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Child and Youth Participation in Protracted Refugee Situations

Julie Guyot
Children, Youth and Environments
Vol. 17, No. 3, Pushing the Boundaries: Critical International Perspectives on Child and Youth Participation - Focus on the Middle East and North Africa and Africa (2007), pp. 159-178
Published by: University of Cincinnati
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.17.3.0159
Page Count: 20
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Child and Youth Participation in Protracted Refugee Situations
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Abstract

Set in opposition to each other, two options—camps versus local integration—have dominated the discourse surrounding refugee populations in Africa. An alternative approach proposed in this paper calls for the active participation of children and youth as a valued element of decision-making bodies in situations of encampment. This position is based on the fundamental belief that when children and youth participate, they change the world around them. Recognizing and building upon the ways in which young people already share family burdens and serve a vital role in information transfer between the home and NGO coordination may help to bring about social stability in a camp setting. Fractured traditional roles and channels of authority may provide an opportunity to introduce youth capacities in a manner that knits together communities across generations. This paper will explore opportunities to mainstream child participation as it highlights the capacity of young people to exercise their rights to the benefit of the larger community.

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