Supporting the Development of Children’s Groups and Networks in Afghanistan: Reflections on Practice and Possibilities

This article draws upon participatory field work experience with girls and boys in Afghanistan to highlight possibilities, to challenge misconceptions, and to reflect upon constraints and challenges for children’s participation. It focuses on practice developments facilitated by Save the Children and partners between Autumn 2002 and Summer 2004, and draws upon reflections and assessments from girls and boys who were involved in children’s groups and networks during that time. The article begins by describing the context of work in Afghanistan with attention to issues of culture, conflict and change before outlining the nature of the child participation strategy and activities. The article then moves on to explore three key themes (“the 3 P’s”) that are critical for children’s participation, namely: preparation, power and partnerships. Analysis under these thematic areas draws out key lessons for wider debate and participation practice.