History

Jonathan Levy conceived the project of a forum on children’s participation and named it Children as Actors for Transforming Society (CATS). In June 2012, the project was formally launched with the approval of the Caux Foundation and Initiatives of Change France with the idea to run this forum for a minimum of 5 years.

In 2013, Initiatives of Change France, Child to Child and Universal Education Foundation (now the Learning for Well-being Foundation) organized the first CATS forum in Caux, Switzerland. In 2015 Eurochild became an additional organiser of the forum.

Together, these organisations have developed and implemented the CATS forum in Caux, Switzerland as an interactive seven-day forum that offers adults and children the opportunity of learning, exploring and sharing experiences and expertise in promoting responsive, ethical and sustainable rights-based child participation in the process of social change.

Values

CATS promotes the vital role of children as active participants in society as laid out in article 12 of the UNCRC. The CATS Global Forum offers conditions which enable children and adults to explore and better understand children’s participation. To enable and empower children’s participation, CATS creates a safe, respectful and protective environment.

This protective environment is supported by a number of core values:

• The atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation between adults and children exchanging together,

• The stimulation of understing each other’s way of thinking in order to develop future collaborations.

At the heart of this is dignity, the right to be valued and receive ethical treatment, which is based on concepts of inherent, inalienable rights ; also attentiveness in taking children and adults seriously and listening to their opinions and concerns, with patience, sincerity and kindness.

These important values directly map to the long tradition of the spirit of Caux conferences (Unselfishness, Honesty, Purity and Love).

Mission

CATS general mission is to promote children’s participation. By engaging participation, children and adults are themselves realizing children’s rights. This global aim can only be achieved by empowering children and adults, and this empowerment is threefold:

Empower within

Recognition of right to be heard

Belief in one’s abilities to succeed

Self-confidence

Enhanced knowledge

Dignity and self-worth

Spiritual awareness

Empower with

Building partnerships

Collaboration

Mutual support

Shared understanding

Valuing common strengths and experiences

Empower to

Fulfill dreams and aspirations

Challenge violations

Participate in decisions

Influence policies and legislation

Claim rights

Hold duty bearers accountable