Children's regional Councils to launch in 2024, allowing kids to have their say in the community

Children's Regional Councils, launching in 2024 with €200,000 in EU funds, empower kids to have a say in community decisions

Children’s Regional Councils set to start in 2024, will be allowing kids to have their say in community decisions.

Thanks to €200,000 in EU funds secured by the the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, in collaboration with the Education and Local Government ministries, and the Local Councils Association, the project will get the children’s councils up and running.

Launching the project on Wednesday night, Prime Minister said the project aims to strengthen young citizens' activism in Malta. 

MFWS Chair Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, speaking at the launch, highlighted the nearly 10-year effort since the Children's Council's inception, emphasising the need for a nationwide structure for child participation in decision-making.

“Today we are reaping the fruit of a vision we planted 10 years ago - for child participation to have a nationwide structure. This was the missing link to empower children in active citizenship and critical thinking for the future of our country,” she said.

The MFWS will now organise meetings in schools to form six new councils paralleling Malta's regional councils, involving children aged six to 16.

This would then lead adult regional councils to consult the Children’s Regional Councils and consider their feedback on relevant issues. 

Sharon Cilia, a former Children’s Council member, stressed the importance of this initiative for young Maltese voices to be heard. 

“This is not a privilege but a fundamental right which will lead to a society where children’s voices, dreams and ideas can flourish,” she said. 

The councils will also serve as a training ground, helping youngsters understand current affairs and make informed decisions when they come of age.

In October, Malta became the first EU country to initiate a legislative process allowing those aged 16 and over to take on the highest positions within local councils.

This bill also provides, among other consequential amendments, that a Mayor or Deputy Mayor between the ages of 16 and 18 can perform acts of civil life when appearing as Mayor or Deputy Mayor.