Child Led Indicators

A multi-step, participatory process in which children develop their own culturally grounded concepts on psychosocial wellbeing, desired outcomes, and indicators as a way of monitoring psychosocial programming outcomes. Developed by the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, the process is centered on empowering children to be actively involved in finding solutions to their own problems, largely as a way of engendering local buy-in and sustainability. While the process of involving local children is specific to each context, the general areas in which their participation is valuable are not—providing specific insights and experiences about their lived experiences; offering insight into what constitutes wellbeing within their socio-cultural contexts; and their knowledge of resources available to them in their communities. From these areas of knowledge and insight, psychosocial programming can occur. With psychosocial programming comes the development of program indicators, which are also informed by participating children. The multi-step process begins with a drawing exercise, in which selected children are asked to draw their heartmind, a Nepali symbol for emotion and memory, in which children are to depict both their positive and negative feelings. In subgroups, children are then asked by a facilitator to choose the most pressing issues confronting their lives today (sometimes gleaned from looking at their heartminds), and collectively share their answers with the group. Next, children are asked to think through (or draw) the cause and effect analysis of their main psychosocial problem— how the problem affects their lives, both now and in the future. This is followed by an analysis of objectives, in which children can positively describe their future situation, as though their main problem has been resolved. In this activity, children are asked to turn their ‘problems’ into positive ‘objectives’ that are both realistic and achievable. Afterwards, children are involved in resource mapping, in which they identify resources that will be both beneficial to their wellbeing and available in their communities. Children then list activities that they think will help them achieve their desired objectives. Finally, children design indicators that will help them measure their success in fulfilling originally determined objectives, and which will serve as indicators for program monitoring and evaluation.

Related Publications

Ben-Arieh, A. (2008). The child indicators movement: past, present, and future. Child Indicators Research, 1(1), 3-16.

What it measures

Pyschosocial and emotional wellbeing


Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal




Karki, R., Kohrt, B. A., & Jordans, M. J. (2009). Child Led Indicators: pilot testing a child participation tool for psychosocial support programmes for formal child soldiers in Nepal. Intervention, 7(2), 92-109.