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Research project give RMWB youth a voice

PHOTO. Sign welcoming residents upon re-entry after a 6 week evacuation due to wildfire. NICOLE BAGGIO. Staff.

Through social media, youth ages 14-24 throughout the region are voicing their opinions on “What they would do to make our community better?”

The campaign is part of the Youth Voices Rising action research project with the ResiliencebyDesign Research Innovation Lab at Royal Roads University.

Tamara Plush, with the Resilience by Design Lab told MyMcMurray that they chose to do the project in Wood Buffalo because of the long-term effects of the 2016 wildfire.

“We are looking at how young people are engaged in the post recovery decision making,” said Plush.

Youth are uploading photos, videos and songs across different social media platforms to answer the question in a creative and unique way.  The project’s aim is to give youth a voice and inspire those who have the power to meet the solutions outlined in their answers.  Running at the time of the municipal election, the campaign gives the chance for youth to influence decision-makers.

“When we spoke with young people, they really wanted to connect their concerns to people in power, whether that’s at the municipality, the Athabasca Tribal Council or different governances in different parts of Wood Buffalo,” said Plush.

The campaign was launched on Sept. 29 and runs through until Oct. 27.  To follow along and engage in the conversation you can check out #youthvoiceswb on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

“The most exciting thing about the campaign is that it shows how awesome and amazing the young people are here, through their photographs, original songs, artwork and everything they are producing,” said Plush.  “It’s really, really worth going up and seeing what they have to say.”

After the campaign is finished, researchers will be looking at the themes that are common and prevalent among the youth and will work to connect that to the municipality, other areas of governance, school systems and organizations.

If you would like to contribute to the campaign, you can upload your media here.