Concerns about the absence of children’s voices from matters affecting their lives and their societies have informed the emergence, construction and hegemony of ‘child participation as voice’ in global children’s rights debates, policies and practices since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1989. While this voice-oriented participation construct has some merit, this paper argues that it is also limiting and unrepresentative of the diverse ways in which children participate or seek representation and inclusion in different political, social and economic contexts. The paper draws on findings from research studies in Nigeria and Ghana to buttress this argument and concludes with a call to go beyond the participation-as-voice orthodoxy and instead, move towards participatory practices which are better aligned with the meanings children themselves attach to their everyday lives and to the key personal and social relationships that they value.
- SPS Children and Families Research Centre
- child participation
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child
- children's rights
- children's duties
- child work