寄付・募金・ボランティアのセーブ・ザ・チルドレン・ジャパン

Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami Emergency response and recovery program

Attitude Survey on Children’s Participation 2014, Vol.1          “Please let us take part in the recovery process” (2014.11.20)

As a part of the “Speaking Out From Tohoku (SOFT) – Building Better Communities through the Participation of Children” project, Save the Children Japan has conducted the “Hear Our Voice 9: An Attitude Survey on Children’s Participation 2014

The survey targeted children from 4th graders to high school students in Yamada Town and Rikuzentakata City in Iwate Prefecture, and Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture.

Today, the 20th of November 2014, is World Children’s Day, and marks 25 years since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In commemoration of this day, please pay attention to the voices of 14,000 children in the Tohoku area.

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Voices of 14,000 Children
The attitude survey on children’s participation 2014, as with similar attitude surveys in 2011 and 2012, aimed to understand how children in the Tohoku region perceived child participation in the community recovery process after 3.11. It canvassed both children and adults, as adult support is required for children to participate. We collected valid answers from 13,957 children and 3,687 adults. The major findings are as follows:

1. Nearly seven out of ten children responded that they “want to participate in the recovery of the community.”

There was a high level of interest among children in participating in the recovery process. To the question “Do you want to participate in the recovery of the community?” 66.9% of children answered “Yes.”

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2. Nearly six out of ten children responded that they “have done something for the recovery of the community.”

To the question, “Have you done anything for the recovery of your community?” 57.3% of children responded “Yes.” More children “want to do something for the recovery of the community,” than actually had a chance to do so.

3. “I don’t know what to do,” “I never had a chance to.”

The two leading reasons given by children who responded “No” to the questions, “Do you want to participate in the recovery the community?” and “Have you done anything for the recovery of your community?” were, “I don’t know what to do” and, “I never had a chance to.” This may be because there is not enough information on the recovery or opportunities available to participate. While children displayed a high level of interest in the community recovery process, a lack of opportunities to engage in that process may be hindering their ability to do so.

The next two most common reasons given by children for not engaging in the recovery process were “busy studying”, and “busy doing afterschool activities.” This may indicate that children are returning to a pre-3.11 level of normalcy in their lives. The answer, “I have no means of transportation even though I want to do something,” could suggest that children have been unable to engage because of the disruption to transportation systems in disaster-affected areas.

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4. About a quarter of children responded that they wanted to both “participate in community building” and, “hand down their experiences from generation to generation.”

Those who responded “Yes” to the question, “Do you want to participate in the recovery of the community?” were asked to specify what they wanted to do. The most common responses were, “fund-raising,” “participating in community events,” and “cleaning up the community.” To the 2014 survey we added the response options, “participating in community building” and, “handing down your experiences,” and these were selected by one in four children.

Voices of Children
“We are getting new buildings in Yamada Town. Construction is on going, and it feels like we have fewer parks now. Please revitalize our community without taking away our trees and parks.” (8th grader, female, Yamada Town)

“It is good to put up new buildings as they bring in more tourists. Some people however, have feelings towards places that were ruined by the earthquake and tsunami and are waiting for them to reopen. I am one of them. It would be nice if the old buildings can be preserved.” (High school sophomore, female, Rikuzentakata City)

“It might be difficult, but it would be nice to take care of our mental health while rebuilding our community. We can see the mood changes in adults, like them getting angry, and it confuses us.” (7th grader, female, Ishinomaki City)

“Although the grownups often tell us that there is nothing that the children can do for the recovery, we can actually discuss among ourselves, figure out the progress of the recovery, and even pass down our stories to the next generation. Also, there are things only we can understand from a children’s point of view. So please let us take part in the recovery process.” (5th grader, female, Ishinomaki City)

“I really want to know the truth. It only inconveniences us if the adults don’t tell us the truth simply because we are young. How is the recovery in Takata going? What is happening to the facilities for children and parks? Maybe I’m being selfish, but I am a concerned about the future of Takata. What will the affected areas be used for? The adults often tell us that we are the future, but honestly, I’m at a loss as to what to do. Should the children be the ones to know the truth and pass it on to the next generation? If I join the Children’s Community Building Club, will it help me figure out what to do?” (8th grader, female, Rikuzentakata City)

“There are a lot of things that we as children can do. Instead of carrying all the responsibilities among yourselves, please share them with us. We are capable of doing certain things. Why not start creating more opportunities for us, such as volunteer work?” (8th grader, male, Yamada Town)

“It’s like ‘I must do it,’ instead of ‘I don’t have to do it.’ I encourage active participation. There are lots of things that we children can’t achieve alone even though we want to. We need support from the adults.” (7th grader, female, Ishinomaki City)

 

More opportunities for children to take part in the community recovery process!
Despite the fact that children lived through such an unprecedented disaster, this survey revealed their strong interest in participating in the recovery process. Recovery takes a long time, but the children are the present and future of these communities. This survey was a sequel to those in 2011 and 2012, but can we, the adults, say that we have provided children with opportunities to learn and participate in the recovery so far?

Save the Children Japan thinks that society needs to create systems to provide information and opportunities to engage in the recovery process to help children speak out for the recovery of their communities and realize their public participation. Thus, in cooperation with the government, parents, and community members, we will keep supporting children to allow their voices about the recovery of their communities to be heard through various activities, such as the Children’s Community Building Clubs.

As a sign of appreciation to those who participated in this survey and our supporters, we will post a summary of the voices of children that we heard through this survey on our homepage in late December. Please pay attention to the voices of the children in the Tohoku region and support us. Thank you very much!