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The research group has identified mutual and, in several respects, similar challenges in South-Africa and Sweden. Research studies and a multitude of reports in both countries have signaled that children in care, one of the most vulnerable groups in the society, are not heard or respected for their capabilities to influence social change. This is in disagreement with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, guiding UNICEF’s work since 1989 as well as legislation and steering documents both in South Africa and Sweden. Children´s participation in their own development and decision-making is fundamental for their current and future well-being as well as the future of the society.


By scrutinizing and analyzing relevant legislations, policies and research practices, we aim to create an initiative to contribute knowledge and social development strategies for social change through child agency and participation.


Document analysis will happen in both countries in phase one, followed by a second phase where the group will meet to do a comparative analysis together. This is a step towards establishing platforms engaging researchers, agencies and, not least, governmental departments to create enabling environments for children in care.  

Research Area

  • Barn- och ungdomsvetenskap

Research environment / Institution

  • Övrig forskning
  • Institutionen för individ och samhälle

Participants University West

Project Participants external

Pia Nykänen, Göteborgs universitet (projektledare)
Antoinette Lombard, University of Pretoria, Sydafrika
Ulene Schiller, University of Fort Hare, Sydafrika
Marianne Larsson Lindahl, Lunds universitet
Cobus Rademeyer, Sol Plaatje University, Sydafrika
Marianne Strydom, Stellenbosch University, Sydafrika

Research funding


Project time

2019 - 2021