Being a Child in Times of Crisis – Views, Experiences and the Child’s Right to Participation

About the Project

Research Topic & Roadmap

The COVID 19 pandemic, the ongoing and worsening climate crisis, the war in Ukraine, and the energy crisis, along with significantly increased living costs: Children and young people in Austria are confronted with multiple crises, which are leading to an increase in psychological and physical problems. Their views and opinions often go unheard in public. The current Open Innovation in Science (OIS) project aims at putting the voices and rights of young people aged 10 and older at the centre of the discourse. Children and young people will be enabled to become aware of international children’s rights and fundamental rights, as well as to articulate their experiences, concerns and needs in the current times of crisis. Based on this, the children and young people will develop concrete and realistic action plans, present them to stakeholders such as educators, parents, civil society actors and political representatives. At the end, the implementation of the plans will be discussed together.

From April 20223 to December 2023, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights’ “Human Dignity and Public Security” programme line will cooperate with the civil society and non-profit partner association Human Rights Space to implement the project.

Research Focus

  • Strengthening awareness of children’s rights through child- and youth-friendly workshops in the interactive, inclusive and participatory exhibition spaces of the Human Rights Space
  • Give children and young people the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and how they deal with difficult circumstances;
  • Reflect together to what extent children and young people consider their rights to be protected and guaranteed in the process
  • Work with children and young people to develop action plans to better implement their rights at different levels
  • Involvement of relevant stakeholders in order to draw on their expertise and to strengthen the perception of the responsibility of duty bearers with regard to children’s and human rights as well as to promote the implementation of children’s rights in Austria.

Research Method

The joint methodology of the OIS Integration project is based on a human rights-based approach. We are guided by the Activism-Transformation model described by Felisa Tibbits. The project team implements the workshops according to the Shared Leadership concept, which envisions collaboration at eye level between science actors (LBI-GMR) and civil society actors (HRS). Through the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) of the civil society actor (HRS) on the Involvement level and the primary target group (children and young people) on the Participation level Patient, the project meets the OIS basic idea. At the end of the project, a scientific publication is planned that will summarize and classify the results of the project. After the end of the project, interested children and young people should also be given the opportunity to stay involved in the HRS and become involved in the EU project CARES.

In preparation for working with children and young people, a project-related child protection guideline was drawn up by the management team, a declaration of commitment was signed by all employees, a risk analysis was carried out with the entire project team, and Helmut Sax was appointed as child protection officer. For further information please see the child protection guideline (in German) in the download area.

Project Data

a. Funded by the Open Innovation in Science Center of the LBG
b. Human Rights Space


Hauke Benjes-Pitcz


+43 1 4277-27457