Monday, December 8, 2008

We All Have Something to Say, But Children Say it Best

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Adults have all the answers, don’t we? At least we like to think we do. Around the world, millions of children live in poverty. Finding the answer to break the cycle is not easy, but at Christian Children’s Fund we know that listening to children and how poverty impacts them is a start.

A new publication – “We’ve Got Something to Say: Promoting Child and Youth Agency, A Facilitator’s Manual” – captures how important it is to listen to children and youth about the issues that impact them the most.

This publication follows a 2005 CCF poverty study in which we learned that children are far more sensitive to and affected by poverty than we first thought. The study also showed that children understand poverty as a deeply physical, emotional and social experience.

We know that children are agents of change and are capable of playing leading roles in their lives and in their communities. This manual helps make this clear.

The guide was developed for program managers, community workers, community leaders, youth leaders and others who are interested in working more effectively with young people in community development. Child protection expert Claire O’Kane and child participation consultant Tracy Dolan wrote the manual for CCF.

The manual is divided into seven sections that stress the importance of talking to and working with children in communities to bring change and help with planning in CCF’s program areas.

While the “We’ve Got Something to Say” guide was written for CCF, Dolan said its uses are practical for any organization that works with children.

“This guide includes chapters on how to prepare adults and organizations to work more effectively with young people and how to share governing responsibilities with children and youth,” she said.

To view the “We’ve Got Something to Say” manual click here.

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