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Children's Participation: Learning from and for Community Development

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Interest in children's participation has in the main come about as a result of the UNCRC. However, children's participation is also relevant to a wider global interest in citizen and community participation more generally. But there is surprisingly little sharing of experience and learning between the research communities concerned with children's participation on the one hand and community engagement and empowerment on the other. This article seeks to address that gap by reflecting on the learning from both of these traditions, drawing mainly on UK experience. It begins by outlining some of the key dilemmas and challenges facing children's participation. It then explores the parallels between that experience and the experience of community participation in New Labour's neighbourhood and democratic renewal programmes. It goes on to consider some theoretical tools for responding to the common dilemmas in both settings, before discussing the implications for children's participation. It ends by arguing that more attention to children's participation could benefit community engagement policy and practice more widely.

Affiliations: 1: Cities Research Centre and The SOLAR Action Research Centre, University of the West of England, Bristol


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