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Challenge / Goal

This project intends to provide municipalities with qualified outputs toward establishing a medium and long-term children strategy and engagement program, with a focus on increasing the active participation of children in their city's decision and policy-making processes. A distinctive feature of the project is it is structured such that children are empowered to freely share their voices and determine their own agendas. This underlines the basic approach of the effort as being a bottom-up “with children” approach, in contrast to a top-down “for children” approach. This project also intends to contribute to the active involvement of local government in the process and thus be a model for future local government practices.


This effort has involved the following key activities:

  • Concept, Content and Method Identification: Thoroughly outline the project's overarching concept, including its core content and the methodologies employed to achieve its objectives. This involves defining the project's scope, goals and the approaches utilised to engage children effectively in decision-making processes regarding their city's development.
  • Channels for Engaging Children: Explore diverse and accessible channels to engage children of varying ages and backgrounds effectively. This may include utilising social media platforms, organising community events, collaborating with schools and youth organisations and leveraging innovative technologies to ensure broad and inclusive participation.
  • Preparation of Implementation and Communication Materials: Develop comprehensive implementation and communication materials tailored to different stakeholders, including children, parents, educators, community leaders and municipal officials. These materials should be accessible, engaging and informative, providing clear guidance on how individuals can contribute to and benefit from the project.
  • Identification of Potential Partners: Conduct thorough research to identify potential partners from various sectors, including government agencies, non-profit organisations, academic institutions and private businesses. Establish meaningful partnerships through proactive outreach, collaboration agreements and joint planning sessions to maximise resources and expertise.
  • Partner and Educator Education Sessions: Organise specialised sessions and workshops to educate project partners, educators and other stakeholders about the project's objectives, methodologies and expected outcomes. Provide training on child-friendly communication techniques, facilitation skills and ethical considerations to ensure meaningful and respectful engagement with children. 
  • Organisation of Children's Participation: Organising children's participation involved implementing a multifaceted approach, including interactive workshops, creative activities and open space "stations" strategically located throughout the city. This initiative resulted in the active engagement of 6,601 children, encouraging them to express their ideas, concerns and aspirations in a safe and supportive environment, thereby fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment. 
  • Data Collection and Analysis: Establish robust mechanisms for data collection, including workshops, open space actvities/stations, structured meetings with municipality representatives and participatory mapping exercises, all aimed toward capturing the diverse perspectives and experiences of children. Analyse the collected data using qualitative and quantitative methods to identify key trends, challenges and opportunities for informed decision-making.
  • Reporting: Prepare comprehensive reports documenting the project's progress, achievements and lessons learned.  Present findings and recommendations to project stakeholders through accessible formats, such as presentations, infographics and publishing the report as hardcopy and on-line to foster transparency and accountability.              
  • Structured Meetings Between Children and Municipality Representatives: Facilitate structured meetings and dialogues between children and relevant municipality representatives, including elected officials, policymakers and urban planners. Create inclusive spaces for meaningful exchanges, where children can voice their perspectives, advocate for their needs and co-create solutions with decision-makers to address pressing issues facing their communities.

Citizen participation

Engagement intitiatives included workshops at City Council premises implemented by educators of cocukistanbul, as well as workshops by partner NGOs, schools and municipality departments that were implemented by educators who were trained by cocukistanbul. Additionally, city wide open space "stations" for drop-in participation of children used the same materials as used in workshops and supervised by trained educators. A final component of the engagement efforts included a structured series of meetings between groups of children and city municipality representatives.


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Time period

Planning time: Less than 6 months

Implementation time: 1 to 2 years


Informal Education-cocukistanbul

Service providers

Informal Education - cocukistanbul (NGO), Istanbul City Council, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

End users

Municipalities, policy makers, academia

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