In celebration of Youth Participation Month 2017, we asked Nancy, Child & Youth Participation Coordinator at Lumos, to provide her ten key principles for youth participation that truly matters. The below principles are presented from the perspective of Lumos’ staff and not children and young adults that Lumos works with.
1. Safe – all child and youth participation activities should be safe and ethical.
2. Non-discrimination – all children and young people should have the opportunity to be involved in our participation work. We treat all children and young people as unique and individual; we believe that everyone has something to contribute.
3. Supportive – we support children with disabilities or additional needs to actively participate.
4. Authentic – child and youth participation should not be tokenistic. Actively listening to children and young people and promoting opportunities to lead ensures that participation is meaningful.
5. Realistic – we work with young people to set realistic goals to avoid feelings of disappointment or failure.
6. Honest and Clear Communication – we are honest with young people about the purpose of their participation and the level of influence they can achieve. Children and young people need clear and accessible information throughout, including proper follow up on the impact of their participation.
7. Voluntary – all participation must be voluntary, based on clear and accessible information throughout. We have comprehensive consent procedures to ensure children and young people have control over how their work, images and stories are shared.
8. Partnership – we work in partnership with children and young people, based on the principle of mutual respect.
9. Mutual benefit – Lumos is enriched by the unique skills and perspective children and young people bring. Additionally, it is important that young people also benefit from participating in our work. This can be through witnessing direct change, receiving training, personal and professional development, opportunities to travel and payment if providing consultancy work.
10. Fair – we seek to be fair and transparent when offering children and young people opportunities to participate. We are committed to developing leaders who show enthusiasm and potential, whilst ensuring opportunities are widely available to all children and young people. Lumos is proud to be an organisation that provides opportunities for the children and young.