ENYA & ENOC participation projects

Children’s right to be heard and to participate, as enshrined in the Article 12 of the UNCRC, has always been on the agenda of ENOC and each Ombudsperson for children.

Therefore, ENOC developed in 2010, with the support of the European Commission, the European Network of Young Advisors – ENYA - a child/young people participatory project supported by ENOC members.

Background

In 2008 ENOC issued a comparative study on the state of play of child participation projects carried out by children’s ombudsperson institutions within the European Union and beyond. In September 2009 during the Annual Conference held in Paris, dedicated on the best interests of the child new dynamics occurred between ENOC members thanks to the participation of young people from Northern Ireland, Ireland, and France.

The purpose of ENYA

The purpose of the ENYA project is to actively involve children and young people in ENOC’s annual work and to give them an opportunity to be heard at a level that exceeds their national countries, at European level. Children and Young people, as holders of rights and experts of their own lives and the environment they grow up are enabled to take part in the ENOC activities in order to share their experience, to give Ombudspersons for children a clear idea on what matters concern them and on how concretely ensure the protection and the promotion of their rights as enshrined in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. ENYA aims to ensure a meaningful and effective participation of young people, by giving them a say on selected topics. They have the opportunity to express their concerns and points of views regarding their rights, to make their proposals heard, and to participate in drawing up common recommendations.

The key actors

A majority of ENOC member institutions have created and further developed Youth Advisory Panels, Consultative Committees or other similar structures composed by children/young people. These youth bodies, acting in an advisory capacity to the Ombudsperson for children, are integrated in the general structure of Ombudsperson for children offices and have an overall understanding of their functions, activities, and challenges they face. Therefore, it was widely shared and accepted to get these young people involved in a project aiming to develop child participation in the common activities of Ombudspersons for children. Participation officers within national offices have accepted to act as “ENYA Coordinators” in order to liaise between ENYA’s operational team on one side and their youth panel members on the other. They are also encouraging their youth advisors to take an active part in the topic discussions on the ENYA Forum. Finally, some of them act as moderators on the electronic forum to keep the debates lively and to help young people build up consistent comments and proposals