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New Zealand – Porirua City
The Porirua City Youth Development Strategy offers a good example of an integrated strategy for children and youth developed through a holistic approach to addressing issues related to children and youth on a participatory basis. As children and young people (0-24 years) make up 40% of the total city population, it was found of utmost importance to better assist children and youth in their development and participation opportunities. The Porirua City Long Term Council Community Plan 2006-2016 states on this end that ‘young people are innovative, optimistic and energetic participants.’ Following this Plan, the Porirua City Council has developed a Youth Development Strategy in 2007 with the objective of strengthening young people’s participation in local decision-making processes, including within the City’s Council’s. The strategy is based on the outcome of consultations on community priorities and a recent review of the Youth Council and of youth participation activities in general.
The Council wants to create opportunities for young people to participate in decision-making processes, local recreation activities, educational and employment opportunities and in Council initiatives. The latter will be realised by implementing the Ministry of Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa of 2002, which supports young people aged 12-24 to participate actively in society. The six principles of the National Youth Development Strategy of 2002 form the basis for the local strategy and include:
1. The Big Picture
As children are shaped and influenced by many factors (such as family, friends, their culture, school etc.) it is important to see things in a broad frame.
2. Being Connected
It is important to link the people in a child’s life to each other, so that children feel safe, supported and heard.
3. Being Strengths-Based
This principle looks at the positive side of life, e.g. to create opportunities, learning, earning, growth etc., instead of the challenges of a child’s life such as crime, drugs and truancy.
4. Quality Relationships
It is important for a child to be respected and taken seriously, but this goes both ways. Children need to understand others as well and build relationships on respect, understanding and good communication. Talking and listening is therefore very important.
Children need to be involved, be included and heard.
6. Good Information
It is important to find use and understand updated information on children’s wellbeing. It helps decision making processes.
Activities to implement the foregoing include:
Providing services to allow young people to engage within their communities (such as sports and recreation), employ a Youth Development Advisor as an advocate for youth in the City Council, provide youth development trainings to Council officers, increase youth involvement and re-establish a forum for youth to work with the City Council, create new youth-specific activities, policies and programmes, identify good practices and evaluate local guidelines and the possibility of a web-based approach for informing youth about City and youth issues.
Even though the strategy does not make specific reference to the Child Friendly City Initiative, it does on the other hand work on making it more child-friendly. Some of the CFC Building Blocks are at the centre of this effort, in particular the one related to child participation. The strategy offers a practical model for addressing child-friendly issues in an inter-sectoral way, and gives children the opportunity to participate and make themselves heard.
For more information:
New Zealand’s Agenda for Children
The Agenda for Children is part of the New Zealand Government’s broader “Action for Child and Youth Development” work programme, which combines the implementation of the Agenda for Children with the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa. This government programme is conducted by the Ministry of Social Development in close collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs. The Agenda for Children is aimed at making New Zealand a great place for children. It has a vision, a set of principles to guide decision-making, new ways of developing child policies and services, and a programme of action for the Government. These were developed by talking to New Zealanders: children, young people and government specialists. The Agenda raises children’s status in society and promotes a “whole child” approach to developing government policy and services affecting children. The Agenda for Children focuses on children aged between 0-17 years inclusively.
The Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa is available from theMinistry of Youth Affairs website.
For more information about The Agenda for Children visit theMinistry of Social Development website.
Ministry of Social Development
P.O. Box 12-136
The CFC Secretariat has produced an in-dept documentation on Christchurch City Council Initiatives in New Zealand (see Good Practices section)