Reflections from the Children’s Participating in Governance Project: Budget Monitoring within a Rights-Based Framework

Children growing up in a young democracy have a window of opportunity to advocate for their own rights, and engage in governance issues. Children’s participation in governance ensures that their perspectives, experiences and priorities inform, inter alia, economic policy and budget allocations. This was the context for the decision taken by the Children’s Budget Unit (CBU) of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) to initiate a budget monitoring project for children in 2004. The project was entitled Budget Monitoring within a Rights-Based Framework: Children Participating in Governance (CPG).

Its objectives were:

  • To create opportunities for children in South Africa to monitor
    government budgets.
  • To improve children’s participation in, and monitoring of, budgets
    for the realisation of rights in a way that ultimately informs policy.
  • To contribute to the alignment of government budgeting with rights

This publication documents the process and lessons learnt from the Children Participating in Governance (CPG) project. The intention is to provide information to similar projects by reflecting on the experiences of both facilitators and participants. The authors make practical recommendations, and discuss key lessons learnt as well as the impact and present status of the project. This publication should be read in conjunction with the training manual for the CPG project, which gives detailed information about the methodology and activities used in the training process.