Children and young people's participation: practice examples

Case studies of organisations who have engaged with children and young people.

Rights cafes

In the 2018-19 Programme for Government , the Scottish Government committed to producing an ambitious 3 year programme to raise awareness of children’s rights across all sectors of Scottish society. This  would be developed through co-production with children,   young people and stakeholders. This was action one of the four Actions in the Progressing the Human Rights of Children in Scotland 2018-21 Action Plan. 

In April 2019, 5 Rights Cafe events were held in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Stirling and Dundee. 180 children, young people and professionals attended.  The participants varied in age from 7 to 70, along with young people who had additional support needs.

The aim of the Rights Cafe was to gather views on what the content of the raising awareness of children’s rights programme  should contain.

An unConference or Open Space approach was taken to deliver the Rights Café event.  This approach gave the participants the power to set the agenda under a central theme.  At the start of the event participants were presented with an open and empty agenda.  The facilitators and guest speakers (at least one young person) provided a series of thought provoking lightening presentations.  It was then over to the participants to identify discussion topics.  Once complete, participants voted on the topics they wanted to discuss. Those with the highest number of votes were allocated a space in the agenda.  Those not chosen were either grouped with a similar topic or placed in reserve at the open topic group.  The key to this approach was that participants were not bound by their first choice. At any time they could move to another group, have some discussion time (Fire side chat) with the facilitators or go and make notes on the topics at the open topic group.

The discussions were facilitated by the participants in the hope everyone would be included.  In addition to this, those who wanted to have the discussion on a one to one basis were provided with space and resources to do so. 

Feedback was gathered during the event and through an online survey.  This feedback highlighted parents/carers as a group where gaps in awareness may exist. Also, for children’s rights to be truly embedded a culture change needed to take place across Scotland.  This feedback has informed the development of the next phase of the programme. In addition to this several participants have been in touch asking for guidance on how to run an unConference in their area.


We aim to review and update this information every year so that the examples are kept up-to-date.

If you have a practice example that you would like us to consider to include, please email the details to:

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