Nick Petten is a researcher, consultant and evaluator with over 10 years’ experience working with culturally diverse populations in multiple roles and positions. He is primarily concerned with how to meaningfully and ethically involve children and youth in research and program design.
Nick has extensive knowledge and demonstrated research ability developed through a masters-level education in early childhood studies with a focus on children’s rights, program evaluation, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and early learning. He is currently conducting several program evaluations and research projects focusing on youth engagement, peacebuilding, children’s rights, health equity, and other social justice issues. He provides professional consultations on monitoring and evaluation activities, community consultations, participatory research methodologies, and ethical guidance on working with adolescent and child stakeholders. He is also dedicated to building the capacity of the organizations he works with through several volunteer and board engagements. Nick has in-depth and front-line experience working with children and adolescents with multiple needs and capabilities through parent education programs, early childhood education centres, youth programs, adolescent treatment centres and many other community programs.
His guiding framework, which he embeds in all his projects and partnerships, is the concept of ‘child participation’ as defined by various international frameworks. The UNICEF, UN Global Compact, and Save the Children define ‘child participation’ as:
“…one of the four core principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, this includes processes that encourage and enable children to articulate and convey their views on issues that affect them.
It also involves information sharing and dialogue between children and adults based on mutual respect in an environment that facilitates freedom of expression.
Such processes must be authentic, inclusive and meaningful and should take into account the evolving capacities of children and enable them to learn constructive ways to influence the world around them.
There should be a commitment to consider children’s opinions – including girls and boys, the most marginalized, the vulnerable, and those of different ages and abilities.
Their views should be respected, heard and taken into account in all decisions and actions affecting them. Participation should not be tokenistic and should not exploit children.”
UN Global Compact: http://www.unglobalcompact.org/Issues/human_rights/childrens_principles.html
UNICEF and CSR:
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC):