Child Participation - Eurochild’s achievements in 2022
Children are experts in their own lives and it is essential that they participate in decisions that affect them. Eurochild facilitates dialogue between children and EU policy makers, relying on our extensive network of members to ensure children’s participation is embedded in EU, national and local realities.
Eleven young people participate in the third Eurochild’s Children’s Council (ECC) which is a central structure in Eurochild’s child participation strategy. They meet at least once per month to connect with each other’s activities at local level, and provide input to Eurochild’s governance, communications & advocacy. In addition, they also provide input/are consulted by European and international organisations on a wide range of matters related to children's rights.
The new ECC started their 2 year-mandate at the Eurochild General Assembly in 2022. In May 2022 they met in Brussels along with the previous ECC members who will continue collaborating with Eurochild as mentors. Alongside introductory meetings and trainings for the incoming group and feedback sessions with the outgoing group, both groups met Marie-Cécile Rouillon, the European Commission Coordinator on Children's Rights and learnt about the work of the European Commission. Shortly after their first meeting, two representatives of the council formally presented the new ECC to the members of the network, at the online General Assembly.
On 1 February 2022, Eurochild Children’s Council Members, Una and Petra, joined a virtual consultation on girls’ and young women’ activism organised by the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls.
In 2022 we strengthened our relationships with the European Commission including by supporting children to participate at the 14th EU Forum on the Rights of the Child. As a result of our advocacy, EU funding calls from DG JUST related to children’s rights now require the involvement of children in proposals and the need to ensure child protection measures are respected.
Eurochild supported and coordinated the participation of more than 50 children at the European Commission’s 14th EU Forum on the Rights of the Child. Children were present in almost all sessions as both speakers and participants with 15 young people physically present in Brussels, and many others joining online. The topics covered were child participation, children in conflicts, prevention from violence and integrated child protection, the impact on children’s rights of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and the EU child protection response. Eurochild Children’s Council representatives Iva, Elisabet and Liam were part of the group of young people present in Brussels who were invited to speak at the event on these topics. Five other members of the council prepared and virtually presented a session on combatting violence against children.
The National Eurochild Forums, which are currently established in four countries (BG, HR, EE, MT), consulted with children on the topic of child poverty. The outcomes will be published in a report in spring 2023.
Eurochild also supported the YouPart (Youth Participation) project, which engaged with 60 participants (13 to 23 years old) from Austria, Czechia, Greece, Italy, Serbia, and Slovenia. Children and young people formulated a set of demands addressed at Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and covering ten different areas affecting them in their daily lives. In December, these demands were presented during a roundtable to six members of the European Parliament in Brussels.
Last year we also continued to strengthen our work on capacity building and increased the involvement of children in delivering trainings. In September, the Eurochild Children's Council gave a child participation in safeguarding training workshop at the Keeping Children Safe's Summit. In October, along with members of the secretariat team, they co-designed and delivered a full day training on child participation to the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) – which was a great opportunity for the CBSS to get a direct experience of working with children during the training.
In November, with a view to continue and expand child participation in Eurochild’s governance, two members of the ECC came to Brussels to meet with the management board and discuss future cooperation.
Eurochild has been engaging with Reaching-In partners (including its member the Centre for Child and Youth Participation at the University of Central Lancashire), which is a European collaboration project between children and adults, aiming at increasing the impact that marginalised children have on public decision-making at local, national level and European levels. In 2022, Eurochild co-commissioned pilot projects through which disadvantaged children can seek change in decision-making related to the child guarantee. The focus of the pilot projects was children growing up in alternative care, Roma children, or migrant children. The results will be published in 2023 as the project continues.
Eurochild also endorsed a statement co-authored by children and adults involved in the #CovidUnder19 initiative asking for meaningful child participation.
Our members’ work:
- Slovenian National Children’s Parliament meets again in person after two years
- How can we address multiculturalism and local identities?
- Opatija's Children’s City Council receives award for promoting child participation
Blogs written by ECC members:
- Why does child participation matter?
- Being active puts the world in your hands
- Eurochild Children's Council – Jakob’s experience in Brussels
- Children's rights reporter Sena at Eurochild Children's Council