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Children as Actors for Transforming Society- Young Advocates for Change

About the project

Take a look at our full Booklet"10 Things You Should Know about the CATS Conference"

More info on CATS 2014 on our websiteCatsConference

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Follow us on Twitter: @CATS_Caux

Children and adults, side-by-side

CATS is a unique space where children, young people and adults are working together in mutual respect towards a more just, inclusive and sustainable society, where all can realize their fundamental human rights and potential.

Over six days, the Caux Palace becomes a meeting place for a community of advocates fighting for the rights and well-being of children.

CATS is a powerful learning experience for all ages where:

Children develop their expertise as advocates, so they can go back to their own communities with will power and skills to make a positive difference

Adults are equipped with cutting edge ideas and practices on children’s participation. It enables them to work with meaningful partnership with children to bring about change

Both children and adults understand together the contribution that each can make to realize children’s fundamental human right to participate in transforming society and realizing their unique potential

The CATS conference wants to change the world in four ways:

Connecting: Together, we are stronger

Connecting all people and organisations in the world that are working on the participation of children and young people. Offering them a space to learn from each other and to find a common voice. During and after CATS, people including youth as advocates and organizations will create networks, making it easier to stay in contact later and exchange ideas on specific topics regarding children’s participation.

Cross-sector: Children don’t grow up in separate boxes

Support different sectors with impact in children’s lives - like health, education, economy - in working together. Help them find a common language for child participation.

Mainstreaming: Nothing about us, without us

Make child participation a reality everywhere. Support people, organisations and countries in finding the best ways to listen to children and involve them in decisions that affect them.

Showcasing: Live a real experience

All people attending CATS have the willingness to make the world a better place, especially with and for children and young people. The CATS ambiance is one that includes meeting interesting people, having deep conversations and learning something new. The safety of this space means that people can be candid and accepted as they are and not be judgmental of others. Unique life experiences make a child and a young person who they are.


The weekly program is built upon a dynamic schedule based on a daily theme:

Saturday 26th: Opening day

Sunday 27th: Children as Advocates

Monday 28th: Children as Educators

Tuesday 29th: Children as Peace Builders & Mediators

Wednesday 30th: Children as Health Activist

Thursday 31st: Children as Media Makers

Friday 1st: Wrap-up

CATS is hosted by Initiatives of Change at their conference centre, Caux Palace, which is situated in the mountains overlooking Montreux and Lake Geneva, Switzerland. The first CATS conference took place in July 2013. Subsequent conferences are scheduled to take place from 2014 - 2017, and potentially beyond.

This summer, participants will exchange their experiences, points of view and good practices thanks to:

Plenary Sessions: Introduction of daily theme followed by cutting edge inputs from children and adults. All about sharing points of view and experiences from all over the world.

Workshops: Develop your own competence in different topics about  children’s participation.

“One-Dat” Workshops (1 session/day - 90 min)

Ongoing Workshops (4 sessions/days x 90min)

Committees: Decorate the palace with flowers, perform in a theater piece or connect the conference to the world through filming and social media by participating in one of the committees (at the same time as workshops)

Simulation: Role-play for all participants simulating a children’s court where real cases are discussed (Morning of Children as Peacebuilders and Mediators)

Community Discussion Groups: Reflect and discuss the daily themes and your experiences in the conference in a group different ages, cultures and experiences.

The Hub: Epicenter of ideas exchange. Organise an activity, share your work or simple post your ideas and impressions for others.

Evening Programs: socializing and fun events to finish the day on an optimistic tone while reflecting on the learning of each day.


A varied, creative, inclusive and fun programme co-designed and co-led by children and adults

A unique space for adults and children to come together and live in mutual respect and understand the contribution that each can make to transforming society

An opportunity for participants to deepen their knowledge of children’s participation and challenges attitudes and beliefs about what children are capable of achieving

Cutting edge insights into the theories and practices of children’s participation

A global space, with all continents represented

Ethical and meaningful participation of children and young people in planning, implementing and monitoring CATS.

What are the funds for?

The conference will be the meeting place for an international community of people representing all corners of the planet, however financing this is not so easy. Children's delegations from different continents need help financing their transport to Switzerland (last year we already had children from South America, Africa, and Europe), as well has for housing. A big team of committed individuals is working year round on this conference to make all this possible, they too need help with financing the trip and conference. 

Here are some key points of what the funds will be used for:

  • paying children's delegations to come to Caux and stay for one week
  • paying for the Core Team to come to the conference and continue it's work
  • paying for the stay of workshop leaders, committee leaders, and children's facilitators
  • paying for the materials needed for all the activities that will take place during the weeklong conference

About the project owner

CATS is a partnership between three organizations and a diversity of different individuals. 


Initiatives of Change (France), the initiator of the CATS project– Children as Actors for Transforming, is part of a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behavior, starting with their own.  

Child to Child Trust (England) is an association with international standing. Their mission is to enable and empower young people worldwide to reach their full potential and achieve their rights by promoting the holistic health, well-being of themselves, their families, and their communities. 

Universal Education Foundation (Belgium) is an association with of vision of “Inclusive and supportive societies where children and adults respect each other as competent partners and learn how to realize their unique potential throughout their lives”.  

Core Team - Meeting, April 2014