Many voices, many stories

In countries and communities across the globe, people are doing remarkable things to make the world better for every child. Here are some of their experiences and insights.

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Inclusive and sustainable solutions, by and for local people, are emerging.

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Children, families and communities are autonomous agents, and acknowledging them as such is key to respecting their human rights – and to creating solutions that succeed and can be sustained. Ventures that spring from the initiative of community members and proceed with their participation are more likely to address their needs in ways that are acceptable and sensitive to local social, cultural and political factors that outsiders may well miss.

A variety of innovative projects are achieving results by putting local participation and agency at the centre. In some countries, social protection programmes stimulate demand for goods and services by providing cash in exchange for changes in behaviour, like buying more nutritious food and visiting the doctor regularly. Rigorous evaluations have shown that when parents are empowered to invest in their children, the children reap lasting benefits. This lesson has been borne out also by humanitarian initiatives that focus on demand, directly giving parents the goods they need to help their own children. When scientists partner with communities, the resulting exchange of knowledge enriches both sides and can lead to more effective solutions. And community members’ ownership and empowerment give interventions a greater chance of creating change that endures.

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