The consultations explore children’s perceptions of factors that make them feel happy and safe and those that make them unhappy and unsafe in their families and communities. It also presents the kind of change children want to see in their lives.

A workshop-based approach was used, in which children participated in a series of activities designed to enable them to share their experiences and perspectives in a fun and engaging manner.

The views of children suggest that several areas included in the existing MDGs are of significance in their lives – poverty reduction, hunger, education, gender equity, child health and environmental protection.

However, children also highlighted significant gaps in the current framework as it does not cover children’s leisure and recreational activities, eliminating child labour or their protection and care. Children repeatedly highlighted the importance of safe, caring family environments and of being free from violence. Clean and regular water supply, sanitation and hygiene were listed by the children as vital to their well-being.

Although there is much commonality in the perspectives of different children, views do vary by age, gender and living situation, suggesting that to truly understand children’s views, a wide range of children must be consulted. This includes highly vulnerable groups who are often excluded for being too hard to reach.

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