Child Rights and Practitioner Wrongs: Lessons from Interagency Research in Sierra Leone and Kenya

Child rights are fundamental for ending violence and injustice against children and promoting children’s wellbeing. However, the top-down manner of introducing child rights is frequently problematic. Ethnographic research in Sierra Leone and Kenya indicates that top-down, impositional approaches to teaching child rights can lead local people to view child rights as a harm to children or to prefer traditional practices that can clash with human rights standards. To implement child rights, the use of a slow, respectful process of internally guided social change is recommended. To appear in M. Ruck, M. Peterson-Badali, and M. Freeman (Eds.) Handbook of Children’s Rights: Global and Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Taylor and Francis.