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Section 1: What, Who, Why & How of Youth Participation


There are many reasons ‘why’ we should involve children and young people in the decisions, projects and processes that affect them Outside of WAGGGS, these ‘why’s are often summarised in 4 ways:

Why should we work in this way?

Participation improves the impact and efficiency of a programme, initiative, idea or organisation. This is an argument that is particularly strong with policy-makers and funders.

Children and young people have the right to participate. For under 18., this right is reflected in Article 12 of the United Nations Rights of the Child which says ‘every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously.’

Participation can bring power to groups of people who are often marginalised and excluded. That could be ‘children’ or ‘young people’ as a whole, but also other groups such as girls, or young people with disabilities. It can also act to shift and readdress power balances within society or structures.



Participation contributes positively towards young people's development and when done well, can be a transformative and learning focused. It’s important. It’s therefore crucial that children and young people gain skills, learn and build their capacity through participation.