A guided visit of the Catholic Church center "Mondo Migliore", in Rocca di Papa near Rome, August 28, 2018 | Photo: ANSA/CLAUDIO PERI
A guided visit of the Catholic Church center "Mondo Migliore", in Rocca di Papa near Rome, August 28, 2018 | Photo: ANSA/CLAUDIO PERI

UNICEF has started its Activate Talks project in Italy. Their goal: To give a voice to young people and in particular migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The project consists of six meetings in the course of a year on various topics central to the life of adolescents.

The meetings will tackle topics that are central to the daily life of adolescents. The first meeting was held on June 4, titled "Civic Engagement and Active Social Inclusion." During the meeting, the results of a survey by UNICEF Italy's digital platform for young migrants and refugees (U-Report on the Move) were presented. 

Young migrants want to participate more 

This is what the survey found: 
  • Six out of ten respondents said they were not informed about what was happening in the place where they live.
  • A full 64 percent said that they would like to be involved in projects with public usefulness. 
  • Five out of ten said they would like to join associations. 
  • One in ten would like to belong to a political party or other political groups. 
  • Two in ten said they would like to participate in demonstrations and public events.
  • The topics these youths care about the most are migration, the right to asylum, and assistance for the most vulnerable populations - 
The survey was titled "My Civic Engagement." It was completed by 414 of the 2,600 young people who had signed up on the U-Report on the Move platform. 

Call for better migrant inclusion 

The young people participating in the UNICEF program will present three recommendations to civil society institutions and organisations: 
  • the need to facilitate social inclusion and the involvement of young migrants and refugees in social service
  • the need for intervention in the schools to foster civic education and respect for diversity
  • the importance of interculturalism as a positive ressource for the future. 
Anna Riatti, UNICEF's coordinator for the program on minor migrants and refugees in Italy, said young people are too often considered as passive subjects and simple recipients of programs and policies aimed at them. 

"It happens even more when these young people are non-Italians, migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers," Riatti said. "But experience demonstrates that when given opportunities for civic engagement, these young people bring abilities, ideas, and new resources to the community." 

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