Recent research and practice from the fields of climate change adaptation and disaster management has created a shift from emphasis of children’s vulnerability and need for protection towards their potential as agents of change before, during and after disaster events. This article examines lessons from action research into children’s agency in disaster-prone communities of El Salvador and the Philippines.
We describe some of the participatory risk management methods that were adapted for use with children,the centrality of ethics to our approach and the importance of working with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) partner that provides ongoing support in the study communities. The research design was led by external agents in order to cross-compare findings across locations and countries. However, we argue that by engaging children in a process of knowledge generation and analysis, the research broke down some of the assumed hierarchies between researcher and researched common to orthodox approaches