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Accepted Contribution:

“Children have the right to be controlled by their parents”. Children’s voice in rural Sierra Leone: between participation and control.  
Elena Samonova (University College Dublin)

Contribution:

This presentation looks at the practices of children’s participation in rural Sierra Leone and examines children’s voices in the complex and contested context of gendered socio-cultural norms related to child rearing and wider glocal discourses related to children’s rights.

Why would you like to speak in this workshop?:

It is widely recognized that the social and political participation of children and young people plays an important role in progress towards the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. However young people face multiple barriers that restrict their ability to participate in decision-making processes at the local, national and international level. This presentation looks at the practices of children’s participation in rural Sierra Leone and examines children’s voices in the complex and contested context of gendered socio-cultural norms related to child rearing and wider glocal discourses related to children’s rights. It examines interconnections between poverty, gender and generational orders and shows that in Sierra Leone traditional generational and patriarchal orders place male elders at the top of the social hierarchy, in charge of political, economic, and educational decisions in communities and households. However, the proliferation of new practices, often introduced from the ‘outside’ opens up new opportunities for young people to raise their voices about their issues of concern, challenging traditional social structures. These dynamics take place within a wider context of extreme poverty and health crises. The presentation is based on an extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Northern Sierra Leone.

Workshop W08
Intersectional approaches to adolescent voice and agency: gender and participation in the context of multiple crises