Original Research - Special Collection: SAMEA 7th Biennial Conference 2019

Child participation: Child contributors’ reflections on their experiences

Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg, Desiré Jansen van Rensburg
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 8, No 1 | a475 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v8i1.475 | © 2020 Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg, Desiré Jansen van Rensburg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 February 2020 | Published: 23 October 2020

About the author(s)

Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg, Resilience Analysis Consulting, Johannesburg, South Africa
Desiré Jansen van Rensburg, Resilience Analysis Consulting, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Child participation is critical for evaluation in the light of all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leaving no one behind. Resilience Analysis Consulting developed a child-friendly version (CFV) of the National Child Participation Framework (NCPF). To ensure participation and optimal use of the document, children were included in all aspects of the document development.

Objectives: In this study children reflect on their experiences. This provides insight for document development and more widely into child participation in interventions for children and the evaluation of such interventions. It further highlights the value of child participation and encourages evaluators to include children.

Methods: The children who assisted in the development of the document were asked to reflect on the process and their experiences through an open-ended survey. Scales were used to investigate the benefits. Open-ended questions were thematically analysed.

Results: The experiences included the following main themes: (1) enjoyment of the project activities, (2) satisfaction with contributions, (3) learning new information, (4) being more aware of children’s rights and participation in society, (5) contributing to other children’s lives and (6) the importance of recognition and being valued. Seeing their ideas, artwork and recommendations in print made them feel that they were taken seriously.

Conclusion: A participatory approach when developing materials for children enhances the uptake and dissemination of information. Children contribute unique and valuable perspectives to the evaluation process. Evaluators wrongly assume negative consequences, preventing them from including children, while children report positive outcomes. The process empowered child participants.


Keywords

Evaluation; Child; Participation; Child-friendly documents; SDGs

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