Members of Brock’s Department of Child and Youth Studies recently made a trip to Nepal to further research on children’s rights.
Associate Professor Richard Mitchell travelled overseas to assist PhD student Nabin Maharjan with field research and deliver presentations on the rights of children to Nepalese stakeholders.
Maharjan invited Mitchell, a member of his supervisory committee, to the Lalitpur Metropolitan City in the Kathmandu Valley in May to share his expertise on children’s rights.
Mitchell, who has worked with and studied thousands of children and youth in Canada, the U.K. and other parts of the world, jumped at the opportunity to engage with children and community leaders in Nepal.
“Children love to discover that they have a set of human rights. They immediately want to know exactly what they are and how to exercise them,” says Mitchell, who believes that it is crucial “to simply include young people’s participation in all matters that interest and concern them, with adults who care to listen to them.”
Maharjan, who originally hails from Nepal, previously worked with the Social Welfare Division/Community Development Section of Lalitpur Metropolitan City, which has developed several child and youth rights programs as well as life skills and leadership training.
In addition to belonging to an advisory council, where he assists in supporting local efforts to improve data management, reporting and publication of reports on children’s rights, Maharjan is also a founding member of one of Lalitpur’s 120 Child Clubs — child-driven organizations that set up social and educational activities with the help of an adult facilitator to connect with other local youths.
As part of the research trip, Maharjan and Mitchell guided a group of 80 members of Maharjan’s club, who were all between the ages of 10 and 16, through a four-hour budget-planning session.
The researchers and young club members also discussed the child labour project known as the Green Flag Movement, which focuses on eliminating the most dangerous forms of child labour in Nepal’s shops, hotels, restaurants, construction and brick kilns.
“Nabin is transferring both theoretical and applied knowledge into real-life practice settings — a process known as ‘praxis’ — at the same time as gaining new insights from within the Nepalese field of children’s rights,” Mitchell explains.
Mitchell also delivered an address titled “UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Transdisciplinary Tool for Child Protection Research and Praxis,” while in Nepal.
Maharjan, who entered the PhD program in Child and Youth Studies in its first cohort in 2016, describes the field work as “a great experience for a child and youth studies researcher preparing to become a scholar in the field of child rights.”