Developing Children's Participation: Lessons from a Participatory IT Project
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Brady, B. (2007) Developing Children's Participation: Lessons from a Participatory IT Project, Children and Society, Vol. 21, pp 31-41.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, advances in the sociology of childhood and the consumer rights movement have placed the spotlight on children¿s rights in society, challenging those working with children to examine how they share power and ensure that children¿s views are taken on board. While childrens¿ service practitioners are broadly supportive of the concept of participation and there are numerous examples of how children¿s participation has been realised in practice, many are unsure where to begin due to the range of options, considerations and challenges associated with participatory work. This article describes and analyses the process used by Barnardos in developing and implementing a participatory approach in a children¿s IT project in Galway City, Ireland. The process employed, the challenges encountered and the added value the participatory approach brought to the project are outlined. Finally, four broad lessons emerging from the experience are discussed, namely; the value of having a clear framework and reflective practice; that good participatory work is inextricably linked with good project management; that small efforts at participatory work can increase capacity and appetite for further work and that there is a role for informal approaches in the context of a formal participatory framework.