» Young researchers from Ireland investigate young people’s knowledge of family support services
12.07.2018 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Young researchers from Ireland investigate young people’s knowledge of family support services

© UNESCO / Paula Fincke

On 10 July 2018, a group of 14 young researchers from Ireland travelled to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to present their findings during ‘The Youth Researchers Event’ on their investigation of young people’s knowledge of Ireland’s family support services ‘Tusla’ and on how young people would like to receive information on these services. This group of young researchers were trained and supervised by the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway.

The youth conducted an in-depth literature review and a survey of 248 young people and found that 64% of young people were unsure of what the social service Tusla was, and 74% did not know what family support is. They recommended that information aimed at teens should be put online and on social media as well as posters and leaflets. They also discovered through their research that 70% of young people do not trust libraries, which was the most shocking statistic for the audience of the event. Moving forward, they hope that their recommendations will be taken on board and that young people are being listened to in this matter.

The meeting was moderated by Rachel Foody, who stated that they were not only there to talk, but to make a change in their community. The Ambassador of the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO, Elaine Ayotte, attended the presentation and was impressed by the positive message these young researchers had to share. “The positive approach is the one that will prosper,” she commented on their presentation.

The Youth Researchers Event is a collaboration of UNESCO and Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway (UNESCO Chair). The work that was presented derived from the Mayo Child and Young Person Advisory Committee, an initiative between Foróige and the Tusla Child and Family Agency.

This research and the opportunity for young researchers to present their findings at UNESCO is in line with the UNESCO’s Operational Strategy on Youth to enhance youth civic engagement, democratic participation and social innovation. Furthermore, the presentation of these findings will directly inform the UNESCO Youth Programme and its work on empathy education and youth development.

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