Article | Open Access
Meetings Between Professionals for the Inclusion of Children in Citizen Participation: A Formative Experience
Abstract: Municipalities must take steps towards an “educational action” that welcomes children into environments that estimulate their involvement and participation in issues that mean something to them. Professionals working directly with children in the municipal sphere must strengthen the development of their active and committed citizenship (SDG no. 4), relating to them as citizens capable of transforming their environment. Children’s participation requires adults who recognise them as interlocutors and establish relationships of trust and mutual respect with them. Municipalities need to create opportunities for children to be included in the co‐production of local projects and to take a leading role in public policies. This article aims to offer elements that can nurture professionals’ readiness and “capacity building” to facilitate children’s participation. These elements are formed in the context of a pedagogical practice (the “coffee meetings”) and emerge through a systematisation of experiences (Aguiar, 2013; Barnechea & Morgan, 2010; Jara, 2012, 2018; Mera, 2019). Coordinated by an inter‐university team, the reflective exchange promoted by the meetings between municipal technical professionals and elected representatives generates knowledge, ideas, and changes in participants’ approaches to children’s participation in municipalities’ decision‐making processes; content analysis, development, and evaluation of the meetings by participants provide insight into the value of a learning community established as a tool to innovate child participation, build professional capacity towards this goal, and strengthen the work of local administrations in the field of citizenship.
Keywords: children and adolescents; citizen action; experience; inclusion; municipality; participation
© Ana M. Novella Cámara, Ferran Crespo i Torres, Héctor Pose Porto. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.