On September 14th and 15th 2021, the Center for Learning and Childhood Development and its partners assembled stakeholders with a strategic goal of charting a roadmap for integrating children in all national and local-level policies.
The two-day conference combined short presentations by experts, with structured breakout sessions aimed to provoke, persuade and prepare stakeholders to integrate children in all policies and SDG plans by 2030.
The highlight of the conference was that whatever we do for children would achieve the inverse of its goal, if children’s inputs were not considered.
The conference was structured to evoke thought-provoking discussions, which allowed participants to express their opinions in a healthy environment. Small breakout sessions were hosted on Day 1 where participants discussed pre-prepared questions. The Kegan and Lahey’s (2009) immunity to change framework was used to guide the discussion process on Day 2 of the conference. This framework, called an x-ray, allows organizations to explicitly state their commitment to a cause (such as placing children at the center of their work). The organization then examines all the things they do (or fail to do) that go against the commitment, the assumptions behind those actions, and evidence in support or against the assumptions. By doing this exercise, the participants were able to identify and discuss the critical challenges, assumptions, and actions that may impede the creation and implementation of child-specific plans across their ministries.
The children who attended the conference also participated in the immunity to change exercise, expressing their positions on Ghana’s commitment to including children’s views in local and national-level decision-making.
According to the children, their inability to vote is a major reason why their views and opinions are not considered in decision-making. There is no political gain for leaders when they invest in children hence their reluctance to prioritize them.
One hundred and Eighty (180) people registered for the conference of which about 140 attended – including 28 children between the ages of 5-16 years.
At the end of the conference, participants were able to identify gaps and opportunities in sector-specific plans for children and create guidelines and bold initiatives to include children in all policies and SDG plans by 2030.