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A girl rise to speak at the Children's Congress in Chennai, India. (Source: Kindernothilfe)

Children need to have a say in issues that concern them

Children and young people have the right to be heard and become involved in issues that concern them. These participatory rights, along with the rights of protection and development, form the third of the three main pillars of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Likewise, children and young people are increasingly involved in the planning and design of projects and programmes supported by Kindernothilfe. It is essential here that young people learn about their rights and are empowered to stand up for them. In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for example, Kindernothilfe helps make it possible for girls and boys to attend school and have a children's parliament to voice their concerns. In a number of states in northern Brazil, the Institute of Socio-Economic Studies (INESC) is training young people to be monitors. They learn how to read and understand budget plans and are taught how to participate in budget debates at a local level and create their own projects.

Working from Germany, as members of an international coalition, we campaign so children have an opportunity to lodge complaints when their rights are violated. Thanks to the individual right of petition, they have the possibility of petitioning the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child when their rights have been infringed upon.