“jung&weise” (“young & wise”) – Youth participation

The “young & wise” participation programme was developed by the “Welt der Kinder” (“World of Children”) network under the direction of Carmen Feuchtner and funded by the Vorarlberg municipalities/regions, the Vorarlberg state government and Weitblick GmbH. It aims to support adolescents in formulating their concerns and then implementing them in their own living environment. They collect ideas for projects and initiatives, examine them together with experts in the field or in dialogue between generations, and then take action. “young & wise” is a follow-up project for children who have played the World Peace Game and now want to become active themselves for the issues that move them. At the community level, the children also create their own newspaper, the “Kinderstimme” (“Children’s Voice”), with support from World of Children, where they can present their projects and initiatives to the public.

Keywords:

child participation, children’s rights, generation dialogues, children’s café, project work with children and adolescents, children’s newspaper

Initial Situation

Austria signed the Charter of Children’s Rights formulated by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as early as 1990 and elevated it to constitutional status in 2011. In addition to other important rights, it also stipulates the priority of the best interests of the child in all matters that directly affect the child, as well as the right to co-determination and participation in political and private decisions. As a society, we have the responsibility to enforce these rights.

Solution Approach

Through the continuous support of children and adolescents by leading members of the “World of Children” network, they’re provided an opportunity to make use of their right to co-determination, participation, education as well as play and leisure and to actively participate in the decision-making processes in their living environment.

The Project

  • “young & wise” builds on and continues the “World of Children” child participation programme. At primary school age, children receive an introduction to children’s rights and decision-making processes in their municipalities in the form of seminars. Children are supported in making their concerns heard in the form of their own children’s conferences and develop child-driven programmes and projects.
  • Building on this, adolescents are given an opportunity to deepen their insights in the World Peace Game and to develop and implement their own projects. Within the framework of different event formats, broad networking is subsequently carried out in the “professional village” (of NGOs), at community level and via media in society as a whole. Weitblick GmbH is a co-sponsor of the programme development of “World of Children”: Half of the support for the World Peace Games, the generation dialogues jung&weise and the networking work to disseminate the programme outside Vorarlberg are mainly made possible by Weitblick GmbH.

The Effects

  • Direct results (output): children know their rights and make important self-efficacy experiences in actively shaping their environment and co-environment.
  • Medium-term effects (outcome): the political culture of the communities involved is strengthened and the children and adolescents are encouraged to take responsibility.
  • Long-term effects (impact): implementation of children’s rights and strengthening of democratic awareness, and the upcoming generation meets the challenges of our time with confidence and self-assurance.
Mag. Matthias Mittelberger

Contact

Mag. Matthias Mittelberger

Cooperation Partners

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