The African Children’s Charter provides for child participation, highlighting that the views of children matter and must be heard (articles 4(2) and 7). Guided by the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’, children should be involved in decision making affecting their interests in line with Agenda 2063 (paragraph 47), which stresses the following: In pursuit of a people-centred continent, all the citizens of Africa will be actively involved in decision making in all aspects.The children expressing their views should be delegated to act as representatives, based on the principle of representation; and not merely be appointed. Because children’s views are not monolithic, a diversity of childhood experiences, comprising differences in gender, age, ability, the urban/rural divide, minorities as well as the voices of indigenous communities, and children heading households, should be included.The representatives should also have a means of reporting and consulting others, leading to some form of accountability. Many countries have taken measures to engage and consult children, and have made child participation more accountable. However, greater efforts are still required to ensure that children’s views are meaningfully channelled and taken into account.
- Child participation, based on the principles of representation, inclusion and accountability, is cultivated at all levels.
- Children participate meaningfully in law making and policy adoption in matters affecting their interests, and areinvolved in the oversight of their implementation.
- Dedicated processes for children’s participation are in place, such as a permanent and dedicated forum in the form of a child parliament, or ad hoc forum in the form of a child caucus aimed at bringing forward the voices of children in these processes.
- At school level, child participation and leadership are cultivated by involving children in school management, for example in advisory student/ learner councils.
- Legal protection is in place affirming children’s rights to assemble, organise and access information and to express themselves freely.
- Children have the right to be consulted and heard in proceedings involving or affecting them.
- Children are involved in the monitoring and accountability process for this Agenda, the SDGs and the AU’s Agenda 2063.