In April 2019, Nick Petten, along with a few colleagues working in the intersections of children’s rights and program development, presented their work to YouthPower, a USAID-funded education initiative. The webinar and a description can be viewed on the USAID website here.
In order to speak truth to power, children and adolescents have to overcome multiple obstacles. Despite several conventions supporting their right to participate in decisions that concern them (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Treaty of Lisbon), their involvement often remains limited. Children and adolescents’ meaningful engagement in research and evaluation is indeed challenging. It requires time and resources to adapt to evaluation tools and materials. It also involves specific ethical issues, such as informed parental consent and child assent.
This panel brought ethics to the forefront of their discussion on children’s participation. It considered how several gatekeepers (parents, schools, local authorities) can facilitate or interfere with their right to participate. The panel offered cross-national perspectives with examples from Canada, Europe and Low and Middle Income Countries and focused on ways to ensure meaningful participation, such as visual methods and robust consent processes.