Child Participation

30 October-10 December 2019 (E04519) | Register for this course (page opens in new window)
Instructor: Claire O’Kane

This e-learning course introduces staff members of (international) development agencies and NGOs to meaningful children’s participation. Children have participation rights that states and other duty-bearers should fulfill, respect and protect in families, schools, communities, and wider society.

Children’s participation is a key principle of a child rights based approach. Children have rights to express their views and to be heard in all matters affecting them, while considering their evolving capacities. Providing space and inclusive opportunities for expression, information sharing, association and participation in decision making empowers children and young people as active citizens. Meaningful children’s participation leads to the development and implementation of more effective practice and policies, and increases realisation of children’s rights.

The course focuses on children’s rights to participate, with a particular focus on ethical and inclusive practice involving girls and boys of different ages and backgrounds, especially the most marginalized. Participants will deepen their knowledge, skills, values and confidence to support meaningful children’s participation processes in different settings (programming, families, schools, communities, local and national governance, practice and policy developments). Practical guidance on basic requirements, approaches and tools to strengthen meaningful children’s participation will be shared, and participants will be encouraged to reflect on and find solutions to challenges and ethical concerns faced in their participatory practice.

Course structure

This certificate course involves approximately 30 hours of reading, discussion, webinars, a written assignment and quizzes, and is offered over a six-week period. The course is based on a participatory, active learning approach, with an emphasis on critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning. Participants will do the required readings, prepare interim and final assignments and participate in group discussions. Case studies will be used to enable interactive learning and activities. The maximum number of course participants is 25. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of completion. It is also possible to audit the course.

Course outline

Week 1. An introduction to children’s participation (what, why, who, how)
Week 2. International standards and basic requirements
Week 3. Applying children’s participation in each stage of programming
Week 4. Applying children’s participation in families, schools and communities
Week 5. Applying children’s participation in local and national governance
Week 6. Monitoring and evaluating children’s participation

About the instructor: Claire O’Kane

Claire O'KaneClaire O’Kane is a qualified social worker with more than 18 years of international experience as a child rights and children’s participation practitioner working in diverse contexts in Asia, Africa and Europe. She worked with Save the Children for more than a decade. In addition as a freelance child rights consultant she has worked with ActionAid, the Children’s Environments Research Group, Child Fund International, Plan International, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International, and UNICEF. She is the author of more than forty publications (articles, reports, toolkits, ethical guidelines) on child rights, children’s participation, citizenship, peace building, child care and protection.

Who should apply

The course is intended for, among others, child rights advocates, youth workers, social workers, staff members of development and children’s rights/social justice organisations, including development NGOs and UN specialised agencies like UNICEF. Participants should have a good written command of English — the working language of the course — and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. HREA aims to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.


Tuition fee for participants:€ 405 (€ 465 after 1 September 2019); tuition for auditors€ 155 (€ 185 after 1 September 2019). Payments can be made online with major credit cards (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal and bank transfer. Bulk rates are available. Payments are due upon registration.

How to register

Register for this course (page opens in new window). Registrations are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. Please be advised that courses generally fill up quickly!

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about HREA’s e-learning courses.

Testimionials by course participants