Young Citizen Advocates off to a flying start

The Young Citizen Advocates series of events, planned by IDEAS as a way to engage directly with young people and support them to develop their views and voices on global issues, got off to a flying start last week with the inaugural event at Dunfermline High School.

There are further events planned throughout the year, including a residential event in late summer and a STEM event in September. The idea is to strengthen young people's engagement and participation ahead of the Year of Young People 2018.

The 9 June event, taking place the day after the general election, comprised three workshops - on Participation, Health & Wellbeing and Equality & Diversity. These themes were selected by young people themselves who took part in a poll and voted on which of the Year of Young People themes they thought should take priority.

Over 2000 young people took part in the poll, which showed the three chosen themes well ahead of the others.

At the event, 72 secondary students and 13 teachers attended, from 12 schools across Fife. Seven young people helped facilitate and 13 adult facilitators attended.

The keynote speaker was the inspiring Amal Azzudin of the Glasgow Girls, who told her real-life story of young people holding the government to account and changing things.

Spoken word artist Leyla Josephine also attended, and helped to energise the crowd, as well as performing a piece on mental wellbeing. You can see her full performance here.

A podcast giving a flavour of the event and its participants was produced by Third Works for IDEAS:



The three workshops mixed young people up in different groups and gave them a chance to discuss and decide on their priorities within their chosen theme and to think about how they might go about effecting change. Each group presented to the full audience after the workshop.

School groups also joined together to make pledges for the future. Awareness was raised of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and their relevance to local, national and interna‚Äčtional communities, after a baseline study showed that half of pupils were aware of the Goals, but half not.

As a brand new type of event for IDEAS, there has been a learning curve, and feedback included more icebreakers; improving representation amongst students attending events; and allowing young people more discussion time away from adult facilitators.

But on the whole everyone involved enjoyed the event and benefited from it - and we will build on the outcomes of this event in the future months.