Young Researcher’s Participation in SVRI Forum 2017

The Sexual Violence Research Initiative selected five organizations from the global South to form part of the “Being Heard” project. A collaborative effort involving SVRI and the International Centre, the “Being Heard” project seeks to gather a more in-depth understanding of the most appropriate approaches to facilitating young person’s participation as researchers, as conference participants and as future leaders in efforts to reduce violence against children and the toll it imposes on the lives of children and their families. 

A competitive selection process was used to identify successful organizations. Organizations were invited through a RFP process. Successful organizations were selected through a series of selection processes including a review by panel of young people (see review criteria). The 5 organisations that were selected to attend SVRI Forum 2017 included:

1. African Community Publishing Development Trust (ACPDT)

2. Centro de Defesa dos Direito da Criança e do Adolescente (CEDECA)

3. Elimu Mwangaza Tanzania

4.  PARCES NGO

5. Uganda Youth Development Link

Each organisation sent a team of two youth researchers and one facilitator to the SVRI Forum 2017 held from 18-21 September in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Leading up to the conference participants reflected on their experiences conducting participatory research on child and youth sexual violence. The youth researchers gave their input and feedback to develop key measures and standards that should be put in place to facilitate improved engagement of children and youth as researchers on sexual violence and as participants at international conferences. A risk assessment (including completion of a medical form) was undertaken with the youth researchers in order to identify potential risks and possible ways of addressing them and also familiarizing the youth researchers with Brazil prior to their travel. Before the SVRI Forum 2017, the group worked together in developing a social media toolkit that was used to share posts via social media platforms to inform others that they are part of the Being Heard project and also share their experiences from SVRI Forum 2017. The group attended a pre-conference workshop (see agenda), where they shared their experiences conducting participatory research and gained new ideas and methodologies as a result of learning from one another. During the session, Promundo delivered a presentation and gave the youth researchers a Welcome Pack to help familiarize them with the Brazilian context. During the Forum, the young researchers engaged in a number of participatory activities that enabled them to share their experiences in creative ways such as a graffiti workshop, a critiquing booth and a story-telling workshop. The young researchers all gave presentations during the closing plenary of the Forum, and told their stories through various mediums such as songs, poems, role plays and sketches. As part of the conference debriefing, the youth researchers also reflected on their experiences at the conference with a view to identifying ways to facilitate more meaningful participation of youth at international conferences.