Rojas, Vanessa (2016). ¿Cómo perciben los niños, niñas y adolescentes el rol del Estado? Reflexiones a partir de los servicios de educación y salud. Documento de Investigación, 81. Lima: GRADE.

This paper uses qualitative data from the Young Lives longitudinal study in the years 2007, 2008, and 2011. The aim is to study the perceptions of children and adolescents in rural and urban contexts from educational and health services in order to understand how they perceive the role of the Peruvian government. Moreover, due to the longitudinal nature of the study, this document allows for the analysis of their perceptions regarding improvements and risks in the place where they grew up; thus, it will enable further discussion on how children’s citizenship is exercised.

The results of this qualitative study suggest that children and adolescents in urban and rural communities understand that the government is present in their own communities: they value their access to public services, but also critique the poor quality of the services they receive. Government is present, but without equity or transparency. State institutions appear to give the message that they are not there to ensure the benefit of all—quite the contrary. The authorities or officials offering the service benefit (salary, status, privileges, bribes, etc.) at the expense of users (children and adolescents), without respecting or recognizing users’ citizenship. In this sense, the role of government is perceived as having a weak democratic character where a sense of insecurity prevails. This shows that children have been in a constant process of gaining an incomplete citizenship, starting with their first experiences with public institutions.