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Beneficiaries are the children, young people and/or women your project is designed to help. When you plan your project, you should think carefully on which beneficiaries, exactly, the project will have an impact. ‘Children’ includes any person up to the age of 18 (this is in line with international conventions), while ‘young people’ is used to cover people aged 12 to 25. This group includes ‘teenagers’, ‘adolescents’ and ‘youth’, terms that are often used quite loosely. ‘Women’ means female people aged 18 or over. If you want to include teenage girls in this group, then you should specify ‘Women and young people’ as your beneficiary groups. While these broad terms will be used to categorize your project in the Daphne files, the actions you undertake will most probably be targeted at a smaller range of beneficiaries, for example “children between the ages of 5 and 11”, or “women who are single heads of households”. Many projects say they aim to help ‘children, young people and women’ (maybe because the project leader thinks this will give the project a better chance of being chosen – it doesn’t!). Clearly this is unrealistic; a project that aims so broadly is likely to be unfocused and its impact will be dispersed. The more specific you can be with the beneficiary group you are aiming to help, the more likely it is that the actions you design will be tailored to this group and so more likely to have an impact on them.
You should also attempt to include beneficiaries as active participants in your projects where this is appropriate. Children and young people have opinions about the issues affecting them and a right to express these opinions. They also have good ideas about solutions that might work, and they understand the problem differently and often better than those who want to help. So give them a chance to be involved at all stages of the project, from planning to measuring the results. Women who have been victims of violence, or are in a high-risk situation, also have a unique view of the problem the project aims to address and should be involved at all stages of the project. In all instances, though, you must take steps to ensure that people at risk, or those who have already encountered violence, are protected and given the support they need. Their individual situations must be considered and, for example, their right to privacy and confidentiality should be respected. This is particularly true in any project that includes communication elements that may expose beneficiaries to the scrutiny of the media, or the general public. The best way to be sure that beneficiaries’ rights are respected is to consult them throughout the project and take their views into account.