Why does child participation matter? Rayaa and Anna's experience at the Eurochild's General Assembly

This blog was authored by children from the Eurochild Children's Council, Anna from Greece and Rayaa from Ireland

The Importance of Child Participation - Anna

Children's opinions and voices have always been of less importance, with the common assumption that adults always know better. However, lately, more and more chances for children to participate in the decision-making process have appeared. While the final goal, which is for children to have a permanent and active role in such procedures, has not been yet reached, a question that concerns people who have not familiarized themselves with child participation as a concept is: "Why is it so important? Aren’t children's rights already being fairly represented?"

Child participation is a concept that provides young people the opportunity to be actively involved in matters that concern their future. That is why when it comes to topics that directly affect children, it is only natural that their opinions must be the ones with the highest gravity. It is of utmost importance that children representation is present during negotiations for important governmental policies or decisions in order to achieve the protection of their rights. Children get to have a role as agents of transformation with the capability to improve and build a strong and supportive community for everyone.

Presenting at Eurochild’s Annual General Assembly - Rayaa

My name is Rayaa, I am 15 years old and I am representing Ireland on Eurochild’s Children Council. I was very honoured to be able to able to speak at the General Assembly 2022 and introduce my fellow council members.

It was the first meeting I had attended that had over 100 people, so as expected, it was a bit nerve wracking. The other council members made it less overwhelming, as we had breakout rooms to leave for a few minutes and we could talk to each other. After this, I felt really confident and proud of myself, as my fellow council members cheered me on! 

It was amazing to see the wonderful work the Eurochild and its members do in terms of helping children around Europe and how the voting process worked. Child friendly language was used, making it even easier for me to understand complicated points that were made.

The adults were very nice and welcoming which certainly made me feel calmer. I have definitely gained more confidence in my communication skills since the General Assembly. It was truly a fantastic experience and I look forward to next year’s General Assembly!

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