TOGETHER PROJECT -  15 November 2023

Meaningful child and youth participation in public decision-making: new e-learning course

Whether it involves the climate crisis, cost of living crisis, a conflict or a pandemic, children and young people have a right to be heard in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and their voices should feed into policy and decision-making at all levels of government.

As we approach World Children’s Day (20 November), SOS Children’s Villages has developed a new e-learning course which aims to remind adults with policy and decision-making responsibilities of their role as duty bearers to uphold children’s rights and make them a reality in day-to-day life. This includes their duty to seek children’s views and take them into consideration with regards to all decisions made about and impacting children and young people’s lives.  

The free course, “Meaningful Child and Youth Participation in Public Decision-Making,” is aimed at public decision- and policy-makers and professionals working for and with children and young people. It has been developed within the project, “Together: Working in partnership with children and youth to enhance their rights in responses to crisis situations such as COVID-19 and other emergencies,” which is co-funded by the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme of the European Union and is being implemented by SOS Children’s Villages in four countries: Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy and Spain. 


“Nothing about us without us” – Strengthening child and youth participation 

Whilst in most 27 Member States of the European Union children and young people do not have the right to vote until the age of 18, they do have the right to be active members of democratic societies. To this end, in 2020, 10,000 children and young people were consulted on the development of the European Union Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the Child Guarantee. Within this consultation, more than half of children and young people reported they were never consulted by more distant authorities such as local municipalities or authorities, the national government or the European Unioni.  

Children and young people have the right to participate in public decision-making on all issues that affect their lives, however, in times of crisis, their voices are often overlooked by governments and decision-makers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, children and young people’s lives were strongly impacted by decisions taken by governments, yet their views and voices were very inconsistently sought or taken into account.  

The “Together” project aims to contribute to better embedding children’s rights in responses to crisis situations across the European Union by improving the capacity of children, young people, the professionals supporting them and decision-makers to work in partnership in public decision-making processes. This will be achieved through several activities within the project, including peer-to-peer workshops and information videos for children and young people, as well as information webinars and the e-learning course for decision-makers and professionals.  


The e-learning course 

Within the e-learning course, participants will learn about the International and European legal frameworks on children’s rights, the challenges and benefits of child and youth participation, what meaningful child and youth participation in national policy development looks like, and practical tools and frameworks for assessing and implementing child and youth participation in participants’ own departments or organisations. 

As part of the course, participants also have the opportunity to submit questions on the topic of child and youth participation to the mentors within the project, who are young people aged 20-27 years old that support with the development and implementation of project activities.  

The course takes approximately one hour to complete and is available in English, Spanish and Hungarian. It will also be available in Bulgarian and Italian in the coming months.

Find out more about the Together project & the other activities taking place


The Together project is co-funded by the European Union. The views and opinions expressed within this article are however those of SOS Children’s Villages only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them. 

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