Involving children in community planning: the case of Asunafo South District

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The involvement of children in development activities, including planning, is still a new approach that slowly appears worldwide with the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. World experiences have demonstrated that the involvement of children have many advantages, such as the promotion of citizenship skills among children, the development of accurate information about children’s felt problems and needs, the development of children’s self-esteem and confidence, among others. However, in the context of Ghana, children’s involvement in decision making or in any development activities inside of their communities or the country in general has not been much encouraged, due to different reasons. This research examines the feasibility to involve children in community planning in Asunafo South District, through an attempt of initiating its concrete practice. Also, the study aims to compare the results of children’s views with adults’ and to suggest possible ways to facilitate their participation. Through the field results, the research reveals interesting information from the children that can be used in the planning process of the district, in terms of the childrens assessment of the community problems and of their felt problems and needs. The issues of gender differences and rural/urban disparities are also part of the results, giving the chance to the corresponding institutions to take over and work on the problems detected. The main areas for recommendations to facilitate children’s participation in community development process are under education and CBOs encouragement. These two areas can be the pivots for future extension of children’s involvement in the decision-making processes in the context of Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Development Planning and Management, 2005