Empowering Young Leaders through the Children’s Solutions Lab 

The Children’s Solutions Lab serves as a bright example of how children, when given the opportunity, can become catalysts for transformative initiatives that address pressing issues and make a lasting impact in their communities.

After a successful implementation in 2021, a second round of the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) program was launched in 2022. The CSL is a collaboration between Arigatou International’s initiatives: End Child Poverty and Ethics Education for Children. 

The CSL aims to empower children by enabling them to make meaningful contributions to their communities. Additionally, the program fosters ethical reflections among children, helping them understand the underlying causes of social conflicts and injustices in their societies and the potential impact of cultural norms on the well-being of children. 

Through the CSL, children are provided with a platform to develop their problem-solving skills, nurture empathy, and cultivate a sense of social responsibility, ultimately equipping them to become agents of positive change in their communities. 

The Journey Begins

Following an open call, 84 children’s groups from 38 countries submitted their projects. These projects underwent a thorough review process by a panel of experts comprising representatives from partner organizations, and a young leader from Kenya who was an awardee in the previous edition. 

From the pool of submissions, five exceptional children’s groups from Armenia, Brazil, Ghana, Malawi, and Niger were selected to receive funding and mentoring for the implementation of their projects

Empowering Children to Make a Difference

To encourage collaboration and idea exchange, the chosen children’s groups held virtual meetings to kickstart their initiatives. They became even more inspired to become positive agents of change and saw how children have the power to help transform their communities.   

Simultaneously, the adults supporting these children in each respective country were strongly encouraged to complete Arigatou International’s online course on child participation. This crucial step aimed to ensure that the involved adults could effectively facilitate genuine, safe, and meaningful participation for the children throughout the entire process. 

Meet the 2022 Children’s Solutions Lab Awardees:

    • City: Yerevan
    • Led by: 9 children aged 6 to 16
    • Issue: Children living in poverty and affected by conflict.

The children harvested fruits and vegetables from local farms, turning them into jams, sauces, and dried fruits. Six farmhouses allowed them access to their fruits. The children worked for three days to prepare care packages containing preserved food, home-baked, winter gloves, and socks. They delivered these packages to families in Voskevaz and Yerevan, making a meaningful impact in their community. 

“Teamwork isn’t flawless. Young children can get tired very easily, and keeping everyone active and motivated took some time. But we made it like a game for everyone to do their jobs. At the end of the day, children were happy to help other people.” 

Arshak, 16 

    • City: Accra
    • Led by: 6 children aged 12 to 17
    • Issue: Early pregnancy

The children decided to address a rampant problem of early pregnancy and school dropouts that was affecting girls in the fishing community where they live. Divided into two groups, the children conducted 24 outreach sessions in seven schools and the community. Using educational posters on sexual and reproductive health and rights, the children promoted reflections among adults and children alike.

    • City: Sao Paulo
    • Led by: 6 children aged 15 to 17
    • Issue: Lack of proper sewage system

The children recognized that their neighborhood was affected by inadequate sewage systems. Their initial plan was to build a small-scale sewage system for five houses. However, due to difficulties with local regulations, they adjusted their approach. Instead, they utilized the grant to make basic-needs packages for 80 families. These packages were distributed during an event where they also raised awareness and educated attendees about proper waste management.

“The value of this project is that young people have been very much engaged (…) Society is not ready to perceive the power that children have (…) but people must take children seriously.” 

Mrs. Bruna Serena Casciano, teacher 

    • City: Lilongwe
    • Led by: 25 children aged 10 to 14
    • Issue: Lack of school materials for orphaned and vulnerable children

The group of children identified a high rate of school dropouts among orphaned and vulnerable children in their neighborhood and decided to support 25 children through a mobile library. To establish the library, they used their grant to generate income through seedling cultivation and sales. They faced setbacks due to a Tropical Cyclone but still managed to sell 720 seedlings. They organized sensitization meetings and reading sessions to encourage children to return to school. 

    • City: Niamey
    • Led by: 7 children aged 12 to 17
    • Issue: Lack of bathrooms for girls in the school

A group of children from a public school exposed that the school only provided one restroom for male students, leaving females with no facilities. Girls missed multiple days of classes due to this, especially during their menstrual cycle. The children decided to construct a bathroom within the school and raise awareness of the girls’ challenges. After overcoming numerous obstacles, they succeeded in building a fully functioning bathroom.

“We have finished our construction and I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart (…) there are no words to express our happiness, as girls now have a bathroom.” 

Nadia, 17

A voice from our team:

“Coordinating this project has helped me put myself in the shoes of amazing children who are overcoming all sorts of challenges to bring positive change to their communities. My admiration and respect for these young leaders have only grown.”

Ms. Sandra Yepez
Program Officer, Arigatou International – Geneva

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