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Legitimising children’s evidence: Inclusive participatory research with children with disability

Version 2 2024-06-03, 10:10
Version 1 2016-11-08, 16:31
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-03, 10:10 authored by Matthew ClarkeMatthew Clarke, Erin WilsonErin Wilson, R Campain, K Murfitt, E Jenkin
Achieving human rights is at the core of development outcomes, and the achievement of positive development outcomes increasingly relies on evidence-based policy and practice. However, people with disability have been routinely excluded from research evidence and knowledge production, both due to a lack of interest in their issues (Yeo and Moore, 2003) and through an over-reliance on research design that does not address barriers to their participation as research respondents (Wilson et al. 2013). Children with disability are even more marginalised from participation in knowledge production processes and have been passively subjected to research being conducted on or about them, rather than with them (Gray and Winter 2011a). This exclusion is even more evident in developing countries of the global south though with some rare exceptions (Kembhavi and Wirz, 2009; Singal, 2010; Wickenden and Kembhavi- Tam, 2014; Don et al, 2015; Nguyen et al, 2015). This paper reports on the ‘Voices of Pacific Children with Disability’ project (hereafter referred to as the Voices project) which, drawing on the broader field of child participatory research, developed a method for children with disability to competently provide evidence about their needs, aspirations and human rights priorities. Eighty-nine children with disability living in rural and urban areas of Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea (PNG) participated, using a suite of data collection ‘tools’ designed to support children to express their life priorities and human rights’ needs. In this paper we examine a sub-set of this data related to children’s future priorities, the primary one being employment, and explore the utility of such evidence for governments, NGOs and other stakeholders, in shaping policy and service delivery in line with the rights of children with disability. Such data is important when working in an evidence informed way as often these organisations have limited data on the needs and values of the groups they serve.



Development bulletin




Canberra, A.C.T.





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C3 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal, X Not reportable

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2016, Australian National University




Australian National University