In the era of SDGs: challenges and opportunities of children and young people in Iceland and sub-Saharan Africa
Málstofustjóri: Geir Gunnlaugsson
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2016-2030 have reformulated the development discourse with a shift from an international focus to a global one. In contrast to the Millennium Development Goals 2000-2015, the process leading to their adoption was intended to build on the bottom-up approach, and be of relevance for all countries in the world, irrespective of their socio-economic situation. With the SDGs, increased attention was paid to the needs of adolescents and young people. Adolescents have received relatively limited attention as a distinctive group for studies, and are most often categorized with young adults or as children. Further, increasingly, commonalities of their experiences across different cultures have been highlighted.
The seminar includes presentations on the emergence of the SDGs, theoretical perspectives on childhood and youth studies, and results from ongoing research on inequality, challenges, and future aspirations of adolescents and young people in different settings in Iceland as well as in sub-Saharan Africa.
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Fyrri hluti málstofu
kl. 11:00 til 12:45
The becoming of the sustainable development goals: global governance, developmentality and ownership in senegal
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the successor of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In an attempt to respond to the critique of the MDGs, during the forming of the SDGs, a global consultation process was conducted. Practitioners and academia agreed that the ownership of the process should be national and member state led, in the form of national consultations. The overall aim of this presentation is to examine lessons learned from the MDGs and the emerging global post-2015 agenda, with focus on donor-recipient relations and ownership. The presentation is based on fieldwork in Senegal and New York between the years 2011-2013. Methods used were semi-structured interviews, with Senegalese authorities and representatives of the international community, along with participant observations during various donor meetings. The results show that donor-recipient relations in Senegal are characterized by developmentality or indirect power application. They highlight the challenges in estimating ownership through participation. Additionally, the results reveal a contradiction between best practices in development policymaking, namely widespread participation and desired outcomes with local ownership. This presentation calls for further research on ownership and developmentality during policy-making processes. It is a contribution to theories on global governance, developmentality and ownership.
Lykilorð: SDGs, ownership, policy making
Childhood and youth studies for all?
In an increasingly globalised world, the discipline of Childhood and youth studies has found itself at a crossroads where the universality of childhood, and focus on agency, is being questioned. The legitimacy of international conventions, such as the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDG) and the United Nations’ Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), have further been challenged. Questions have also been raised regarding whether these conventions do indeed protect the rights of all children across cultures. This critique has led to attempts to redefine the concepts of childhood and agency, and calls have been made for scholars to emancipate Childhood and youth studies from the binary-thinking approach to the division of the world: Global/Local, North/South, Minority/Majority, Developed/Developing. This lecture aims to explore these nuances and highlight current debates within the field. It is based on a literature review where binary approaches to the concept of children‘s agency and world-position are analysed and put into context of the UNCRC and the SDG‘s, and what this means for policy implementation for children worldwide. Within a binary setting, children are considered to either possess, or to-not possess, agency which highlights the need to move beyond simplified views of children‘s world and towards a more nuanced approach where the complexities of childhood as a social phenomenon are considered.
Lykilorð: childhood and youth studies, international conventions, development
Denial of family planning services to women in Malawi
Despite family planning being a development priority since the mid-1990s, barriers to access persist, including women being turned away from facilities without a method of family planning on the day it was sought. The aim of the study is to assess the extent of the current family planning turn-away problem and reasons for it in three districts of Malawi. This study employed client exit surveys to quantify the turn-away rate. Data collectors screened women exiting 30 health facilities and conducted a brief quantitative survey with those whose responses indicated turn-away. Providers at all facilities were also surveyed and a subset were interviewed. In total, data collectors screened 2,246 women and found 562 met the inclusion criteria of being either new or restarting family planning users. Of those, 15% were turned away without a method of family planning. Those turned away reported 14 different reasons. While the 57 surveyed providers were knowledgeable of medical criteria for family planning, their actions did not always reflect it. Some providers expressed discomfort providing methods to nulliparous women under 18, both married and unmarried—the former because she should be having children and the latter because she should not be having sex. The multiple reasons for turn-away indicate that reducing it will not be easily achievable with one or two simple actions.
Lykilorð: family planning, Malawi, barriers
The experiences of Volunteers of Foreign Background in Iceland
During the last decade foreign volunteers have come to Iceland where they engage in a wide range of work in return for housing and accommodation. The labor unions have condemned their recruitment, and accused the tourist industry, farmers, municipalities and other hosts of violating the collective labor market agreements. The aim of this presentation is to explore the background of the volunteers, their intentions, and their experiences. Twelve foreigners were interviewed in a total of eleven interviews. They were located and the meetings were arranged through posting an ad in a Facebook group, and the meetings were conducted in person. The interviewees‘ age ranged from 23 to 47 years. Their intentions varied from a temporary cultural experience, to make new friends, or a pathway to immigration into Iceland. Their backgrounds varied also, though most have some University education. Participants overall felt that volunteering is imporant to do, even alongside paid occupations. Multiple volunteers have volunteered full time perviously, often as a mode of affordable travel, and as a permanent career choice. The vast majority have left their volunteer work with mixed or positive experiences. In sumary volunteers, mostly young people, use volunteering to move arround the world in search of local encounters, adventures and to enhance their future opportunities.
Lykilorð: volunteering, tourism, intentions
Seinni hluti málstofu
kl. 13:00 til 14:45
Inequality in access of adolescents to private versus public schools in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
Inequality in access to education, based on determinants such as wealth, location, gender, language, religion, ethnicity and displacement, is wide-ranging across and within countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, inequality remains at all levels of education, and no region has a higher proportion of children out of school, and over-age enrolment is common. In countries with low secondary completion rates, poverty, and rural location engrave the disadvantage of girls compared to boys. In Guinea-Bissau, public schools are severely underfunded and plagued by teachers’ strikes. Here the aim was to identify determinants for school attendance in private versus public schools among adolescents aged 14-19 years in the capital Bissau. In June 2017, a survey with locally adapted ‘Planet Youth’ questionnaire was conducted in Bissau. Classes in 16 secondary schools, public and private, were weighted by size and randomly selected from a special registry of 114 classes with 4.470 students aged 14-19 years. In total, 2,039 students completed the questionnaire (52% girls), and 52% attended public schools. Gender was not an explanatory variable for attendance in private schools compared to public schools in this urban setting. Determinants for adolescents’ attendance in private schools rather than public ones were parental education, father working, and Portuguese spoken at home. The Bissau-Guinean adolescents need support through better public school infrastructure and staff to improve their educational opportunities.
Lykilorð: education, survey, discrimination
„Teacher’ strikes affect all students“: Expressions of inequality among Bissau-Guinean adolescents in secondary schools
In low-income countries (LIC), adolescents are a fast-growing age group; in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) those aged 10- 19 years are 23% of the population. Nonetheless, relatively few studies address their needs, except for reproductive health. Partly due to the Sustainability Development Goals 2016-2030, adolescents have gained global attention and it is increasingly recognised that they face multiple challenges related to their wellbeing, daily life and future aspirations. The aim of this study is to, in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, describe, appraise and analyse expressions of inequality among adolescents in both private and public schools. The study makes use of qualitative fieldwork and interviews with 37 students aged 14-19 in both private and public secondary schools conducted in 2019-2020. During the 5-months field work, numerous school days were lost in public schools due to political instability and teachers’ strikes. No such loss has been observed in private schools, although private school students maintained that the teachers’ strikes in public schools also had a negative effect on their education and wellbeing. Further, quality of education differs considerably due to educational facilities, teaching strategies, teachers’ attendance and available teaching material. The Bissau-Guinean ‘SDG generation’ needs support due to failure in the educational infrastructure which systematically limits their opportunities for quality education, and derides them of opportunities to develop their future capabilities.
Lykilorð: qualitative research, school-age population, education
Use of digital technologies among adolescents attending schools in Bissau
Digital technology plays an important role in achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to tackle complex development challenges globally. However, access to these technologies is uneven globally. The aim of the study is to describe and analyze adolescents’ access and usage of digital technology in Guinea-Bissau, and its implications in a broader context. In June 2017, a locally adapted ‘Planet Youth’ style questionnaire was conducted in the capital, Bissau, whereby students in 12 public and 4 private schools were surveyed on a variety of issues. In total, 2,039 randomly selected students participated. The survey included ten questions specifically on access to and use of digital technology, with 98% responding to at 1east one question relating to this topic. 50% had access to desktop/laptops, 1/3 used mobile internet daily, while 2/3 had experience of social media. Adolescents attending private schools had more access to both types of technologies than those in public schools. Furthermore, downsides to access were shown, with experience of social media being significantly linked to bullying, depression and smoking. Many adolescents in Bissau have no experience of using digital technology, including for schoolwork. Improvements to access and education around usage is required to prevent young Bissau-Guineans misusing the technologies and missing out on the vast benefits they can bring.
Lykilorð: internet use, survey, social media
Narcotics engagement and criminality among school-attending adolescents in Bissau: Cross-sectional analysis
Referencing Sustainable Development Goal 3 (health and well-being for all), and Goal 16 (justice for all), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime supports interdisciplinary interventions focussing on social determinants of drug use and criminality. Such behaviours are often adopted during adolescence, influencing later health and life-choices. The aim of the study is to describe criminality and drug behaviours among school-attending adolescents in the capital Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. In June 2017, survey data was collected through a locally adapted Planet Youth questionnaire across 16 secondary schools in Bissau, targeting those aged 15-16 years. In total, 2,039 adolescents were randomly chosen from a specially compiled class-based register with 4,470 students. Linear regression analysis revealed that experience of drinking alcohol, and of sexual and group violence predicted drug use and criminality. Whilst male gender and changing schools predicted violence, female gender and poor family finance predicted theft. Both violence and theft were predicted by drug use and false police accusation. Drug use was predicted by school dismissal, relationship breakdown and male gender. Overlapping predictive variables suggest single interventions may prevent several antisocial behaviours. Factor analysis showed that alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use were closely linked, indicating simultaneous use of several drugs in the sample. Therefore, interventions tackling multiple drugs may prove equally effective to those addressing one.
Lykilorð: AOD, criminality, social determinants
Bissau-Guinean Quran Schoolboys in Senegal: repatriation as a risky rescue
Repatriated victims of trafficking often confront challenges when returning to their home. Bissau-Guinean Quran schoolboys in Senegal beg for themselves and their teachers, marabouts; the children are allegedly victims of trafficking, and the marabouts the traffickers. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) work on rescuing the boys through repatriation. The aim is to explore repatriation as an anti-trafficking measure. Data was collected during a series of fieldworks in the period 2009-2017 in rural Guinea-Bissau and urban Senegal. Methods used were participant-observation and informal and semi-structured interviews with rescued boys, marabouts, parents and villagers. Some marabouts and parents use the repatriation as free transport home for their boys to work on the fields during the harvest; others stroll around in idleness. All face stigma, mistrust and rejection at family and community level. With time, most return to Senegal to continue with Quran studies while others enter street ‘trade’ or recruit village peers to beg. The NGOs keep their repatriation centres active to secure funds from the international community. Backed up by global governance and the Palermo Protocol, they strive to keep the boys at home. Thereby, they contribute to disagreement within families and among villagers who accuse the NGOs of being the real traffickers. At community level, the marabouts, equipped with symbolic capital, are the masters of the game.
Lykilorð: child trafficking, religious education, repatriation