Including beneficiary voices in the design of development programmes is crucial to ensuring their success. While most development practitioners recognise this, we often struggle to do it in a meaningful way. At the Danish Children and Youth NGO Network (C&Y Network), we have begun using Action Research as a means of including the voices of children and young people in our programme design. This note reviews experiences from three Action Research studies conducted by the C&Y Network and discusses some important learning outcomes.
Using an Action Research approach in these studies provided an extremely valuable platform for engaging children, young people, and the C&Y Network’s partners in the research process. This ensured their voices were central to the studies and their results. Everyone involved learned a great deal, from research skills and better ways of engaging with children, to the value of collaboration and shared ownership of research.