Not for children only: lessons learnt from young people's participation (PLA 50)

Journal (part) article
PDF (877.75 KB)
Published: October 2004
Participatory Learning and Action
Product code:G02097
Source publication:
Participatory Learning and Action 50: Critical reflections, future directions

Around the world, one hears rhetoric about children's participation and finds many examples of young people's creativity and capability, yet the practice of children's participation has not been mainstreamed into development policy. Children's interests are often assumed to be covered by extending support to women as mothers. However, this does not adequately address children's rights and needs. When young people are excluded from participatory processes, or processes including them are kept separte from broader initiatives for community development, it can be detrimental to both young people and development goals. This article highlights some of the learning that has been gained from discourse and practice relating to young people's participation and how it might be integrated into the broader development field.

This special anniversary issue of Participatory Learning and Action contains articles by previous guest-editors and authors from the last 20 years who were invited to revisit their contributions and provide an update on current thinking. The overview reflects on the overlapping themes and parallels in the lessons learnt and suggestions for ways forward.

Guest editors: Robert Chambers, Nicole Kenton and Holly Ashley

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See:

Full table of contents/download whole issue: see More information.

Cite this publication

Chawla, L. and Johnson, V. (2004). Not for children only: lessons learnt from young people's participation (PLA 50). .
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