This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by sukanya sarkar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Excluding Children From Decision Making Process Has Detrimental Effects On Their Growth, Here’s How!

More from sukanya sarkar

By Sukanya Sarkar:

“Can you hear me? My rights are being ignored”. Yes, exactly! This is what the children of our society are constantly saying to our Political Parties. The political parties, with a group of adult members, are trying their level best to formulate policies that are always being criticized no matter what. But what the political parties fail to understand is that to create a harmonious democracy, one needs the opinion of the present stakeholders i.e. the children of the society. It is these children who in future will become the leaders. The vast majority of “decision making” and “policy making” is done without taking the views of the children or the young people into consideration. Democracy, or an excellent governance, can be called so only when the opinion of citizens are taken, and it involves the children too.

teen girls

There is powerful evidence showing how the political parties comprising of adults with their prevailing attitude of “knowing it all” and for the “best interest” of the children fail to recognize their rights. Many of these failures have resulted from the refusal to listen to the voices of the children. The people in power over the children can exploit and abuse that power to the detriment of children’s well-being. Children’s interests are frequently disregarded in public policy sphere in favor of more powerful interest groups. Though there has been recognition of entitlement to social and economic rights of the children with matters regarding education, healthcare, adequate standard of living but still these rights are flagrantly violated in most parts of the world.

United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), has recognized that participation is a right of all children and young people. It says , “All children have a right to express their views and to have them taken into account in all matters that affect them.” The right to children participaton in policy making processes is also supported by a number of UN General Assembly Resolutions. But still the children participation in these processes are marginal. The question is – why? Child participation continues to face institutionalized prejudice in many quarters that see children lacking in expertise, experience, capacity or drive. Despite the increase in the number of mechanisms to involve child participation, the policy makers continue to undermine their role on the basis of these perceptions.

What Is The Added Value Of Child Participation In Policy Making — And How?

Children possess knowledge and opinions about life and experiences that may vary from those ascribed by the policy makers. The policy makers often try to assume a kind of attitude that they know exactly what the children are feeling, thereby ignoring or neglecting their opinions on matters that affect them the most. An interesting example depicting the contrast of assumption of the policy makers and the reality of children’s lives was highlighted in a project undertaken with 4-5 year olds in a poor district of London. The children were asked to produce a painting showing the present environment that they lived in and the kind of changes they preferred in their environment. The researchers were astonished when they found that the children objected to the local council providing play areas with grass, but they wanted concrete areas because grass made it impossible for them to see broken glass, dog excrement and the discarded needles used by drug addicts.

In the context of parliamentary democracy, participation of children does not only mean direct involvement of children in policy making but also the reciprocal role of the policy makers to include the children’s voices, concerns and interests even when they are not present during policy making. In another incident in Brazil in 2009, three school children had presented a proposal to a plenary session of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies against the use of flatbed trucks for school transport. Their action made the Congressmen aware of the dangers posed by the truck, and one in particular promised to sponsor the proposal which was ultimately approved by the Congress. Therefore, it proves that even if policy makers give their argument that age and lack of experience capacity of children enable them to ignore their opinions, these explicit examples do all the talking.

But now the question might arise that how would the policy makers reach out to the children for their opinion? In the 21st century, one must not forget the advancements in Information And Communication Technology (ICT). This being the most children friendly approach towards accessibility of opinion from the young people. Also NGO’s, appointing of child representatives and mainstream media can be an excellent forum for children to voice their opinion and help in policy making.

Consequences Of Not Involving Children In Policy Making

The alienation of children has some serious developmental consequences in policy making. With the children not being consulted in policy making, their needs are ignored and are not sufficiently addressed. The exclusion of children from policy making process, whether deliberate or unintentional, might lead to some serious rupture in the social fabric whereby the children might be lead to serious crimes and violence.

So the “wise” policy makers, instead of thinking of the children as homogeneous group lacking knowledge and experience can now rack up their brains and use the potential of the children – the future leaders of our society. Otherwise, with their opinion ignored and neglected, criminal activities will increase in leaps and bounds and the policy makers will have no time to re-consider the opinions of the children.

You must be to comment.

More from sukanya sarkar

Similar Posts

By Shahid Imran

By Ritwik Trivedi

By shakeel ahmad

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below