Youth Work Ireland have a long and distinguished record of speaking outh with and on behalf of young people, and those who work with them. We believe that this view of our duty to advocate with and for young people and their rights distinguished our model and approach to youth work. In more recent years we have promoted a greater role for unmediated voices of young people direcly in our advocacy work. Our work in this area is informed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and best practice for those over 18. We recognise the different layers in our organisation and the need for advocacy work to reflect these and the work we do in our communities every day.
Young People have the Right to have their Voice Heard when decisions are made about things that affect them. In Ireland young people can influence decisions that matter to them through Comhairle na nÓg, Dáil na nÓg, in Local Youth Services and on Youth Councils. But many want to do more!
Decisions get made about young people all the time. The media is an area that influences decisions about young people. But, the media in Ireland does not often give young people a chance to have their voice heard. Instead, young people are often shown negatively in media stories about crime, alcohol and anti-social behaviour. These stories lead to a negative view of young people in society.
Voices of Youth gives young people the chance to have their Voices heard by decision makers and in the Media.
When young people have their voice they can change the negative view of young people in society. They can challenge negative stories and present the positive things that young people do. By presenting their views in the media and to decision makers young people can also influence issues that matter to them.
Voices of Youth gives Irish young people the chance to influence decisions about issues that matter to them
Young people from Sudan, Poland, Bangladesh (Rohingya) Bosnia, Ireland, Romania and many other backgrounds will come together today at Dublin’s Mansion House with the Lord Mayor and Minister Aodhan O’Riordain to ask the question ‘integration - is it working for young people?’. The event, which is part of the Polska Eireann Festival, was organised by Joanna Siewierska and other members of Voices of Youth gave young people from diverse backgrounds the chance to make recommendations directly to decision makers on how best to include them in integration policies now and in the future.
The young people examined what works well in Ireland and what needs to improve. Also participating in this event was experts from the New Communities Partnership, the Second Level Students Union and the Islamic Community.
Youth Work Ireland has launched an online poster campaign calling for a Yes Vote in the referendum on reducing the age for presidential candidates. We believe the second referendum on the age to be a candidate for President has received no real attention from amongst the political establishment. Our Campaign will consist of a number of online posters highlighting the caliber and ability of several under 35s who could not be candidates currently using the hashtag “#not2young”. The organisation emphasizes it has no money to spend on campaigning.
Youth Work Ireland facilitated a Children’s and Young Peoples Constitutional Convention in April 2013. As the selection method for participatiion in the National Constitutional Convention Committee excluded young people, we felt that the voices of young people needed to be heard in this important matter.
Our Constitutional Convention meeting took place in the Mansion House, on Saturday April 20th as part of Youth Work Ireland Week and was chaired by Tom Arnold. At the end of this event Tom Arnold invited the Voices of Youth group to attend the national meeting of the Constitutional Convention and give their feedback.
A Voices of Youth and Youth Work Ireland Event
This event brought together young people from across the country to express their views on the rights of students and rules in their schools. They looked at topics ranging from uniforms, hair and make up to ensuring that school rules change with the times and connect with the lives of young people.
Feedback was collected from young people working in four different workshops during the day and there was a Questions and Answers session at the end with experts such as the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, The Equality Authority and The Children’s Rights Alliance” said Joanna Siewerska (17) co-chair of the events.