Agueda, Child Friendly City
This experience was presented as candidate for the IOPD Award for Best Practices in Citizen Participation 2015.
The participation of children and young people, despite being under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is enshrined rarely and this social group remains "invisible" in decision-making on issues of their interest.
In Agueda, groups of children decided to go outside, observed the conditions of the street / city and found that the places that are unique to children are not adapted to them. Then they addressed to the local politicians (in this case, to the Mayor of Agueda) and presented their views to change the territory in order to make the city more friendly to youth. This spontaneous action, caused that the Local Government realize that children / young people are rarely involved, however, their feedback is extremely useful and valid, as they have a different perspective, in relation to adults, their problems and difficulties .
After this, the council decided that it would be desirable to create listening mechanisms to children and youth of the region on issues that concern them. It is creates, "Agueda - Child Friendly City". A project to promote listening to children:
- The identification of strong and weak points of the territory through action "(re) Mapping Agueda"
- Identifying solutions to the problems identified in the previous action, the "Laboratories of Ideas" activity;
- To decide which solutions will be developed by a vote of ideas for major options Budget and Plan;
- Participation in local politics through the creation of the Young Municipal Assembly (structure formed by the youth of the region, which will discuss topics relevant to young people at local level, and present the results to the City Council).
A project that seeks to promote local development through citizen participation of children and young people of the region and develop skills for our children and young people being more participatory and active.
This project of active listening of children and young people is still in its first steps. But since, there are very important and relevant conclusion to the City, such:
- The great interest from schools and politicians in the implementation of the Municipal Assembly of Youth;
- Continuation of the actions in building a child friendly Agueda, by some groups of children and youth, and you can see through the identification of "child-friendly shops";
- The development of a design of a radio for children.
As we noted above, this is a project under construction. However the interest and motivation among the groups involved makes us believe that this is a project that may lead to a change in attitude and active citizenship by our children and youth.