STEP 1 – BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE
Children have the right to express their opinion and to participate in decision-making
Children have an opinion on many things and not least on their immediate surroundings. What are they happy about and what would they like to change? Children gain greater self-esteem when they experience that they have an influence on their own lives. At the same time, adults can learn from listening to children. Denmark agreed in 1991 to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and it gives children the right to express their opinion and makes it the duty of adults to listen. At the same time, it gives children the right to decide, when it concerns their own lives. Read more about the Children's Convention here.
The operating function is the foundation for Kids Democracy, and it just makes so much sense to involve children in decisions about the neighborhood.
Søren Lillevang, Property Manager, AKB Ved Milestedet, Rødovre
Kinds Democracy in social housing areas
Kids Democracy can contribute to giving children influence over their own lives where they live and to achieve more well-functioning social housing areas. Experiences with Kids Democracy show that children want to be heard, involved and play an active role in their housing department.
Kids Democracy can have many different positive effects for both children, adults and residential areas. This is everything from healthy communities, to the prevention of crime and vandalism, greater job satisfaction for the operating staff and the development of resident democracy.
There are a number of characteristics of Kids Democracy that can be used as a starting point when working with Kids Democracy in social housing departments. The purpose of the characteristics is
to ensure that Kids Democracy lives up to a certain democratic standard in relation to giving children influence and real co-determination in the housing area.
At the same time, there are ethical aspects in virtually all the considerations you will make when you work with children. Many of the ethical considerations come naturally when working with Kids Democracy. You can in addition, also consider preparing some ethical considerations for your own housing department's Kids Democracy.
At the same time, there is legislation you must be aware of when working with Kids Democracy. For example obtaining criminal records of the responsible adults in the Kids Democracy and various parental permissions.
Examples of what children can help decide
Under the next steps, you can find knowledge of how to collaborate with others on Kids Democracy, recruit children and host various activities involving children. There are checklists, templates and videos that all can be used in the work with Kids Democracy.
STEP 2 – COLLABORATE
The Kids Democracy is part of the residents' democracy in the housing department. Kids Democracy and the housing department board are therefore working together to make the residential area an even better place to live. At the same time, Kids Democracy can also collaborate with other local partners in and outside the housing area. The collaboration partners can contribute with both professional knowledge, planning and be an 'extra pair of hands' in Kids Democracy. You can for example collaborate with the local school, club, recreational activity, police, fire service or a private company.
The parents of Kid Democrats are also an important collaboration partner, just as the other residents can be.
When you get started with Kids Democracy, it might be a good idea to send information around to all residents so that they know there is Kids Democracy in the housing department
You can also assign a patron to the Kids Democracy. The patron can help create awareness of, and interest in, both the Kids Democracy and the housing association. In practice, the patron can, for example, participate in selected events and take part in interviews in connection with these events.
How do you collaborate with the neighborhood board?
How can you collaborate with local partners?
CASES – HOME VIDEOS ABOUT COLLABORATION
Collaboration between fire inspector Flemming Bjerring from Slagelse Brand og Redning and Håndværkerparken on the establishment of a bonfire pit in Håndværkerparken
Collaboration between Hendriksholm Skole and AKB Ved Milestedet on a joint excursion to the Danish parliament for Kid Democrats and two school classes
Collaboration between Elmelunden's housing association board and Kids Democracy on a photo safari in the residential area
STEP 3 – RECRUITMENT
There are different methods for recruiting Kid Democrats, and it can be a good idea to combine several methods to reach as many children as possible. This could be, for example, handing out information flyers, inviting people to an information meeting and knocking on doors to talk about Kids Democracy.
The time you spend recruiting children is well spent. Experience shows that once the children are recruited, they stay in the Kids Democracy.
How do you recruit Kid Democrats?
STEP 4 – CHILD INVOLVEMENT
There are various activities and working methods you can use when you have to involve the Kid Democrats in how the housing area can be made even better. The activities all contribute to giving the children a voice in the residential areas. It can be a good idea to vary activities and ways of working, as children are different and have different interests, needs and skills.
There are four overall child engagement activities and a large number of different forms of work-methods under the individual activities, e.g. joint discussions, group work, workshops and "walk and talk".
Photo and video safari
Meeting with decision maker
How do you host a Kids Meeting?
How do you host a photo safari?
7 good tips for involving children in activities
Talk to the parents of the Kid Democrats about Kids Democracy and obtain the necessary permissions
Collaborate with the housing association board on activities in Kids Democracy
Involve local actors for professional and practical support, this could for example be the school during an excursion or the fire service when setting up a bonfire pit
Focus on building relationships both between the children and between children and adults. Create space for fun and coziness – it strengthens the community
Vary between different activities and ways of working, as children have different needs and resources. In general, avoid too many adult words and long adult monologues
Provide snacks and drinks, it helps the good mood, and the children may need it in the afternoon
Evaluate via informal conversation to get an impression of the children's experience of the activity
Kids Democracy ambassadors
Experienced Kid Democrats can be appointed as "Kids Democracy Ambassadors". They can act as role models both inside and outside the neighborhood. In the neighborhood, they can pass on their experiences to new Kid Democrats and thereby contribute to ensuring a possible generational change in Kids Democracy. They can also help the operating staff carry out the activities of Kids Democracy.
Outside the neighborhood, they can spread knowledge about Kids Democracy by, for example, giving presentations at conferences. The role of Kids Democracy Ambassadors can also help to retain experienced Kid Democrats in Kids Democracy.
When the children are appointed as Kid Democracy Ambassadors, they experience that they can contribute something special.
It is an important pat on the back.
Søren Lillevang, Property Manager, AKB Ved Milestedet, Rødovre