What Kind of Europe do Children Want?

What Kind of Europe do Children Want?

Anna, Member of Eurochild Children’s Council

The Play Blog is normally a place for us to share expert views on the importance and impact of play in children’s lives. As regular readers know, the UN recognises every child’s right to play, but this is one right amongst many that contribute to children leading happy and fulfilled lives. Policy makers have an important role in protecting these rights by thinking about how their decisions will affect children. However, to help children fully exercise their rights it’s important that their voices are included in the decision making process itself, including when it comes to the provision of adequate time and space to play.

Recently, Eurochild and UNICEF have joined together to do just this. They have launched a public survey that asks what kind of Europe children want. We’ve invited Eurochild Children’s Council member, 15-year-old Anna from Greece, to let readers know why it is so important for children to make their voices heard about what the Europe they want looks like.

I am one of the few children who are lucky enough to be able to share their opinion and feel that the adults are actually listening. Why? Because I’m a part of the Eurochild Children’s Council (ECC).

Eurochild is a network of organisations and individuals working in and across Europe to promote the rights and well-being of children in policy and practice through advocacy, membership exchange and research. Their vision is of a society where children and young people grow up happy, healthy and confident and respected as individuals in their own right.

They created a group of 12 children, the ECC, so that children can work with adults on matters that concern us. Also, so that they hear our voices and opinions. We believe that since we are working for children, we should be working with children.

Eurochild, together with UNICEF created the Europe Kids Want survey, so that all children and young people from around Europe are able to share their opinions, like me. It is important that all of us feel and know that we have a voice and that we deserve to be heard. With the survey, other children can tell us what needs to change in order for Eurochild and the Eurochild Children’s Council to advocate for their needs better.

So, if you are a child or a young person, please take 10 minutes off your day to answer the survey. You have a voice, so please use it to help make Europe a better place for all of us. If you are an adult, please help by sharing this survey and by encouraging children and young people to participate. Every voice of every child that participates in this survey counts and matters.

Help make a difference.

Why is the survey important?
The survey is very important, because it is time for us, children and young people, to talk about our hopes and dreams for our lives. We are the future, so we should have a part in creating our future and make Europe, the Europe we want. It is a safe place for us to talk about what needs to change and it is completely anonymous.

Why is it important for children to participate?
Since we are trying to make a better future and a better Europe for all children, we believe that we should work with the children. By participating in the survey, children can tell us what needs to change in order for Eurochild and the ECC to advocate their needs better. Every child has a voice that needs to be heard and paid attention to. Our opinion matters and we need to use our voice to help make a better future for all the children around Europe.

What are the important questions to ask children?
It is important that we are asked about our lives and what needs to be improved. We will have a chance to talk about school and our quality of life in general. Who better to talk about children’s lives than us, children?

What was the Eurochild Children’s Council’s involvement in the survey?
Eurochild and UNICEF collaborated to create the survey and we, the Eurochild Children’s Council, were asked to give feedback to it. It was very interesting to see how much we differ and think differently from adults. We made sure that the survey is simple, clear and easy to understand for children.

How can we get more children to participate as well?
If we all share the survey with as many children as possible that is the best way. Children should not be forced to participate, it is their choice. For example, I reached out to the headmaster of my school and asked him if it is possible to share the survey with all the children that attend the school. I wrote a few words explaining what the survey is about and then it was sent out to the school.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this,

About the survey

The Europe Kids Want Survey is an online survey launched by Eurochild and UNICEF in June. The survey has been developed by children’s rights experts and tested with focus groups of children themselves. It asks children about their life at school and home, including whether they have the means to enjoy activities like sports, theatre or music. The survey is anonymous and available in over 25 languages. It is open to children of all ages until 21 September. Results of the survey will be shared on Universal Children’s Day on 20th November.

Anna is 15 years old and she comes from Greece. She is a member of the Eurochild Children’s Council, a group of 12 children from 10 different countries (inside and outside the EU) that work together to make sure that the voices of children are heard. They have two meetings in person every year, where they train to develop skills of members such as advocacy, facilitating and external representation skills.

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