not already mentioned ask children if there should be a petal for children and young people, so that they can share their ideas about how children themselves can improve the lives of working children.
  3. Once the different groups are agreed and written on the petals, it is time for children to spend 15-30 minutes to brainstorm and share their suggestions about what each of these stakeholders should do to improve the lives of working children. Either children can divide into mixed gender/age groups so that each group focuses on a few petals, or the whole group can work together to  share their ideas for each petal.
  4. For each stakeholder group (each petal) record suggestions about what each stakeholder group should do to help improve the lives of working children. For example:

a) What should parents/ caregivers do to improve the lives of working children?
b) What should employers do to improve the lives of working children?
c) What should government officials do to improve the lives of working children?
d) What should international organisations do to improve the lives of working children?
e) What should children and young people do to improve the lives of working children?
f) What should X, Y, Z (depending on other identified petals) do to improve the lives of working children

More steps:

5. Ask children to think about which petal, which group of people they think they can most easily positively influence to act upon their suggestions to improve the lives of working children. When children and supportive adults share their messages with at least one prioritised group to try to improve children’s lives this is called advocacy.

6. Give each child 2 stickers or stones to place 2 votes for whichever petal/ group of people they think they can most easily positively influence. Each child may place their 2 votes on 2 different petals, or they can place both their votes on one particular petal.

7. Count up the votes to identify which groups of people the children want to prioritise for advocacy and influencing. For one (or possibly two) of the prioritised groups ask children to share their ideas. And how they can meet with this group of people to share their key messages with them. Discuss and record children’s action ideas on the flipchart (what will children and supportive adults do? Where? When? Who will be involved? With what support?

To learn more about this participation tool, have a look in our Research toolkit on page 26. http://www.time-to-talk.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Toolkit-Time-to-Talk-_en.pdf