Along with our partners, UNICEF Canada has embarked on a 15-year change agenda to lift Canada up international league tables child well-being by 2030. If there is any wicked problem that deserves Canada’s social innovation talents, the lagging outcomes for children in a country with steady GDP growth is among the most significant. Our effort to change the persistent status quo is One Youth.
There are three core pillars supporting this work: measuring well-being of children and youth with new and improved tools; influencing change by engaging Canadians and decision makers; and designing solutions with kids–especially those living in vulnerable conditions-together with a wide range of stakeholders to address the greatest challenges revealed by new data, design thinking and other qualitative research with and by kids. Our partners are brave and bold philanthropic foundations, a business enterprise (Overlap Associates) and many, many service organizations, researchers, decision-makers and policy-makers at different scales.
We are prototyping Wellbot as a means for even young children to engage each other in exploring and supporting well-being, and as a potential way for kids to gather and use data about their own lives. We’re launching a toolkit to help organizations work with children and youth to co-design better programs and services. The toolkit is based on design research led by youth in locations across Canada, asking people about their experience growing up in Canada. This is just a flavor of much, much bigger and more challenging work ahead.
Through this research, the message from children and youth has been clear and consistent: “involve me in decisions that affect me”. Whether it’s providing input on a new service, giving feedback on an existing one, or having the opportunity to share their experience, children and youth are eager to contribute their ideas and opinions and we have been delivering great experiences to support them to do just that.
For information on One Youth, visit unicef.ca/oneyouth.
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