Listening to Smaller Voices: Children in an Environment of Change

The understanding of children’s roles in the household, how workloads are shared and how they alter over time and with different socio-economic and environmental conditions is crucial for development. Gender issues are important, and an understanding of both gender and children should be built into projects and policy. Children’s work has not often been considered in planning development initiatives. The first section provides a background to this before moving onto the background to the fieldwork conducted in Nepal and a description of the area. Environmental issues and their effects on children are illustrated using flow diagrams, maps and historical analysis.

The role of children is highlighted in a framework of caste/ ethnicity, poverty and gender which affects control over resources and decisions. Different perceptions are examined using seasonal calenders, activity matrices and mobility diagrams. Throughout the study participatory methods were used, in addition to a basic questionnaire, and the methodology is highlighted in the appendix. The report concludes with six “steps forward”, providing practical leads for policy and action. It is stressed that this report is not an end in itself but rather a first step towards development in which children are given a voice.