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Participation is one of the guiding principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as a fundamental component of creating child and youth friendly communities. Children and youth have the right to participate in the life of their communities and have a say in the decisions that affect them.


Listening to the voices of children and youth is one of the most powerful ways of acknowledging that they are a valued part of the community and has numerous benefits for their development.  It can also empower young people, create a sense of belonging, strengthen their connection to the community, and foster greater civic awareness and action. In addition, listening to the opinions of children and youth can help make service, programs, and practices more effective and responsive to their needs that can in turn prevent resources being wasted on things that young people do no want, do not relate to, or do not benefit from.


Children and youth are in the unique position of being citizens with no vote or role in the conventional political process. As such, it is often challenging to elicit their voices. Without special consideration, provisions, supports or mentoring, it is often challenging for young people to participate and, as such, these valuable insights into the lived experiences of children and youth are lost.  For this reason, we would recommend, where at all possible on your journey towards creating more child and youth friendly communities, that you seek to engage directly with children and youth. Below you will find some of the many resources available that can assist you in getting started. 

A project of the

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