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close this bookGuidelines for Children's Participation in HIV/AIDS Programs (The Children and AIDS International Non-Government Organization Network (CAINN)) (UNAIDS, 1999, 29 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentWhy Children and Young People Should Participate
View the documentMeeting the Challenge
View the documentWays Children and Young People Can Participate
View the documentDoing It Better
View the documentAnnex - The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Participation and the World AIDS Campaign
View the documentChildren and AIDS International NGO Network (CAINN)

Doing It Better

Participatory programmes should be continuously reviewed, developed and improved. Evaluation does not need to be carried out by experts or outsiders. At the start it is important to decide what the programme hopes to achieve and how this will be measured. Measures for success need to be chosen by the communities and children involved, as well as by researchers, NGOs and donors.

Children and young people should be involved in all monitoring and evaluation of projects in which they are involved or services that they use. Workers need to review what they are doing at regular intervals with the children and young people themselves, if possible after each meeting. This may be done informally through discussion and then reporting back to the other staff of the organization concerned or to an advisory group specially set up to deal with children and young people's issues.

The most important indicator of successful participation by children and young people is the effect participation has had on each child. Has it developed their:

· Self-confidence and self esteem?

· Sense of responsibility, because they are being trusted to do things which are important for themselves and others?

· Sense of co-operation, because they are working together?

· Level of understanding of the issues concerned?

Another area to consider is how the views of adults have changed as a result of working with children and young people in this way. How do they now see the benefits of children and young people's participation?

Programmes need to be assessed and evaluated in collaboration with children and young people and their families. This can be done by:

· Asking children, young people and their families, perhaps using a list of questions. The materials can be evaluated by asking if children and young people enjoyed and understood them.

· Asking groups of children and young people to talk about their experiences and feelings. Check lists can help guide the discussion and keep it on track.

· Listening to what children and young people say.

· Observing how children and young people act and behave.

· Recording what is happening.

The results of the evaluation should be given to children and young people and their families. The findings should be available as soon as possible when the process is still fresh in people's minds.

Questions to ask in evaluating children and young people's activities:

1. Have children and young people and their families been involved in deciding the measure for the evaluation?

2. Can children and young people benefit from the evaluation, and how?

3. What have been the risks and costs for children and young people and their families of their involvement?

4. Has the children and young people's privacy and confidentiality been respected at all times?

5. Do the children and young people involved know that they are free to refuse or withdraw at any stage and this will not be held against them?

6. If certain children and young people have been excluded from participating, can their exclusion be justified?

7. Have the children and young people concerned and/or their careers, helped to plan, implement, analyze and evaluate the activity?

8. Are the children and young people concerned aware of the purpose and nature of their participation, methods, timings, benefits, consequences and outcomes?

9. What have workers learned from the participation of children and young people?

10. Will the children and young people and their families be informed of the main findings?

11. Aside from the effects of the activity on the participants, how might the conclusions affect other children and young people?


The theme of these guidelines is that children and young people living in a world with AIDS need to understand that it is their right to have a voice in all situations impacting on their lives and well-being.

The question that has been addressed in this booklet is: How can children and young people participate in AIDS campaigns and programmes in ethical and appropriate ways? It is clear that this is not an easy task. It is however, one that needs to be viewed as central to the sustainable improvement of children and young people's lives. If children and young people living in a world with AIDS are to be empowered as future citizens and take on responsibilities as active members of their communities their participation is paramount.

It is hoped that the ethical issues raised in promoting children and young people's appropriate participation in World AIDS Campaign Programmes will be taken into account and will provide a starting point for working with children and young people.