On 11 April 2018, we were honoured to participate in the Global Child Forum’s annual Summit in Stockholm, an event that brings together a global community of leaders from business, civil society, academia and government to fast-track business action and partnerships to achieve a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable world for our children.
We’ve made young people the focus of our global philanthropic efforts and our work has recently been the focus of a Deep Dive on Corporate programming by the Global Child Forum, as well as an example called out in their recent Best Practice and Guidance document on children’s rights.
We were invited to explore this question of children’s rights further by showcasing our Young Health Programme as a case study in one of the Forum’s Action Labs: Speaking Up: Young People’s Participation in Decision Making.
The Action Lab is described as follows: Children and young people around the world are often relegated to the side-lines and excluded from having a say in decisions that will affect them. One of the key elements of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is children's right to participate in decisions that affect them. In recent years, the importance of children and young people’s participation in civil society has been increasingly recognised. Children are critical thinkers, change makers, communicators, innovators and future leaders. However, children and young people’s participation in business decision-making is not as well articulated - yet business impacts children in many ways.
Through our case study, we shared the work we do with our partner, Plan International UK, to train young people to be advocates for their own health and wellbeing and to participate at the community, municipal or state level in health dialogue and policy and programme development. We also enable young people to conduct score carding of local health services in India and Brazil, where they can assess the accessibility of a health service to a young person and find areas for improvement.
In Canada, we supported a youth-led project on Health Rights and Responsibilities that identified a glaring gap in the knowledge of Canadian youth about their health rights and how to exercise them. This led to the development of an academic report, website - Youth Health Rights - and letter writing awareness campaign to drive positive change.
While we are thrilled to share what we have learned through YHP, we also know there is a lot more we can learn from the many other participants at the Forum and we look forward to continuing the dialogue as we continue our commitment towards adolescent health.