YOUTH AMBASSADORS FOR THE UN-RIGHTS OF A CHILD &SDGs
At the moment, we have 26 youth ambassadors aged 14 to 20 years from all over Vorarlberg, who signed up for the program and have been working on the Children’s Rights Project since May 2013. We discuss topics that particularly move us. However, according to our motto “Laber net – Tua was!” – (in English) “Walk your Talk” – we also work out projects and put them into practice: In Austria and also in Ehtiopia!
We meet every first Saturday each month in the office for foreign affairs in Dornbirn. There we don’t only put up our workshop contents for schools, but we also work on ideas to bring the UN-memorial days and the SDG’s to attention.
We want to make sure that more and more people are confronted with the Rights of a Child and the Sustainable Development Goals to raise awareness of the constant violations and problems around the globe.
It is about time that young people get more involved in solving global problems and shaping their future by taking the initiative.
Finally I want to give you something to think about:
Maybe only 25 % of the world’s population are young people like us….
But still…. we will be 100 % of the future.
”Giant children of the UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child“
From February until August 2015, we built ten “Giant Children”(height: 2,9 m!), figures each of them representing one of the basic rights of the Convention on the Rights of a Child.
The Giant Children are definitely eye-catching, but they also fulfill their mission: to be silent witnesses of the many bad things that are happening to children all over the world.
Besides several exhibition places, we submitted our “Giant Children“ at the regional and interregional “Youth Project Competition“ (in Vaduz FL) in October 2015 and won the second price twice!
It was a great honor for us, to exhibit our “Giant Children” in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Austria in the Rotunda of the United Nations in Vienna in February 2017and in the Austrian Parliament in March 2017. Another door was opened to us – in February 2018 we were invited to exhibit the Giant Children in the ‘Salle de pas perdus” in the UN Geneva. Besides over 100 visitors, our Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen opened the exhibition, which made this event very special to us.
MUSICALS on the Rights of a Child & the SDGs:
*2014 The Youth Ambassadors performed “Stand up!” (about the rights and duties of children) alongside the Musical Company “groovaloos!”, a musical which was produced in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the UN Children’s Rights Convention. By reaching over 3000 young people and school classes, they did not only inform, but also raised awareness. It was a real challenge to break down this complex topic (dealing with UN themes, ratification, rights and duties) into 10 musical scenes! https://vimeo.com/128866385 (also available on DVD)
*Our current musical production SOLVE IT for the publication of the SDGs was a great success!
‘SOLVE IT- time is running!’ was premiered in June 2018 in Vorarlberg (Western Austria), to create awareness for students and adults – (basically everyone unaware!) about the meaning of this global agenda. By representing each SDG individually, in a unique and creative way on stage, far away from classroom teaching style, we did not only catch the young people’s interest, but also supported teachers in their educational function.
With the 9 performances of this educational musical, we could reach around 2400 people here in Vorarlberg/Austria.
Again the young people (Youth ambassadors & “groovaloos!”) were involved 100% in the implementation, scriptwriting and layout.
In response to the great demand, SOLVE IT will be performed again this Fall 2018!
Another highlight was the first prize at the Children’s Rights-Filmclip-Competition of the Austrian Ministry of Youth and Family in the category “Dreaming of a child orientated world” in 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ywz-GbWGOE
In 2015 we made third place in the 2. Children’s Rights-Filmclip-Competition of the Austrian Ministry of Youth and Family in the category “moments of inconceivable happiness…or unhappy times” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vABpgn__Nc
In September 2016 our “Giant Children Exhibition” was designated for ”Places of Respect 2016“.
We are happy to announce our first prize voted for our “Musical SOLVE IT - time is running!”within the environmental week performed by ‘Sustainable Austria’. Two Youth Ambassador are invited to attend the HLPF 2018 (High-Level-Political-Forum-on sustainable development) from 9th to 14th July in New York!
Interactive World Map for Children’s Rights
On the Sparkassen Platz in Bregenz, the youth ambassadors helped create an oversized painting of the world map, surrounded with letters spelling the basic rights of the United Nations. The world map has a diameter of 10 metres and was officially introduced to the public on May 5th, 2015 in cooperation with a school class from Bregenz in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of a Child 2015.
The workshops the youth ambassadors developed have different themes:
Definition of violence, Right to expression, Right to food and water… among others.
They are being introduced mostly in primary schools.
YOUTH AMBASSADORS IN ETHIOPIA:
Thanks to cooperation with the Foreign Department, we were able to start our own projects in the South of Ethiopia in 2015. Together with young people from a streetchildren project in Addis Abeba, using the same topics and working on the same goals with a different approach is challenging but encouraging at the same time.
Due to lack of internet access, we have been handwriting lots of letters to famiiarize each other with our different culture, traditions, problems and our way of living.
Although we are thousands of kilometers apart, and our living conditions could not possibly be more different, 12 of our Youth Ambassador team traveled to Ethiopia in July 2017 to meet the young people.
After fundraising 30.000€ within 7 months, we were able to implement three great projects of their own:
*Through planting 300 mango-seedlings in Dodota Dembel, they could support and secure Ethiopian families livelihood. With this active and ecologically sustainable tree planting programme they also set an example for climate protection.
*In Graba Fila the Youth ambassadors financed the construction of four school toilets, built “tippy-taps” and implemented workshops on hygiene and sanitation promotion.
“Catchies” to produce washable sanitary pads for girls. With this project, they can counteract absent days in school during menstruation and prevent young women from dropping out of school.
Through our trips and projects abroad which aim at contributing to SDGs, we form a special connection with young people on another continent which in turn is crucial for the success of these projects.
We are planning to continue our projects in the summer of 2019.
The project YOUTH AMBASSADORS is very much orientated towards the children’s interest and takes into consideration the expectations of their school engagements.
Project coordinator: Nicole Kantner