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MFWS unveils first national guide to empower child participation

By June 26, 2024Press Releases

Foundation marks 10th anniversary by becoming licensed training institution

The first national child participation guide for parents and stakeholders working with children has been launched today and is the culmination of 10 years’ hard work and research by the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.

This guide will equip adults with the tools to better understand children, their rights, to involve them and to listen to their concerns before taking decisions that instead of helping them, fail them instead. It will also 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.

Ms Coleiro Preca, champion of children’s rights and the chair of the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, said that it was rewarding to finally release this toolkit, which after long years of hard work by experts, specialists, and practitioners would serve to fill the existing vacuum.

“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.”

The toolkit is designed to be a practical, supporting document that can guide adults, organisations, and authorities to engage with children in effective decision-making and address potential challenges. Through it, adults can empower children to take an active role in shaping their future and in turn, build a more inclusive and dynamic society.

It tackles a myriad of situations and provides solutions on how medical professionals, the judiciary, schools, police, migrant centres, and parents, among others, should address child participation.

Child participation — a fundamental human right enshrined by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child — happens when they are listened to, taken seriously, and their ideas transformed into reality.

When children participate in decision-making, they can influence the aspects that affect them while offering unique perspectives. This process allows children to develop a sense of belonging, gain new skills and experiences, build a sense of agency and be active citizens and critical thinkers in society.

Ms Coleiro Preca said: “This toolkit stands as testimony of the work done by the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society across the last 10 years where children are considered to be active contributors to society, and whose voices can lead to meaningful and impactful change.”