Plan's vision is of a world in which all children realise their full potential in societies that respect people's rights and dignity. Child Centred Community Development is a rights-based approach that translates this vision into the practice of international development.
A Rights-Based Approach
Child Centred Community Development is a rights-based approach to tackling child poverty. Through this approach we tackle the underlying causes of child poverty that are brought about by, and result in, the violation of child rights. These causes are due to injustice and power imbalances at all levels of society.
Child rights – as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – are at the centre of all our development projects. Why? Because we believe that ensuring children and their families have access to all their rights is the most effective way to address poverty in a sustainable way. When their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled, children can realise their full potential.
A Rights-Based Approach in Practice
The four key principles of child rights are:
- Non-discrimination: all children are entitled to their rights regardless of their race, religion, abilities, language, gender or where they live.
- The best interests of the child should be the primary consideration in decisions that affect them.
- The right to life, survival and development: children have the right to survival and their governments must ensure they develop healthily.
- Respect for the views of the child: children's opinions should be considered when decisions are being made that will affect them.
All children and their families have the right to active, free and meaningful participation in their civil, political, economic, social and cultural development. While the state is primarily responsible for protecting and fulfilling all human rights, the whole of society – including corporations, parents and religious leaders – have certain obligations to protect children's rights.
Plan's role is to support children and their families to engage in their own development, and to help governments to respond to this in a way that protects and fulfils children's rights. This means we must work with communities and governments to address power imbalances, such as gender inequality. Power imbalances contribute to the poverty cycle and block people, particularly children, from participating fully in their communities' development.