Kralendijk , The Bottom, Saba , Oranjestad, St. Eustatius – UNICEF launched the project “My New World” on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Dozens of young people have thought about the question what their ideal world will look like after corona. Answers to this question have been incorporated into an advice that young people present to the local authorities and to the Dutch government.
In close coordination with the secondary schools on each of the three islands, a number of participants were selected to participate in focus groups, in which they brainstormed and worked on the recommendations. Young people between the ages of 13 and 18 have expressed their opinion on topics that affect them. Themes that come up include attention for the mental health of young people, a safer environment for cycling and sports and more affordable healthy food such as fruit and vegetables. Local education specialists helped the young people turn their ideas into policy advice. On Bonaire, UNICEF Netherlands works with Hermine Dongen, who facilitates the focus groups and supports young people in formulating their advice. “The young people enthusiastically indicate that they would like to have a say and think along when it comes to innovation, but that they should finally be taken seriously. My New World ideas will have an impact on Bonaire, we as adults should support the young people from our heart ”, Hermine” Mimi “Dongen, local coordinator My New World Bonaire.
“My New World” is aimed at young people from all walks of life. On Bonaire, 22 young people from Scholengemeenschap Bonaire participated in the focus group sessions. Student Kadija Skeete thought it was a good experience: “For me it was really nice to be in a group full of ladies and to see that we all think in the same direction. It was educational to hear and learn from other people’s experiences. ” On St. Eustatius, the focus group consisted of 8 students from the Gwendoline van Putten school. On Saba, 8 students from the Saba Comprehensive School have given their advice. The recommendations of the focus groups were presented in the form of a survey to much larger groups of young people so that they could indicate what they agreed or disagreed with.
The advice is compiled and officially handed over to representatives of the local government of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. On Bonaire, the young people personally hand over their advice to Deputy Nina den Heyer. This will happen on 10 September, the day that the advice from the Caribbean Netherlands is also shared with State Secretary Raymond Knops (BZK) in The Hague. The advice from Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius will be added to the advice of the young people from the Netherlands who have also worked on this My New World project and will be handed over to Minister Hugo de Jonge (VWS) on the same day.
At the end of November, the young people will discuss their advice with the local administrators on their islands. The young people will also participate in a conversation with State Secretary Knops about their advice via a live video connection. The young people will prepare for these conversations by participating in debate and lobby training and debate sessions with young people from other islands.
Child / Youth Participation
The My New World project in the Caribbean Netherlands is part of the UNICEF Caribbean Netherlands Children’s Rights Program, funded by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. With this project, UNICEF emphasizes the importance of enabling children to participate. “UNICEF believes it is important that children are given opportunities to participate in decision-making processes and that they are prepared to think critically and express their opinion”, La-Toya Charles, project leader UNICEF Caribbean Netherlands.