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Engaging with youth for better futures

By December 6, 2019December 24th, 2023No Comments

Students of Monash University engage with youth groups faciliated by YUVA to better understand and respond to the urban

This week Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) brought its City Caravan, an engagement on co-creating inclusive cities with youth, to new audiences. Over 60 students from Monash University visited YUVA Centre, learned about YUVA’s work and participated in a frank exchange about youth and youth work across India and Australia, commonalities and differences, etc.

In the introduction round, potential improvements regarding safety, public transport, plastic waste and several aspects of gender equality in India and Australia were brought up, when every attendee named a change he/she/they wants to see in the city currently inhabited in.

Students putting up sticky notes mentioning the one change they want to bring about in their city

The Monash University students were then introduced to YUVA’s goals and provided with an overview of its fields of work. This was followed by an exciting session! Members of the youth group Aman ke Saathi (which loosely translates as Friends of Peace) introduced their collective, which has been faciliated by YUVA. Comprising about 60 members, Aman ke Saathi actively works towards a peaceful city by raising awareness on and engaging people in discussions on constitutional values like anti-discrimination and gender equality via street plays, songs and other creative formats.

Youth members of Aman Ke Saathi sharing their experience of campaign-building

Their presentation led to a wider discussion. It started with sharing of opinions on issues the youth group tries to generate awareness on, followed by discussions on the status quo of these topics in India and Australia, eventually moving to common challenges/issues/concerns faced across countries. For example, the challenge of homelessness across India and Australia, or the presence of racial/caste discrimination and gender stereotypes which affect youth in both these nations, got the youth talking more animatedly.

In the afternoon, youth across nations co-created strategies and action plans for specific campaigns in smaller groups, focusing more deeply on a specific topic.

This allowed for a more direct exchange on themes like gender and sex education, the acceptance of menstruation, waste management or sanitation. It also became clear that successful solutions from one country often cannot simply be transferred to improve the situation in another. For example, a full automation of waste management, such as in Australia would cause serious concerns in India, as the work of collecting and segregating of waste is done by families who have relied on the income derived from that work for generations.

Group interactions to understand issues and how they play out differently in different societies followed by groups presenting their campaigns

In addition to being a small step towards increasing mutual understanding across countries, the exchange led to a broad variety of fresh ideas to campaign for the discussed issues.

Ending the day on a happy note

After the group presentations, it was time to bid farewell to the visitors from Monash University. The mutually shared insights will stay in everyone’s minds, and the City Caravan is further enriched by these youth engagements.

Jakob Teigelkoetter, Intern, YUVA

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