A child’s right to participation is one of the basic rights enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Article 12 of the UNCRC establishes the right of every child to freely express her or his views in all matters affecting her or him, and the subsequent right for those views to be given due weight, according to the child’s age and maturity.

Children’s right to be heard is interrelated to their enjoyment of rights to protection and development. Children and young people have first-hand experience of the hardships and challenges they face in their communities. Understanding children’s views and experiences are essential to devising an effective strategy for their protection and development. Furthermore, children’s participation goes beyond helping solves problems that affect them directly and expands out to numerous issues that affect their communities and societies.

Plan International Hong Kong believes that children and young people hold the key to providing specialised knowledge and innovative approaches to bringing about changes in their communities and improving overall society. The Voice of the Children demonstrates a child-centred model of community development – from raising awareness of children’s rights to identifying problems and building consensus with peers and other stakeholders, advocating for the government and those involved to take responsibility for bringing about positive change in the community.

Our Actions

In June 2018, Plan International Hong Kong initiated a pilot project, “Voice of the Children Phase I (2018-2019)” in collaboration with the Alliance for Children Development Rights in Yau Tsim Mong District and the North District. To incorporate more local experience in utilising the child participatory model for community development, Plan International has also partnered with the HKSKH Lady MacLehose Centre during the second phase of the programme starting from June 2020. “Voice of the Children Phase II (2020-2022)” has expanded its scope to include Kwai Tsing District, Yau Tsim Mong District and Sham Shui Po District. “Voice of the Children Phase III” commenced in June 2022, collaborating with the Hong Kong Christian Service North Point Happy Teens Club and HKSKH Lady MacLehose Centre. In the period from 2022 to 2024, community-based children participation programmes have been implemented in Kwai Chung District and North Point District. The project aims to enable children to identify issues concerning their protection and development, and encourages them to drive positive change within their communities based on their findings.

In Phase I, to align with the local context and culture, Plan International developed the “5-Stage Model – Child Participatory Community Development” as the project framework. In Phase III, based on our practical experience, we have adjusted the framework to “4-Stage Programme Cycle for Child Participatory Community Development”. The cycle begins by introducing children to the project and raising their awareness of their rights. It is then followed by exploring community issues, establishing consensus with peers and other stakeholders, and planning and executing community actions. It finally concludes by sharing achievements through advocacy and community education. We believe that children and youth are active agents of change, and by nurturing children to be voices of their own groups, we can bring about positive and lasting transformation for the community.

Programme Details