Regional Youth Voices Forums

What is this project about?
The Regional Youth Voices Forums is a project that involves a collection of forum style consultations being undertaken with young people living in regional SA throughout 2019. The idea for the project came from two major consultation tours the Commissioner has undertaken with children and young people living in regional South Australia in 2017 and 2018 ( See background information below)

The Commissioner will be meeting with diverse groups of young people from across South Australia’s regional centres with the aim of exploring how they want to contribute to their communities. The forums are designed to assist the Commissioner in identifying future directions for her advocacy work specific to regional young people and will focus on identifying particular needs young people would like addressed.  This includes finding ways to ensure they are connected with their communities to harness their collective voice, drive change in the issues impacting on them directly and through change support their capacity to achieve their aspirations. Over the long term the Regional Youth Voices project will work with young people to develop an advocacy platform, utilising asset building tools to develop ways to respond effectively to issues they face and establishing processes by which they’re recommendations for solutions to these issues can be communicated to decision makers including opportunities for them to be represented in relevant decision making groups.

Background:
Children and young people across South Australia have shared with the Commissioner their strong desire to participate in decisions that impact on their lives. In her 2017 Listening Tour, the Commissioner visited children and young people in six regional centres and heard about the importance of children and young people feeling proud of where they lived, including how they did not necessarily want to leave their towns but wanted more opportunities to be available within them.  In 2018, on her follow up Hopes and Dreams tour, the Commissioner held a series of conversations with children and young people in another eight regional SA centres.  The consultations were an opportunity for the Commissioner to deepen her understanding of the issues faced by SA’s regional children and young people, and with their permission to share these concerns and recommendations formulated with key people in their communities, particularly in relation to what they believe could help them achieve their hopes and dreams. Throughout these conversations, the Commissioner heard how important it is for young people living in regional South Australia to participate in their communities and to be able to be a part of decision making that impacts directly upon them.

Project Aims:

  • To develop young people’s skills to respond to issues which arise in their communities.
  • To promote young people’s participation in their communities and to showcase them as leaders, now and in to the future.
  • To work with local partners to recruit and support participants in organizing and running the forum events.
  • To empower young people to develop solutions to community issues that impact directly on them.
  • To develop the capacity for community members to engage with young people in conversation and on issues that they have identified as having impacting their lives.
  • To connect young people with decision makers to assist them to advocate for changes they want to see in their communities.
  • To understand what the of process of change events are, who they want to involve, and how they want to involve community partners and decision makers in addressing issues that affect them.