Lleisiau Bach/Little Voices project marks end of year success after UN Committee adopts several recommendations

An end of year event to celebrate the South Wales projects of the Lleisiau Bach/Little Voices initiative took place this week (Wednesday, July 6) at Swansea University’s Bay Campus, hosted by the School of Management.

Lleisiau Bach 1Around 100 children, aged seven to 11 years, and their teachers from 12 different schools across South Wales attended the event, with invited guests including Sally Holland, the Children's Commissioner for Wales; Swans Community ambassador Lee Trundle; and officials from the National Assembly for Wales.

The Big Lottery-funded Lleisiau Bach/Little Voices project is managed by the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People at Swansea University (Observatory@Swansea) in partnership with Bangor University (Observatory@Bangor), a collaborative project with international, national and local partners, which was launched in 2012.

Lleisiau Bach/Little Voices supports the under-12s to understand human rights of children and young people, to choose issues they want to research, to select research methods, carry out the research, to reach conclusions based on evidence and then to promote the changes they want to see.

Lleisiau Bach 2The participating schools through the Observatory@Swansea include Bryngwyn Primary School and Queen Street Primary School (Blaenau Gwent); Awel y Môr Primary School and Crynallt Primary School (Neath Port Talbot); Pil Primary School, Garth Primary School and Nantymoel Primary School (Bridgend); Trinant Primary School (Caerphilly); Albert Primary School (Vale of Glamorgan); Pembroke Dock Community School (Pembroke Dock); Deri View Primary School and Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni (Monmouthshire); and Blaengwawr Primary School (Rhondda Cynon Taf).

The event was opened by Professor Marc Clement, Head of the School of Management, and the programme included a tour of the Bay Campus as well as an exhibition and film premiere of the children's own research and films, and workshops with academic researchers in the various subjects relevant to the work the children have done: Environment, Children’s Health and Wellbeing, Children’s Rights and Environment.

Among the successes which were celebrated were the outcomes of the ‘Lleisiau Bach yn Galw Allan/Little Voices Shouting Out' report delivered last year.  This was the first ever child-led research report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva and which, over three years, will deliver 72 local child-led, human rights-based research projects.

Lleisiau Bach 3Research assistants Helen Dale from Swansea and Arwyn Roberts from Bangor worked closely with schools across Wales to prepare the report.

‌The Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the UK were released last month (Thursday, June 9) and the Lleisiau Bach/Little Voices project was delighted to learn that several of the children’s recommendations were adopted in full by the UN Committee, including those recommendations on smoke-free parks, children's rights education in schools, bullying, and play.

The full Concluding Observations can be read here.

Jane Williams, Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People, based within Swansea University’s College of Law and Criminology, said: “This is a first for Wales and a first in the world: children under 12 leading their own research and sending their own recommendations to an international human rights treaty monitoring body.

“Even better, we are seeing the impact of their work not only in the Concluding Observations, but also in the children’s own localities.

Lleisiau Bach logo 1“I am confident this event, as well as celebrating the project’s success to date, will mark the beginning of more age-inclusive research by Swansea and its many partners, as people realise the capability of children as researchers, with the right support.”

‌Professor Marc Clement, Head of the School of Management, added: “We were proud to welcome the Lleisiau Bach/Little Voices event to Swansea University.  As a School of Management, research is at the heart of what we do and it delighted me to see the passion and skill shown by these young researchers so early on in their careers. 

"The support this project gives to these students is wonderful, and we can look forward to these generations providing valuable innovation and insight as they grow and develop.”

The Lleisiau Bach/Little Voices Swansea event follows a similar event which took place at Bangor University on Wednesday, June 29, to celebrate the North Wales projects.