In this activity participants will explore where decisions are made that affect our everyday lives? For instance decisions that affect our homes, schools, groups and wider society? Looking at how accessible for young people these decision making spaces are is a great way to start conversations and get thinking about what things could and/or should change in the future to make this possible.
Where are decisions made?
Firstly, start to think about all the places in your life where decisions are made that affect you. To get your ideas together you could choose to make a list, spider diagram or your own way of noting down your ideas.
Some examples of places where decisions are made could include:
- Your school
- The head teacher’s office
- local council buildings
- Your home
- Houses of Parliament
- Government buildings
What to do
Once you have your ideas, get a piece of paper and divide it in half with a straight line
Choose one place from your list that stands out for you. Which decisions are made in this space that affect your life? On one side of your paper, write or draw the place you have chosen.
Next, think about how friendly this space is to children and young people? Is it easy for them to get to and get into the space? Can they speak to the person or people making decisions and voice an opinion? Are they heard and taken into consideration when decisions are being made? Are your rights as a child (and human) being respected in this space? Underneath or around the name of the space write (or draw) any barriers that young people and children may face which prevent them being included in decision-making that affects their life or the lives of their peers.
On the other half of the paper, write or draw what changes you would make the chosen place. For example, what would make the space more friendly, inviting and accessible to children and young people? Is there anything that might young people of your age feel that their opinions were heard, and their rights are being respected? What actions could those who make the decisions in that space take to make it more accessible for young people? Is there something that could be changed in or around the space itself?
Repeat the activity with other spaces on your original list. Do you notice any common themes of barriers faced by children and young people? Are all spaces different?
Finally, looking back at all your analyses, are there any spaces where you feel fully part of the decision making process?
Take it Further
Could you write a letter or get in touch with some of the spaces you have analysed and tell them your ideas about how they could be more accessible for young people? You could also share this information with your friends and ask where they feel the barriers are? If others feel the same as you, you could write a letter and take action together.
If you feel encouraged to take more social action around making sure Children’s Rights are recognised in all spaces check out String of Rights to display articles from the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child to remind others.