The National Children’s Rights Dialogue

The challenge

The annual Children’s Rights Dialogue was set up to strengthen collaboration among all organizations contributing to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Frisse Blikken designed, organized, and facilitated this crucial gathering.

Our fresh perspective

About the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport

The Netherlands’ Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport (VWS) is committed to the health,
resilience, and vitality of all Dutch citizens. It addresses a wide range of topics, with the
medical and mental healthcare of the Dutch population as its central focus.

The first dialogue

Since the Netherlands signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, every five years, various Dutch organizations contributing to this cause are required to report their progress to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Different ministries and children’s rights organizations, such as UNICEF Netherlands and Kinderpostzegels (charity stamps sold in the Netherlands to support children’s rights), are all working to improve children’s rights. However, it’s not always clear how all their efforts are explicitly contributing to this goal. This is where the Children’s Rights Dialogue – a yearly gathering of all stakeholders to discuss progress, the development of initiatives, and strengthen collaboration – comes in.

Connecting a varied stakeholder landscape

While the dialogue’s objective was clear, it was unclear which shape the gathering should take to provide maximum value to all involved parties and promote a sense of urgency among them. We constructed a program that serves everyone’s role.
We invited a varied group of stakeholders to participate in the dialogue, including representatives from various ministries, children’s rights organizations, and a youth panel. During interactive discussions at tables featuring different themes – and with the “Newspaper of the Future” featuring as a valuable communication tool – participants discussed what would give them a sense of pride during the next consultation with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and which joint steps needed to be taken. Afterwards, children and young people served as metaphorical guides, leading policymakers and children’s rights organizations on a “participation path” to emphasize how their involvement directly influences policymaking.

Focus on content

We successfully organized the first dialogue in April 2023. The creative ideas and attention given to the at-times-conflicting interests of the various parties involved ensured that policymakers, children’s rights organizations, and young people felt more intimately connected. Thanks to our strong substantive affinity with the program’s themes, we were able to construct a program in service of its content, stimulating valuable discussions. We are incredibly proud to have been invited to organize the next three editions.

“To continue improving children’s rights in the Netherlands, we must collaborate closely with all stakeholders and understand each other’s perspectives. Doing so requires fostering connection through substantive dialogue. Frisse Blikken initiated this process excellently.”

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Achtergrond: phD in Human Resource Management en Organizational Behavior. Master Arbeids- en Organisatiepsychologie

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