Children and young people, particularly from vulnerable and excluded groups, face many barriers to participating in public life. While public servants should hear from them first, to ensure no-one is left behind, these children often can't take part in public accountability initiatives or governance processes. This further entrenches the discrimination they face which can lead to a further denial of their rights.
Plan International supports initiatives that remove these barriers to participation and invests in learning what works best to ensuring the rights of excluded, marginalised and excluded girls and boys are taken into account. We particularly support targeted interventions that tackle the root causes and consequences of their exclusion from public accountability mechanisms.
We provide guidance on political and power analysis, social exclusion analysis and problem-intervention analysis tailored to citizenship and governance programming, linking these to our Gender and Child Rights Analysis tool. We are also developing a body of evidence on the impact that targeted interventions in programmes for excluded and marginalised children and young people have on the results of citizenship and governance work.
Case Study: Making public services sensitive and adapted to the needs of vulnerable girls and boys
Partnering with the University of New York’s Children’s Environmental Research Center (CERG), Plan International and our Because I am a Girl Urban Programme have developed an improved approach to community scorecards. The Community Score Card (CSC) is a tool communities can use to assess services provided by government, or other organisations, for areas such as healthcare, water and sanitation, education or child protection. It is easy to use and can be adapted for any sector in which public (or private) services are being delivered. It is a two-way process that engages community members and government officials in an ongoing manner to jointly analyse services and improve them.
Like many development initiatives, it can be hard for scorecard processes to involve members of excluded groups, such as children, women, people with disabilities or those from ethnic minorities. However, it is these groups whose participation is most important as they are most likely to lose out on the benefits of public services.
Plan International, in partnership with CERG, is developing plans to scale up a child-sensitive, gender equitable and inclusive scorecard approach. This approach addresses challenges of participation of girls and excluded groups, takes into account the particular needs and evolving capacities of children, and barriers that girls, women or children and adults with disabilities (or other excluded groups) may face, and uses an inter-generational approach that brings children, young people and adults together as partners in the scorecard process.
Workshops with girls and boys and community facilitators in Uganda and India have helped to develop the methodology.