Children and young people form a very large group within the urban population. Our metropolis is home to 201,727 people under the age of 30. Out of a total registered population of 521,946 inhabitants, they represent no less than 38.6%. This considerable and ever-growing group makes Antwerp the vibrant and dynamic city we live in every day. The challenges faced by the city as a whole are, of course, also the challenges faced by children and young people. In their own way, in their environment, they too come into contact with many policy themes. Themes such as work and education, leisure time, mobility, safety or public space are important for all inhabitants, for all ages. The view of young people is therefore not only relevant to youth policy within the city, but to all policy areas.
As a youth work sector, with this memorandum we specifically map out the perspective of children and young people on the policy themes of the city. We started from the ‘International Convention on the Rights of the Child’.
In order to make the memorandum as objective as possible, we engaged the AP University College Antwerp to lead the research and provide the reporting. It was quite an exercise to translate the heavy political themes into the world of children and young people. They do not think in terms of ‘mobility’ or ‘participation’. How can we ask their opinion on this? That is why, together with AP University College, we developed new methods to question children and young people aged 6 to 30 at their level about political and social themes.
The memorandum has a threefold objective:
– To map out the wishes and concerns of children and young people in the city and to reflect these wishes and concerns truthfully.
– Combine and contrast this voice of children and young people with the experiences of the youth work sector organisations collected in the youth sector consultation.
– Make actionable recommendations to the policy which, if incorporated into future policy, can provide answers to current challenges experienced by children and young people in the city.
Researcher: Nathalie Van Ceulebroeck
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Reference: Van Ceulebroeck, N. (2017). Hoe kinderen en jongeren denken over hun stad. Een memorandum. Antwerpen: Creative Commons.
Press articles (Dutch)