Small hands, big voices? Children's participation in policy change in India.


While the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child gives children the right to express their views in matters that affect them, there is little evidence to date on whether or not children and young people can practically influence policy. This article looks at the ways in which their participation might be said to have influenced policy relating to childhood poverty. It draws on a case study concerning working children in India to track the change in outlook on the part of national and local authorities, from a perception of children and young people as passive recipients of services to a recognition of the value of their active participation. The article concludes that the realisation of children's rights requires expanding and strengthening successful areas of interaction, while building adult support for children's rights and encouraging an institutional willingness to recognise their voices.


IDS Bulletin - Vol 36 No 1, pp. 82-90 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2005.tb00182.x]

Small hands, big voices? Children’s participation in policy change in India.

Published 1 January 2005