Children’s Voices in a Changing World
UNICEF Australia recently published their 2021 Young Ambassador Report ‘Children’s Voices in a Changing World’, providing an important insight into how children and young people feel about the world they are set to inherit. Many of the voices captured in the report reflect a population who are politically engaged and keyed into social movements.
Not only are ready to roll up their sleeves and be apart of the solution, but many children and young people have a lot to offer. With extraordinary energy and creativity they can help shape solutions to the big issues facing the world.
The one thing they need is for today’s leaders to listen to them, to work with them and to take action for a sustainable and equitable future.
Children and young people say they are and want to be, part of the solution to problems they identified. They want their lived experiences and opinions to be considered in policy discussions. Children and young people are citizens, rights holders and consumers of services who are often left out of key decision-making processes.
Creating a better world for children and young people
Based on the voices of children and young people surveyed, UNICEF Australia are calling on decision-makers to take decisive action in the following areas
- Accelerating COVID-19 recovery
- Improving mental health and wellbeing
- Protecting the environment and tackling climate change
- Fostering equality and inclusion
- Enhancing Learning
- Supporting child and youth participation and building trust
Particularly poignant in the report, is the need for supporting youth participation and building trust. Young people have only limited opportunities to share their views on important issues, particularly outside their home and school.
- Two out of three (64%) young Australians aged 13-17 say that they are rarely or never consulted nor given
opportunities to participate in important government-related issues that affect them.
- A majority (51%) also feel similarly excluded from consultation and participation in community
issues that affect them.
- More than half (57%) say they feel always or mostly consulted at home,
- One in three (36%) say they are usually consulted or given opportunities to participate in issues at school that affect them.
“It is imperative that we listen to children and young people, and ensure they have a voice in issues that affect them. This is a right enshrined in Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But it is also critical to ensure that the policy decisions taken to support children and young people are indeed the right ones. In short, listening to children and young people is the smart thing to do, as well as the right thing to do.”