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Who Should Decide?


What to do

Explain that you are going to discuss where children can take decisions. Use a flipchart or large paper to briefly brainstorm answers to the following questions:

  • What can you decide in your family or in school?
  • From what age do you think children should decide things on their own?

Next tell the group that you are going to read out a series of questions and they should think about
who should make a decision in each situation. If you think the child(ren) should make a decision,
hold up the blue card; if you think the youth leaders should make a decision, hold up the green
card; and if you think both should make a decision together, hold up the red card. You can briefly
ask for opinions after every question.


  • Who should decide what game to play in the afternoon when you meet?
  • Who should decide whether you should wear a raincoat when going out for a trip in the rain?
  • Who should decide whether you can smoke cigarettes in the breaks of your activities?
  • Who should decide whether you can stay up until later than midnight during summer camps?
  • Who should decide whether you can use a mobile phone during a summer camp?
  • Who should decide on the destination for the centre next weekend-trip?
  • Who should decide on the transport to take for that weekend-trip?
  • Who should decide on the activity programme of the organisation for the next year?
  • Who should decide on how to spend the budget of the group for the next year?


The questions given in the appendix are only suggestions. You should think of others or adapt
these to make them relevant to your own group. If your group prefers to learn through movement, or you don’t have coloured cards available, you
can conduct the activity by designating three corners of the room to signify the three possible

Circletime discussion

• How did you like this activity?
• Was it difficult to respond to some of the questions? Why?
• Which ones were easier to respond to and which ones were more difficult? Why?
• Why did some people have different answers?
• Is there a right answer or a wrong answer to the questions?
• Does the age of children make a difference?
• What other things, apart from age, should be taken into account when children are going to participate?
• Which of these things can you decide on in your organisation? Which do you want to decide on
but can’t? Why not?
• Why do you think it is important that children take decisions?

This activity is from IFM-SEI Child Participation handbook.

Resources Required

Flipchart paper and markers , 3 different coloured cards, for example, blue, red and green, with enough sets for each participant


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