The National Child Strategy preparations were carried out online
“It was important that even in exceptional times, it was possible to implement inclusion through online methods. We received very useful and important information to support the preparation of the Child Strategy, ”says Johanna Laisaari, Secretary-General of the National Child Strategy.
The National Child Strategy as a guarantee of the realization of children’s rights
This is the first time that a National Child Strategy is being prepared in Finland. The goal of the UN strategy based on the Rights of the Child is to ensure that children’s rights are fully implemented in Finland. The guiding principle of the strategy is a child- and family-friendly Finland.
“Increasing the inclusion of children and young people has been a key goal of the Child Strategy. The strategy has been prepared to take into account the voices and opinions of children and young people. In Finland, more could be done to involve children, ”says Johanna Laisaari, Secretary-General of the National Child Strategy, from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Successful co-creation despite the pandemic
“Initially, we were supposed to hold face-to-face workshops and roundtable discussions in schools, but plans changed with the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the short timetable, we had to quickly find a new way to implement the participation of children and young people as effectively as possible and, above all, safely. When live discussions stalled, we needed an effective way to engage online, ”says Laisaari.
The Online Brainstorming was divided into two parts: a participation path for children and young people and adults, to create the most comprehensive picture possible. The path of children and young people delved into, among other things, their daily lives, joys, and issues, opportunities to influence, and the realization of children’s rights. The adult participation path focused more strongly on the rights of the child, opportunities for participation, and the role of the adult as an enhancer of these opportunities.
“An interactive and interesting way for children and young people to participate played an important role in choosing a partner. Fountain Park’s previous experience of involving children and young people in several different languages was also important for the end result,” Laisaari sums up.
The desire to influence was transmitted over the network
The responses to the Online Brainstorming emphasized the solidarity between children and young people and their desire to influence matters concerning them. The answers were partially very long and the respondents had clearly given time to reflect on the questions. The reports of children and young people also conveyed empathy and concern. Concerns were raised about, for example, school bullying and discrimination experienced by others.
The results of the Online Brainstorming will be utilized in the next two steps. The challenges for children and young people have been highlighted in the context of the National Child Strategy, which will be published in February 2021. In 2021, the ongoing work on the implementation of the strategy and the preparation of the implementation phase will take into account the responses raised in the Online Brainstorming.
“It was important that even in exceptional times, it was possible to implement inclusion through online methods. Nationwide, responses came from nearly 3,000 children, young people, and adults, and the voices of children and young people of all ages were heard. We received important information to support the preparation of the Child Strategy,” says Laisaari.