This Manual serves as a methodological and administrative guidance for all partners on how to work with the Child Advisory Boards within the AWAY project¹. After briefly introducing the project, detailed information is provided on setting up the CAB, planning its meetings, and developing the group. The manual also suggests approaches and guiding ethical principles for child participation. Along with the theoretical background, practical tools and tips are enclosed to help practitioners in working with the CAB.
Although this manual was prepared specifically for the AWAY project, it arises from the broader context of working with groups of young peoples. The core methodology is based on the principles of experiential education augmented through the fifteen year experience of Pressley Ridge Hungary Foundation staff in working with young people in various group settings. This manual is adaptable for use with any newly formed group of children or youth.
The manual provides a comprehensive picture of how to build your group into a highly functioning team. Its structure and logic allow the beginner group facilitators to organize the basic work of the CAB, but also allows for the more seasoned group leaders to deepen work with the kids. Namely, the sections of AWAY Project Background, The Child Advisory Board, the Child Participation Guideline, and the Planning and Running CAB Meetings and Appendices 1 – 3 (Forms, Child Participation Guideline, and Description of Activities) should equip CAB facilitators with the basic knowledge and tools to effectively run the CAB. At the same time, the additional chapters on The Importance of Relationships in Working with Youth, and Building the Group, in conjunction with debriefing questions found in the Appendix called ‘Questions for Debriefing’ provide in depth information and skills to aide in further developing the group into a team. The insights and tips presented in these sections will help you to become a more seasoned facilitator. In other words, you will get as much out of this manual as you are willing to invest in it.
The manual works best if it is coupled with training on the content, which you will receive at the kick-off meeting of AWAY, and through personal consultation with our staff. We suggest that you read through the theoretical portion of the manual before you start the work with the CAB and familiarize yourself with the tools and tips. It is also advisable to plan the series of meeting with the CAB ahead of time and allow yourself time for planning and preparation of each session. To support the planning process, ready-made forms for session plans and evaluations are enclosed along with a tip sheet on motivating and running group meetings, a collection of activities you can use for various purposes in your work with the CAB, as well as a set of debriefing questions to maximize the learning outcomes of each session.