We know that children have far more to offer and can do much more than adults realise. Given the right kind of support by adults, they can do things to keep themselves and other children healthy, and improve the lives of everyone in their communities.
Child to Child approaches harness the spontaneously occurring interactions that take place naturally between children. Our founders Professor Morley and Dr. Hawes recognised that these Child to Child interactions are a fundamental way through which children learn. When participating in Child to Child activities, children work together to support each other’s formal and informal learning and then use that learning as the basis for action to bring about change in their community.
Practical application of knowledge to bring about change – active learning – is a key defining feature of Child to Child. Seeing the positive change that children bring about subsequently transforms relationships with adults who recognise – sometimes for the first time – what children are capable of.
Child to Child approaches are grounded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). They are a practical way to effectively implement children’s rights to survival, protection, development and participation. The Convention’s guiding principles of inclusion, non-discrimination and the best interests of the child underpin everything we do.
Copyright-free, our approaches have spread to over 70 countries worldwide, and in particular Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Our materials are translated into over 35 languages. Each year, hundreds of thousands of children benefit from participating in Child to Child activities.
UNICEF awarded Child to Child the prestigious Maurice Pate Award for Innovation by UNICEF, describing Child to Child as a revolutionary way of enabling communities to improve their lives through children.
Why does it work?
1. It is based on a sound understanding of children
It taps into what children really can do, and want to do if given the chance. They love to learn actively, and to be given responsibility.
Only two things are essential – First, a local organisation that can create regular times for children to work on the project (perhaps in a youth club, a school, a community centre) – Second, motivated adults who are trained in how to encourage the children’s natural desire to be active.
3. The tools are provided
Child to Child provides materials that are simple to follow, with all the guidance needed – Facts for Life – to help understand cause and effect in creating healthy communities; stories to engage children, and manuals to guide the adults who will lead them: The Child-to-Child Resource Book, and Children for Health.
4. It is low cost
The local groups are there anyway. They have to be ready to adapt but they don’t have to buy in any expensive new hardware. The training is vital, and some agency has to be prepared to meet the cost – but it’s a modest one. The materials are cheap and can be copied free. The main cost is the time the adults put in – to be trained, to work with the children, to negotiate spaces for them to act.
5. It can be adapted to all situations, all cultures
It has been used successfully in almost every part of the world, and to tackle a wide variety of challenges.
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