Participative approaches: building disaster resilience with Children and Young People

Save the Children, Italy

Collaborating with children and communities helps build children’s resilience and ensure that disaster management fully addressed children’s needs and perspectives. When children are given the opportunity to share their opinions and thoughts, this significantly contributes to reducing their vulnerability before, during and after disasters. Moreover, children introduce fresh ideas and perceptions of the surrounding world and they can have a sophisticated understanding of disasters. This workshop will explore different participative methodologies to work with children and young people and is run by Save the Children Italy staff and young people representing those who participated in the Italian CUIDAR workshops.

 

Collaborating with children and communities helps build children’s resilience and ensure that disaster management fully addressed children’s needs and perspectives. When children are given the opportunity to share their opinions and thoughts, this significantly contributes to reducing their vulnerability before, during and after disasters. Moreover, children introduce fresh ideas and perceptions of the surrounding world and they can have a sophisticated understanding of disasters. The Save the Children Italy workshop aimed to explore different participative methodologies to work with children and young people and it was co-designed and run collaboratively with   young people from among those who participated in the original Italian CUIDAR workshops: two from Ancona, two from Crotone and two from Genova.

Two earlier consultations were held with the CUIDAR youth groups to think about different possibilities and to share ideas about the main aim of the workshop and possible activities. They decided to run a workshop based on the “Community mapping” activity, an exercise that all of them found very important because it helped them get to know their community better, the hazards and possible risks present in their area but also the resources and capacities available before, during and after emergency situations. They also decided to co-lead and facilitate the Finale workshop in English with some help from StC Italy staff.

Our workshop named “Participative approaches: building disaster resilience with Children and Young People” took place in the Sala Polivalente with  around 35 participants  StC Italy staff and young people and other CUIDAR partners.

After a short introduction about the youth group, the young people explained the first activity of the workshop, the “CUIDAR City map” activity its aim and methodology and divided the participants present in the room into three groups. A deck of cards were delivered to the groups. One group was responsible for  identifying the hazards and possible risks present in the imaginary CUIDAR city map  affixed to  the wall, the other group was responsible for  identifying resources and capabilities of the community with a specific focus on  relevance in children and young people’s lives. The young people sat in on each group to support the adults  and to discuss  their points of view and specific needs. The results were then shared in plenary and the cards were stuck onto the map to build the CUIDAR City risks and resources map.

Feedback from the workshop:
Then the young people explained the second activity: the reflection and identification of children’s needs, resources and capacities in the different phases of emergencies, thinking about these from a children and young people perspective. After 15 minutes the results were shared in plenary.

–              Both young people and adults reported that they enjoyed the activity and the discussion between them;

–              The young people were pleased because their expectations expressed during the workshop planning were met. They felt listened to during the workshop; they felt satisfied because they co-lead an international workshop, communicating in English and were understood by   adult participants coming from different countries;

–              For the adults it   was difficult to ‘think as children’, they often reverted to thinking as adults despite the workshop’s instruction;

–              The young people were satisfied because they could show their final communication products (leaflets, maps, webpage, etc.) from the CUIDAR project in Italy to a wider and international audience.

[Anna Grisi, Save the Children, Italy]