Children’s Solutions Lab

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Call for Applications 2022: We are happy to announce that, after a long and thorough selection process, the five awarded projects have been chosen. Stay tuned for more news!

The Children’s Solutions Lab (CLS) aims to support young people in taking action to address poverty affecting children in their communities through solutions based on education.

The CSL seeks to promote ethical reflections among children about the root causes of poverty and how some cultural norms can impact the wellbeing of children and, ultimately, lead to child poverty. The initiative also aims to support children in finding local solutions to address these issues in their communities.

Through an open call, children’s groups around the world are invited to submit projects led by them that can propose context-sensitive and unique solutions to poverty affecting children in their communities. The projects are expected to address the ethical challenges and the cultural norms that can lead to poverty and suggest solutions for this based on education.

The CSL seeks to enhance, promote, and support opportunities for child-led actions.

Get involved

Working with groups of children? You can involve them in this process by following three simple steps: (1) organize a CSL event, (2) support children to design a project, and (3) submit children’s application

What to do?

1. Promote child participation

Create meaningful, participatory spaces and opportunities where children are empowered to lead, develop and implement relevant actions.

You can start by organizing a Children’s Solutions Lab event for children to discuss if and how poverty is affecting their peers in their community.

These are some questions that the dialogue should aim to address:

  • Are there social and cultural norms in our community that can contribute to aggravating child poverty?
  • How can education improve the conditions of children impacted by poverty?

During your CSL event, ensure diversity within the group of children involved and follow safeguarding practices. We invite you to review our Safeguarding Policy here and to check this Guide to Apply with more recommendations and an example of the agenda for your event with children.

The dialogue should motivate the children to identify solutions to address child poverty through education. Children should be encouraged to put their solutions together into a cohesive and feasible project that they can submit for our international selection process. If selected, the children’s project will receive technical support and small-scale funding for its implementation.

2. Submit a child-led project

Once the children have drafted their project, support them to apply for one of our CSL micro-grants and mentoring opportunities. Make sure that the project and application meet the selection criteria.

SELECTION CRITERIA

  • The project must be led by a group of 4 or more children (below 18 years of age) and must reflect genuine efforts to ensure the highest possible level of child participation.
  • Solutions must be focused on how education can contribute to ending poverty affecting children
  • Preference will be given to solutions led by diverse groups of children (groups that show religious and cultural diversity as well as gender, age, and ethnic diversity)
  • The project must be innovative and with the potential to be sustainable and replicable
  • The project must be relevant and sensitive to the local context of the applicants.
  • Feasible to complete implementation in a period of four months and before the end of 2022.

The application form consists of several questions that you can read prepare in advance. Check our Guide to Apply to see all the questions and guidelines. You are also welcome to join our Informative Session, on February 25, 2022, to clear all your doubts about the process. Register here.

3. Support children during implementation

If the children’s project is selected, together with a micro-grant the children’s group will also receive support and mentoring from Arigatou International. This includes, among other things, support in collecting their stories and documenting their experiences.

Your support as an adult is also fundamental. Here are some guidelines you should consider while designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the child-led project:

  • It is important that the project is sensitive to the local context by looking at how the context can be proactively brought into the design and implementation.
  • While supporting the children, nurture horizontal relationships with them. Promote shared power that fosters children’s sense of self-worth and self-knowledge, recognizing individual differences while respecting each other.
  • Make sure that the participation is safe and sensitive to risks as well as transparent and voluntary. Make sure the children and their parents/legal guardians understand the purpose of their participation, and that the children voluntarily agree to engage in the activities.
  • We encourage you to consider supporting the implementation of the children’s project even if their solution was not selected to receive a micro-grant.  

We invite you to read our Guidelines for Design, Implementation, and M&E before the children start implementing the project (Available soon). 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) is a process initiated by Arigatou International, to support children in taking action towards overcoming poverty that affects children in their communities, through solutions based on ethics education.

The Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) seeks to promote ethical reflections among children about the root causes of poverty and how some social and cultural norms can impact the wellbeing of children and, ultimately, lead to child poverty. We aim to support children in finding local solutions to address these issues in their communities.

The Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) aims to encourage children to participate in transforming their communities and to empower children.

Child-led is when a child chooses the activity/project/action rather than the adult.  The child has control of the activity, but the adult accompanies the process to ensure it is safe and meaningful.

The main criteria to get selected for one of the CSL micro-grants is that the submitted project is genuinely conceived, developed, led, and eventually implemented by children (persons below 18 years of age).

Adults are expected to support the children’s group during the planning and application processes, and eventually during the implementation.

Together with a micro-grant, the selected groups of children will also receive support and mentoring from Arigatou International during the implementation.

Ethics education is an approach towards promoting positive values on children, young people, and the larger society towards creating a world of greater justice, peace, and dignity.

Arigatou International’s approach to ethics education envisions a world where children are equipped to make ethical decisions, nurture their spirituality, and transform their communities together, based on values that promote empathy, respect, responsibility, and reconciliation.

For the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL), the ethics education approach aims to promote critical thinking among children about the social and cultural norms that can lead to poverty, and collective actions to find solutions to tackle these issues.

The Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) also encourages interfaith and intercultural collaboration, whereby children from different walks of life work together to develop solutions that can positively transform their communities.

The call for applications for the Children Solutions Lab (CSL) will be launched by the end of February 2022 and will remain open until March 31, 2022. Selected projects will be announced in April and children’s groups will have six months to implement their solutions, starting from the day they receive their funds. The projects must be fully completed before the end of 2022.

We encourage children to develop local community solutions. Therefore, the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) processes take place in the children’s respective communities – be it at their schools, social clubs, places of worship and other such safe spaces.

Children’s Solutions Lab events can be organized virtually (online) or in-person, depending on the needs and resources available. In all sessions, the wellbeing of the participating children should be ensured, including their safety, comfort, and meaningful participation.

Arigatou International encourages children from all walks of life, different cultural and religious backgrounds, and different geographical locations, to participate in the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL).

The 2020/ 2021 Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) had more than 1,200 children from 37 children’s groups in 23 countries participating. In 2020, the five CSL micro-grants were given to children’s groups from Cuba, India, Kenya, Peru, and Serbia.

The Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) welcomes the participation of children from various countries, communities, faiths, cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

Children (persons below 18 years of age) are encouraged to work together in groups of 4 or more children, to participate in the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL).

We encourage children to work together in groups to participate in the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL).

The children’s group can be attached or associated with an existing organization, for instance, a school, a social club, or a place of worship – or it can be a group formed especially for the purpose of participating in the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL).

Groups that participate in the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) need to adhere to our Arigatou International Child Safeguarding Guidelines, and our core values around promoting children’s wellbeing, safety, and dignity.

The Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) is a process that includes organizing a CSL event for children, providing support for children to develop and implement their solution (project), and applying for a CSL grant from Arigatou International.

For more information check our Guide to Apply.

The Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) aims to transform communities, by providing a safe and meaningful space for children to take ethical action towards overcoming poverty.  The Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) recognizes children’s agency, and it encourages children to work together to achieve this.

We have seen wonderful stories from the previous Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) and hope to support more of the same positive transformation in 2022.  Check out the CSL inspiring stories, here

No, it is not necessary for the children’s group to be registered (legal or business registration) to take part in the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL).

However, if you are considering applying on behalf of a children’s group, keep in mind that –if selected for one of our micro-grants– the funds must be channelled through a legally registered organization. This means a registered organization will receive the funds on behalf of the children and report to Arigatou International on the use of these funds.

YES!  We believe this is a great opportunity for children and we welcome as many groups to participate as possible– whether it is the children’s first time to participate in the CSL or if they have participated before.

We encourage every group and organization participating in the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) to adhere to our Arigatou International Child Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct. This also includes basic guidelines on how to protect children’s dignity and privacy on media channels. (Find out more about this, here)

We aim to share the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) stories through our Arigatou International communication spaces, including our websites and social media. While respecting the children’s right to privacy and online protection, we ensure to seek consent from their parent(s) or guardian(s), through their respective group or organization before publishing any of the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) stories. Through sharing these stories, we hope to encourage others to take positive actions, big or small, towards ending child poverty and promoting ethics education.

Groups or organizations participating in the Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) are NOT required to make any payments or send any funds to Arigatou International.

However, please be aware that your group or organization may incur costs during the organization of your CSL event, for example for children’s transportation, refreshments, communication, etc.

Arigatou International will provide CSL 2022 micro-grants (ranging from USD $ 500 to USD $ 2000) to five selected groups that applied for the Children’s Solutions Lab 2022.

In addition to the micro-grants, Arigatou International will provide support and mentoring to the five selected groups during the implementation of their solutions.  

This is the selection criteria:

  • The project must be led by a group of 4 or more children (below 18 years of age) and must reflect genuine efforts to ensure the highest possible level of child participation.
  • Solutions must be focused on how ethics education can contribute to ending poverty affecting children
  • Preference will be given to solutions led by diverse groups of children (groups that show religious and cultural diversity as well as gender, age, and ethnic diversity)
  • The project must be innovative and with the potential to be sustainable and replicable
  • The project must be relevant and sensitive to the local context of the applicants.
  • Feasible to complete implementation in a period of four months and before the end of 2022.

We welcome you to read our Children’s Solutions Lab (CSL) stories to find out what children are doing to overcome child poverty through ethics education, in their communities.

If you are interested in applying for the CSL 2022 on behalf of a children’s group, you can find more information in the Guide to Apply, as well as the application form or by reviewing the recording of our Informative Session.

Useful resources

Guide to Apply

All the guidelines you need to follow to successfully apply.

Safeguarding Policy

Keep the children safe while participating in the project.

Implementation Guide

Follow these guidelines to support children during implementation.

Projects implemented in 2021

The Children’s Solutions Lab was launched for the first time in September 2020 and five child-led projects were selected. In 2021 these projects were successfully implemented by groups of children in Cuba, India, Kenya, Peru, and Serbia, with the unwavering support of committed adults in each of these locations.

Looking for inspiration? Learn more about the projects we supported in 2021 and the amazing children who implemented them:

The Children of the Internet

Location: Cuba
Lead team: 3 girls and 3 boys
Micro-grant received: 1500 USD

Supporting organization:  GNRC Cuba – Centro Cristiano de Servicio y Capacitación B. G. Lavastida

Project’s objective:
To offer printed educational materials to children with digital disadvantages during COVID-19 school closures.

………………………………

The children began the first phase of the project by identifying and visiting socially disadvantaged children. They researched and decided upon the materials and they created informative educational folders which they then delivered to the beneficiaries to support their education.

The Children's Parliment

Location: India
Lead team: 5 children between 13-17 years old
Micro-grant received: 1500 USD

Supporting organization: Shanti Ashram

Project’s objective:
To support children’s education disrupted by school closures by extracurricular activities

………………………………

More than 300 children from nine villages engaged in brainstorming sessions organized by the Children’s Parliament in India, to think about what could be done to address local issues related to education, health care, and livelihoods aggravated by the school closures and restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Don’t Marry them, educate them!

Location: Kenya
Lead team: 7 girls and 4 boy
Micro-grant received: 500 USD

Supporting organization:  Silver Lining Kenya

Project’s objective:
To advocate against the practice of child and forced marriages and for the importance of educating children to break the cycle of poverty and uphold the rights of children

Gardening to tackle poverty

Location: Peru
Lead team: 2 girls and 2 boys
Micro-grant received: 500 USD

Supporting organization:  Christ the Savior Church

Project’s objective:
To help tackle poverty in the community through community gardening, and support children’s learning with a mobile library during school closures due to COVID-19.

Spreading joy all year round

Location: Serbia
Lead team: 2 girls and 2 boys
Micro-grant received: 500 USD

Supporting organization:  Sombor Educational Center (SEC)

Project’s objective:
To collect school supplies and equipment to distribute them children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

REPORT A SAFEGUARDING CONCERN

Learn what to do if you have a concern regarding the safety of children involved in our programs or fill out our form to report a case of abuse. 

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