Together joins members at Eurochild's 2018 Conference in Croatia

Date: 6th November 2018
Category: Awareness-raising, General measures of implementation, Respect for the views of the child


Together joined two of its members, Children's Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament, at Eurochild's 2018 Conference in Croatia. The conference took place from 29th-31st October 2018 and brought together practitioners, researchers, charities, children and young people from across Europe to discuss positive examples of children and young people being involved in decision-making.

Members of the Children’s Parliament (MCPs) and Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) delivered two workshops on the annual Scottish Cabinet meeting with children and young people. Each of the MCPs and MSYPs had taken part in the 2018 Cabinet meeting, with some also having participated in the 2017 meeting. The MCPs and MSYPs were supported by staff from Together, Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament to prepare and present the sessions.

Elisha, Mackenzie and Ben from Children’s Parliament described how the room was set up and how it felt to be in a space surrounded by important decision-makers. They described how they’d felt nervous at first but that when they started talking and saw Cabinet Ministers nodding, taking notes and asking questions that they knew they were being listened to. The MCPs then gave an overview of the issues they had raised at the 2018 meeting and the recommendations they made to the Scottish Government, including:

  • Children should be involved in teacher and social worker training and education.
  • Make sure adults treat boys and girls equally.
  • Help children, families, professionals, and communities build relationships based on trust, kindness, empathy, and human dignity.
  • Encourage more children to be Human Rights Defenders in Scotland.
  • Do more to raise awareness of children’s rights.
  • Be Unfearties!

Jack Dudgeon MSYP and Jack Norquoy MSYP followed with an overview of issues raised by MSYPs and their recommendations, these related to:

  • Equal protection from violence
  • Period poverty
  • Mosquito devices
  • Brexit
  • UNCRC incorporation

Delegates were then involved in an interactive activity to discuss changes that have happened that can be linked directly or indirectly to the issues raised by children and young people at the 2017 and 2018 Cabinet meetings. These changes include the Scottish Government’s decision to support the Equal Protection Bill, the commitment to hold the Cabinet meeting annually, and the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporate the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

At the end of the workshop, the MCPs and MSYPs discussed what they had liked about the past Cabinet meetings, such as the Scottish Government’s progress report which gives feedback on steps taken since the last Cabinet meeting; and what they think could be improved upon for next time, such as improving how child-friendly the meeting space is. They hoped that delegates from other countries would take these ‘lessons learned’ into account when campaigning for or setting up similar projects in their home countries.

The MCPs and MSYPs then facilitated group discussions among the workshop participants, asking them if they had any similar structures in their home countries and asking them to make a commitment on what practical steps they would take when they returned home to ensure that children and young people’s voices could be heard in decision-making processes.

A big "well done!" to Elisha, Mackenzie, Ben, Jack Dudgeon and Jack Norquoy for their excellent workshops and for inspiring their audiences to call on their home governments to include children and young people in decision-making!