Viewpoint: A child friendly election in Norway

Norway’s September 2017 election also saw Save the Children Norway design a children’s election. The aim was to reach 5,000 children aged between nine and 15 years. Yet in the end, over 60,000 youngsters participated in the election, writes Julia Zvobgo

Save the Children Norway (SCN) argues that the staggering result demonstrates ‘how willing and eager children are to learn about politics and how much they want to be included’.

Planning for a child friendly election

Norway – along with Iceland – leads Europe’s domination of a worldwide ranking index that measures how countries deliver on their obligations to improve the rights of the child.

Mia Simonsen, Media and Campaign Adviser from Save the Children Norway, said: “A lot of planning went into the process of making a child friendly election. Each of the political parties, eight parties in total, agreed to making a one minute video explaining their viewpoints. They made a child friendly version of their political program as well as dancing in a music video about the election.”

The takeaway

In order to make the campaign, a success, SCN worked with schools and created a series of online videos that teachers could use in lessons to discuss the political process with children. The videos were also available on their website, as well as their social media, namely Facebook and YouTube. SCN also worked closely with the media resulting in extensive coverage in print, online and television.

Mia Simonsen added: “A significant outcome of this campaign was citizen engagement and enhancing children’s voices, as well as media coverage. SCN found a mechanism for children and political parties to communicate, involving children in the political process, teachers to support citizenship and also proving that it is possible and fun for children to vote from an early age.

“We also believe that by presenting complicated politics in a child friendly way, we reached youth and younger voters as well, on matters which normally was complicated. This proved to us that we will continue to have elections for children each time there is a general or local elections.”

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist and the Community Manager of Child in the City. This blog post first appeared on the Child in the City website.

The Child in the City World Conference takes place September 24-26 in Vienna, Austria. The following three parallel sessions will explore the theme ‘Children and young people and meida’: Children’s perspectives, Media literacy, and Planning media projects. Register for the conference here.

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