For the sake of children

Business Should Listen to Children for the Sake of Children
Smiling boy from Bangladesh
Photo: 
GMB Akash/Panos Pictures

Businesses committed to respecting and supporting children’s rights must seriously consider the views of children. Such consideration can yield several positive benefits not only for the child, but also for the family, the community, and for the business too.

Participation in decision-making processes, for example, can help raise children’s confidence, nurture their reasoning capabilities, and develop a respect for and understanding of others. These attributes serve the community and the businesses operating therein. Participation will also improve the process itself, producing better decisions and results for everyone.

Do not take advantage of us, we ask you to be responsible. Do not support us because you feel pity for us; instead support us because we deserve it. We purchase your products and services, but we ask you to invest in our development. We do not want gifts; we want you to be responsible. Young person in Peru

Children Influencing Decisions

Children know a lot about their own lives. This important information is vital to all decisions that will affect the lives of children. When provided an opportunity, children have shown that they can positively contribute to decisions affecting them. Around the world, children have already constructively influenced laws, policies, services, and important decisions and decision-making processes. Children have been advocates, campaigners and contributors to various important social, political and economic discussions at different levels of government. They have also been meaningfully involved in programme and project development, education and awareness-raising initiatives, and community-building efforts. The input of children has strengthened solutions.

[Business] should also listen to the children who work in the company and allow them to give their views on how to ensure their own safety at work. 15 year-old girl in Senegal

Protection

Empowered children are also more aware and informed, and therefore better protected against violence, exploitation, abuse, disease, and a variety of other issues. This empowerment allows children to challenge dangerous situations and to seek appropriate support when required. Moreover, listening to children will help to expose incidents of violence, exploitation and abuse.

My expectations from the company is that they should create opportunity for work and that should be safe and non-hazardous. 13 year-old girl in Bangladesh

Civic Responsibility

Participation also contributes to a culture of respect and promotes civic engagement and active citizenship. Children who have gained the confidence of working and negotiating with others, and who have been active in children’s groups, NGOs and other organizations, are likely to have a strong sense of civic responsibility and a sound understanding of democracy. These children will therefore be more engaged in their own communities and will also be more likely to hold governments and other duty-bearers to account. These sorts of informed and engaged citizens will add to a strong and healthy community, which is truly good for business.

…not just listen or read what we say, but take it into account. Girl in Costa Rica