National conversation about issues children face shared for World Children’s Day
To acknowledge World Children’s Day (20 November), UNICEF Australia has released the results of a three-pronged national conversation with children and young people, called #WorldChildrensSay, about the issues that they consider to most impact upon their lives in Australia.
#WorldChildrensSay consists of the submissions from a social media campaign, a conference with five to 12-year-olds, and the results of a national UNICEF Australia survey of children and young people aged 10 to 16 years.
To enable all children living in Australia to be heard on issues that matter to them, UNICEF Australia has been running a social media campaign that encourages children across the country to submit their ideas for changing the world for the better.
With the help of an adult, UNICEF Australia has been asking children to use the #WorldChildrensSay hashtag when posting and sharing videos, photos, drawings and messages that highlight their wishes, dreams and ambitions for the future.
Alongside the campaign, the Children’s VOICE Conference, was held on Sunday, 17 November, at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in partnership with UNICEF Australia, and co-designed by children, was framed around the Sustainable Development Goals and is a first-of-its-kind.
Children aged five to 12 years old discussed the issues they most care about and their practical ideas for how children and adults can work together to change the world for the better.
Thirteen-year-old activist and author Bella Burgemeister, who spoke at the conference said, “As kids, we don’t have many choices about who runs our country, or even our city, but we do have a choice to make small changes that can have a big impact – like speaking up when our voices are needed or tackling issues in our own community.”
Dr Gemma Scarparolo and Dr Fiona Mayne, from UWA’s Graduate School of Education, created the conference with the aim of providing a platform for children to share their ideas in a positive forum and to help them feel empowered to contribute to making change.
Dr Mayne said, “Children are the voice of change and adults are starting to listen. Even young children have important things to say and everyone can be part of change, no matter how old or young they are. What starts as a local initiative in a school or community can quickly gain momentum. The important thing is that we all take action together.”
“Children and young people have so many creative and practical ideas about how to solve the issues they are facing,” said Nicole Breeze, Director of Australian Programs and Child Rights for UNICEF Australia. “When we adults stop and listen to children, we find that they have so many innovative and imaginative ideas to make their lives and communities better places for everyone.”
World Children’s Day is celebrated on 20 November every year and is a fun day with a serious message. It marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, 30 years ago.