The Toolkit for Promoting Child Participation is a comprehensive guide designed to enhance the involvement of children in various decision-making processes, written by Dr Bernadine Satariano for the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.

The toolkit was launched on the 25th of June 2024, on the Foundation’s 10the Year Anniversary.

It delves into the multifaceted benefits of child participation, emphasising the positive impacts on both children and the respective authorities, agencies, or fields involved. Additionally, it addresses potential challenges and offers strategies for adults to effectively overcome them.

This toolkit outlines the different types and levels of child participation, providing authorities with practical ways to enable and support children’s involvement, through various typologies and approaches. This will help adults aiming to include child participation to understand how to implement effective participation models.

It also guides adults on how to create a supportive environment where children feel heard while emphasising the importance of adult behaviour, advocating for patience and active listening so that trust and respect is developed between adults and children.

These specific step-by-step guidelines and practical tips are aimed at helping adults and authorities focus on key aspects to ensure children’s voices are genuinely heard and considered.

The toolkit also includes insights from projects conducted by the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, highlighting strengths and gaps in child participation. This section is particularly useful for authorities related to family contexts, out-of-home settings, neighbourhoods, schools, courts, and media, identifying areas needing further intervention and support.

“Child participation is fundamental for our national capacity of active citizenship, critical thinkers, and effective and strong leaders. We truly aspire to see this toolkit adopted by all stakeholders to ensure children’s rights to have their aspirations and opinions heard are safeguarded,” Ms Coleiro Preca said.

“By embracing this resource, we take a significant step towards fostering a culture of participation that respects and values the contributions of every child and subsequently of every member of our society.”

A unique feature is the adult and child version matrix, which helps measure perceptions of child participation across different societal contexts where the higher rankings indicate effective participation. This also helps in providing a clear benchmark for improvement.

Methodological and practical instructions for involving children in programmes or projects from start to finish are also included. This section offers various tools and approaches, along with a checklist to ensure comprehensive and effective child participation.

The final section lists projects conducted by the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society that have successfully integrated children’s voices. Authorities are encouraged to consult with the Foundation to gain deeper insights into effective methodologies and practices.

 

Interested in the toolkit?

The toolkit will come with specific training to ensure it is properly implemented. To deliver this, the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society will soon become a licensed higher education training institution; a major milestone for the foundation, which is this year marking the 10th anniversary from its formation during the Presidency of Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

 

You can read the press release here