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Red Cross awards ALL-YOUTH research project

Published on 3.6.2021
Tampere University
Paivi Honkatukia/ Kuva: Jonne RenvallA research project led by Professor Päivi Honkatukia has highlighted digital channels as a way to promote young people’s engagement in society. Photograph: Jonne Renvall
The ALL-YOUTH want to rule their world research project, which is coordinated by Tampere University, is the recipient of the Finnish Red Cross’s Humanitarian Gesture award this year.

The ALL-YOUTH project is a research consortium involving Tampere University and the Universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland.

The Red Cross commends the research project for creating possibilities for societal participation especially for those young people who find that their opportunities to have their voices heard are weak. The erosion of young people’s trust must be taken seriously because it can lead to frustration and ultimately destabilise society. Moreover, trust in one’s possibilities and abilities to participate strengthens individual well-being and the development of democracy.

“There is no single way to make young people’s voices heard. Channels that young people are already using naturally could be introduced in decision-making,” says Professor Päivi Honkatukia, Director of the ALL-YOUTH project at Tampere University.

According to Honkatukia, many young people do not find the existing participation channels suitable for themselves. The research project has highlighted the need to develop digital and other meaningful ways for young people to get their voices heard in societal discussions and decision-making in the public and third sectors.

President Elli Aaltonen from the Finnish Red Cross hopes that the different sectors of society will boldly apply the findings of the project. Young people’s enthusiasm for participation and influence could be fostered by using digital forums.

“The digital world travels in young people’s pockets and is an integral part of their lives. This means that there is no point in providing rigid administrative forums when you can ask questions and get answers more quickly on social media. Young people already have the digital skills they need for participation,” Aaltonen says.

The researchers have cooperated with organisations working with young people and Red Cross’s youth shelters and recruited young people as co-investigators in the project.

ALL-YOUTH is a multidisciplinary research project exploring the capacities of young people aged between 16 and 25 and the obstacles hampering their engagement with society. The project will deliver new solutions for young people’s active citizenship from the perspectives of interactive governance and the rule of law, digital innovation, and sustainable development interventions such as bioeconomy.

The Finnish Red Cross awards the Humanitarian Gesture prize annually to a particularly deserving person or community that has promoted philanthropical themes, values, and activities. The prize was first awarded in 1988.