Section A

Group participation/social participation: what is it?

Purpose of exercise

The purpose of the following exercise is for participants to begin to think about what social participation is, its underlying principles and to identify the links with children’s participation rights as defined in the UNCRC. 


  • Divide people into groups of 2-3
  • Invite participants to identify their understanding of group/social participation and to list any examples
  • Invite participants to identify core principles and their alignment to UNCRC
  • Bring the group back together and share definitions
  • The facilitator adds keywords to a flip chart/word cloud and shares the group understanding
  • The facilitator provides participants with the Information sheet on social-group participation and asks them to read it
  • By the end of the exercise, participants will have a clear idea as to what group participation/social participation is and where it comes from.

Section B

Social/group participation: the underpinning processes and skills

Purpose of exercise

The purpose of this exercise is for participants to identify the processes and skills that underpin social participation projects and to identify the links to children’s participation rights as defined in the UNCRC. 


  • The facilitator invites people to get back into their groups of 2-3
  • Each group will be asked to consider how and in what ways they would work with a group of children on a proposal to change an aspect of a service.
  • Using three headings: stages in the process; challenges/opportunities with each stage; skills required at each stage, the groups are asked to identity the stages in the process and the skills required. See a completed template to help the facilitator guide the discussion.

The facilitator beings the group together to share their ideas. At the end of this exercise the facilitator asks each participant to identity one thing they can do differently in their organisation or that their organisation can do differently.

Section C

Applying group/social participation in practice

Purpose of exercise

The purpose of this exercise is for participants to hear about some successful social participation projects.

The facilitator will divide the group into smaller groups (up to 4 in each group) and invite group members to view a selection of the resources in the right column which highlight successful group/ social participation projects in various countries.


The facilitator invites participants to get into four groups

Each of the four groups will view the material from one country keep a note of the processes and skills involved. Questions that participants might wish to consider include:

  • How did the social participation begin? What happened? And then what happened next and so on
  • How were children given a voice in a group context? What skills were needed?
  • How long does the process take?
  • Was the wider community (parents and community) involved? How?
  • What helps make a proposal successful?
  • What obstacles prevent social participation being successful?
  • What works? What tools/methods are used/ are helpful?
  • If we were to ask the child what made a difference regarding their participation rights, what would they say now and in the longer term?
  • The facilitator brings participants together and asks them to share their feedback.

Section D

Ending the session

 The facilitator brings the group together and asks the group to reflect on:

  • One new thing they found inspiring
  • One new thing they will do differently in practice
  • One new thing they will ask their team, organisation to consider in terms of policy/practice changes

Videos in English or with English subtitles

Videos in Spanish and Dutch with English subtitles

Videos in Spanish

Podcast transcript: Challenges of Participation

Top photo Ron Lach