Continental Summit To Address Children Participation In Policy Formulation


The right to participate by 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 have embedded this right with an aim to reinforce, promote, and protect children’s participation in various matters in their lives, families, and communities.

However, this right is under threat, as children rarely participate in the formulation of 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 their own independent decisions, especially when they are under their parents or guardian’s care.

Therefore, to have rights is not the same as to have participation. However, 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 sensation conference that allowed children to give their views on the 2021 Children Bill, which was enacted into law as Children Act 2022 last year.

To further promote child participation, the first of its kind African Children Summit is scheduled to be held from 10th-12th April 2023 at Boma Hotel in South C Nairobi.

The summit, organized by Mtoto News International, Wish Hub Africa, and other partners. It aims to bring together children from all over Kenya, Africa, and the world to make their voices visible by being seen, heard, and engaged. The child- led summit will generate and share evidence-based child rights concerns and challenges in Africa.

Further, it will propose key policy recommendations on how Africa can address child protection challenges.

Children will have an opportunity to meet with experts and key individuals directly involved in the formulation and implementation of children’s rights and welfare, where they can directly advocate issues, they would like addressed.

As a nation, we need to rally behind children’s participation, and in doing so, we will help our children 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 for making their voices heard.

The African Children Summit is an opportunity to provide and promote safe places where children can participate in formulating and implementing 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.

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