Currently, I am focusing on:
a) identifying child participation challenges and opportunities especially in post-communist societies with a focus on the Western Balkans;
b) examining the parent-child and official-child power dynamics involved in child participation in local government decision making; and
c) providing an analysis of the factors closely related to the dynamics of the current child participation in theory and practice.
All the findings will be reviewed in light of theories about:
1) the relation between post-dictatorial states and their citizens;
2) challenges of democratic inclusion in post-communist societies;
3) Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC);
4) Theories about Local Governance and Civic Engagement; and
5) Sustainable Development Goals that are closely connected to strengthening the civil society.
"Knocking on the door of decision making - children's participation in Albania's local government decision making" was the title of one of my most recent conference presentations at the "Child in the City" Seminar "How to make children's rights mainstream in local policy planning?" The presentation focused on how children themselves conceptualise their participation in local government decision-making processes as well as how they articulate both the challenges and opportunities in engaging with the local authorities as present and future partners. Its content was based on my qualitative study, which involved children aged 13-18 who are members of the grass-roots children's rights organisations established in collaboration with Save the Children and World Vision. Its findings were reviewed in the framework of Laura Lundy's model of children's participation.
Such a model offers a conceptualisation of Article 12 of the UNCRC focusing on four key concepts such as: space (children must be given the opportunity to express a view), voice (children must be facilitated to express their views), audience (the view must be listened to) and influence (the view must be acted upon, as appropriate).
Speakers - Child in the City International Seminar.