Annually, several cities in the world are holding elections to appoint a new children's mayor. The elections have been established to involve children in cities and in their governance.
In Gouda, The Netherlands, primary school students may enroll for the elections. Then they can present themselves and their ideas to a jury consisting of children and members of the city council Eventually, a city mayor will be elected for one a year and he or she is allowed to work with the city council.
In Leeds, England, this election is being held for thirteen years now. Nineteen primary schools participate in the elections.
Transformational Measures and Activities
Examples of Gouda Children’s Mayor:
-A buddy for sick children;
-A cultural market where residents of different nationalities can get to know each other better;
-A special day for regional food.
Examples of Leeds Children’s Mayor, coming from their website:
-Collection of toys and teddies for refugees and asylum seekers;
-Special kindness assemblies which will include talking about kindness in school, in the community and global kindness;
-Secret 'kindness ninjas' who will give out special stickers to children who make kind choices;
-Collecting donations of tins, nappies and cuddly toys for PAFRAS;
-Raising money for Guide Dogs for the Blind;
-Holding a tea party for the local community, including a performance from the school choir and a hand-made Easter card to take home;
-A compliments box which pupil and staff can put compliments in which will be read out each day.
-The interests of children are represented in the city council;
-The activities and ideas that children come up with are implemented;
-It is a learning experience for the children;
-Having children in the city council is refreshing for the city council.
Challenges, Opportunities and Transferability
This bottom-up approach can be performed in multiple cities. Cities can exchange knowledge about the guidance of the children's mayors and the activities they organize.