Children drive change and are the experts on their own lives. They can contribute valuable knowledge to validate and enrich the evidence base – if only they have a chance to be heard, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says in its 2014 State of the World’s Children report published last week.
There are currently 2.2-billion children in the world, according to UNICEF.
The report, titled Every Child Counts – revealing disparities, advancing children’s rights – comes at the time when the UN children agency is calling on countries to not only articulate children’s rights, but also to respect protect and fulfill them.
“In order to survive and develop to their full potential, children need healthcare, nutritious food, education that nurtures their minds and equips them with useful knowledge and skills, freedom from violence and exploitation, and the time and space to play,” the report says.
“The right to life, survival and development thus points to a wide range of indicators that must be measured in order to make sure that this right is realised.”
UNICEF reiterated its call to see children – agents of knowledge and change – involved in research, and be provided with useful information that it believes can help them effect change in their communities.
But the New York-based organisation said although children are agents of knowledge and change when they participate in research, they are also vulnerable and dependent. “They need to feel – and to be – safe and listened to,” the report urges.
Photo credit: Sodahead