Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider the role of young people in reducing and responding to disaster risk

A recent study found that the Canadian disaster news media framed young people in five different ways: “1. the vulnerable status of youth; 2. youth as passive bystanders; 3. children as a burden on adults; 4. youth as active agents; and 5. youth as a ‘legitimizing criteria’ in disaster response” (where certain response and recovery resources/actions are prioritized to enable young people to “bounce back” following crisis). The findings of this research highlight a need to shift the narrative and change how young people are framed in emergencies, to recognise their assets and potential roles in disaster risk reduction, emergency response and recovery efforts. Consider:

  • Meaningful, inclusive, collaborative and creative strategies to engage young people in all stages of disaster risk and risk management, e.g. Colombia: The school of our dreams where young people create music videos to teach others about the value of protective and protected schools:
    • Enable “Self-driven participation” (youth-owned and led engagement) where young people take ownership and identify risks, and manage the process and outcomes, supported by adults when necessary
    • Establish “Collaborative participation” (adult-owned and youth-led engagement) where adults establish collaboration and invite young people to support the identification of issues. Partnerships are established between adults and young people in a form of “inter-generational collaboration”, a partnership which allows young people to increase their levels of self-directed action over time
  • In the Philippines, children are participating in “school-watching programmes” where they gather information about risks that can be addressed by local school authorities. The children create hazard maps which can be shared to educate other students on risk and safety information
  • Recognise the role of young people in creating resilience in communities, e.g. Injuv (The National Youth Institute in Chile) who focus on ways in which young people can be involved, activated and mobilised in emergency response during crisis. They have been working to establish and ecosystem of permanent local youth volunteers, and connect young volunteers directly with voluntary organisations through an online volunteer platform (Transform Country Network)
  • Utilize the media to amplify the voices and efforts of young people as catalysts for change in their communities, to create a platform through which young people can share their ideas, opinions and concerns
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