The ChYResilience project aims to empower children and youth to play an active role as contributors to societal resilience and to remove barriers to their active involvement in prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.  This means that children and youth should be enabled and be provided with the space needed to play this role. The project focuses on identifying successful initiatives and good practices related to the involvement of children/youth in building resilience and constructing a set of guidelines for actions that are adaptable to the local conditions around the BSR.

The project partnership is comprised of a mix of youth organisations and experts on resilience building, which has already led to interesting exchanges of insights and experiences – particularly during the Kick-off meeting.

The project is co-lead by the Civil Security team and Children at Risk Unit at the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat.

Now that the As the ChYResilience project is proceeding, it is time to present our project partners and learn a bit more about what they are doing in their everyday work to ensure the participation and safety of children and youth and the benefit of the project for to their organisations.

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First off, let’s introduce the Estonian Defence League’s Youth Sections (EDLY)Noored Kotkad and Kodutütred. The organisation, which is divided into two separates divisions (one for girls and one for boys) involves youth in activities such as summer camps and summer schools, skills competitions, sport events etc. The youth participants are also involved on a local level when planning projects and events, and the safety of youth is always highly prioritised when preparing steering documents.

EDLY gains valuable experience from international and transnational cooperation with other youth and volunteer organisations. The project is an opportunity to cooperate with neighbouring countries. Furthermore, they want to give their youth and volunteers an opportunity to share their ideas since they are the experts in the organisation.

The Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP) is registered as an independent legal entity in Poland providing dynamic, values-based, non-formal educational and leadership training programmes for girls and boys between the ages of 6 and 25. It aims to provide a safe environment for young people to develop their fullest potential as responsible and active citizens who participate in their local, national, and international communities and all areas of society. Apart from the scouting team meetings, ZHP organises both trainings and workshops for their youth members.

By participating in the project, ZHP gains the opportunity to explore better preparation of young generations in crisis prevention and preparedness and to outline activities which foster children and youth’s engagement in societal resilience.

Continuing with another Polish partner, The Scientific and Research Centre for Fire Protection by the National Research Institute (CNBOP-PIB) are taking part in national Polish actions to ensure knowledge and safety amongst children and youth, particularly when it comes to fire hazards. For instance, already in kindergarten, children are taught preventative measures in case of fires and other emergency situations. There are other national campaigns that focus on children and youth and cyber security, improving physical security in schools as well as building and open and positive school climate.

CNBOP-PIB’s participation in the project contributes to cultivating a different perspective on security issues. The involvement of children and youth in building resilient society is important but often underestimated. Participation in this project will open new opportunities for young people and for our Institute in a wider area of security research.

The State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia (SFRS) carries out preventative work with children, in order to both involve children and youth and train them to be resilient members of society. SFRS prevention measures are “Safety on ice”, “Safety during holidays”, “Safety during summer holidays”, “Safety on water”, “Information about 112”, and “Action after a traffic accident”. Examples of activities within these programmes are safety classes in educational institutions, various public events and in formation events.

The SFRS gains the possibility to explore better preparation of young people in the event of a crisis and discovering activities that foster children and youth’s engagement in societal resilience.

Last but not least, Youth in Fire and Rescue Service (Unge i Beredskap, is a Danish volunteer organisation that works to strengthen the work with young people in the fire and rescue service and establish new youth fire brigades. The programme exists all over Denmark and works on data collection and evaluation and serves as a catalyst for nationwide educational programmes and activities. Youth in Fire and Rescue Service incorporates the youth as active leaders within the programmes, considering both the educational aspect, as well as communal aspects of youth working together towards a safer community.

UiB works primarily in the national context and is interested in expanding their cooperation to the Baltic Sea Region countries. Participation in this project allows them to build their network of existing contacts of organisations working with youth and children.

The project activities have been postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Later this year the partners will support with the organisation of focus groups with youth and youth representatives in Warsaw, Riga, and Tallinn.

The ChYResilience project is co-funded by the Swedish Institute.