Dutch Caribbean youths debate about their advice for the future

Kralendijk, The Bottom, Saba, Oranjestad, St. Eustatius, Philipsburg, Oranjestad, Aruba, Willemstad – Children between the age of 13 and 18 from Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba are participating with the UNICEF project ‘My New World’. In the past months they have formulated advice about how their new world should look in light of the ongoing corona crisis. The children will discuss their advice with each other in debates and with representatives from the government.

Advice per island

The children have spoken about the question: what is important for me considering the ongoing corona crisis. What topics should the government work on?

On Curacao, the children emphasize, among other things, a special point of contact to discuss the stress they experience due to the corona crisis.  The advice from Aruba includes, among other things, the necessity of educational innovation, which varies from a better digital offer to establishing a student council at schools. The youth on Sint Maarten also want standardizing of the offer of digital classes and an expansion of better access to sport activities.  In general, an urgent need to be heard arises from the youth of Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. The reports with the advice will be offered to representatives of the government on all three of the islands.

A similar trajectory has been taking place on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba since September. In Sint. Eustatius the emphasis of the advice is, among other things, on good online schooling with operable material (internet connection and laptops) and teachers that are specifically trained for this. The youth of Saba find professional sport activities important. For example basketball, football and volleyball, that is guided by professional sport trainers. Participation takes first place for the youth from Bonaire. They would like to have a voice when it comes to topics that concern them directly, such as cheaper school supplies and affordable public transportation. The youth also want there to be more attention to their mental health and professionals that can guide them with this.

Debates & discussions

On November 20th, World Children’s Day, the youth will be debating with each other about their advice. Children from Sint Maarten will be debating with children from Sint Eustatius and Saba. Children from Bonaire will be debating with children from Curacao and Aruba. The children have been preparing for this during some lively debate and lobby trainings. The debates can be followed via livestream:

In the week of November 23rd, it is the governments turn. The youth form the six islands have a conversation with the government concerning their advice. Furthermore, a few of the children from Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will have a digital conversation with the state secretary Raymond Knops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations and with parliament member Stieneke van der Graaf. These conversations will be the conclusion of the UNICEF project ‘My New World’.

Child/ Youth participation

The ‘My New World’ project in the Dutch Caribbean is a cooperation between UNICEF, the governments of the six islands and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations. With the #MyNewWorld project UNICEF and the governments emphasize the importance of giving children the chance to express their opinions on topics that concerns them.

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