Children Now Groomed to Participate In Policy Making

For the first time in Africa a special children summit to address child participation in policy formulation and implementation sails between 10 April and 12 April, 2023 in the Kenyan Capital of Nairobi.

The summit is organized by ‘Mtoto News International,’ ‘Wish Hub Africa,’ and other associate partners.

Children from all over Africa and other parts of the world get to gather in Kenya to make their voices heard.

They also need to be seen and actively engaged in making decisions that may affect their wellbeing and future.

The child-led summit will generate and share evidence-based child rights concerns and challenges in Africa.

The event will eventually propose key policy recommendations for addressing child protection challenges in Africa.

Children will be able to meet with experts and key individuals directly involved in formulating and implementing children’s rights and welfare, where they can now advocate for issues they would like addressed.

Parents, Guardians and Leaders have been implored to rally behind children’s participation, and in doing so, help the minors to take ownership of the policies put in place to protect, promote, and enhance their rights and welfare.

We should encourage our children to participate in budget allocation, education, healthcare, and, most importantly, in our homes and communities without influencing their decisions or threatening them to make their voices heard.

The African Children Summit, according to organizers, should create an opportunity to provide and promote safe places where children can formulate and implement policies that affect their everyday lives.

“It is a chance for children to be seen, heard, and engaged. We call on all stakeholders to support this noble initiative and to help us build a world where children’s voices are heard, and their rights are protected.”

The right to participate in children in matters affecting them and their communities is a global issue that has gained momentum in Africa and beyond.

Various laws and clauses have been implemented globally, regionally, and locally to spur child participation.

To underscore the right for child participation, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the African Charter on the Right and Welfare of a Child, has embedded this right with an aim to reinforce, promote, and protect children’s participation in various matters in their lives, families, and communities.

But for experts this right is under threat, as children rarely participate in formulating policies and laws pertaining to them; thus, they do not take ownership of these laws that are supposed to protect them.

Cultural norms and practices across the African continent prohibit children from making independent decisions, especially when they are under their parent’s or guardians’ care.

Therefore the conference targets to not only make children demand and have rights, but also to actively participate in decision making.

Kenya is making strides to change this narrative by embedding the children’s right to participation in the recent 2022 Children Acts, which champions this right.

In the spirit of child participation, the National Council for Children’s Service organized a sensational conference that allowed children to give their views on the 2021 Children’s Bill, which was enacted into law as Children Act 2022 last year.