Valuing Youth Voices after Disaster: Recovery & Resilience in Fort McMurray

When disasters strike, young people are often portrayed as victims with little to contribute to their recovery. This can lead to the absence of critical youth concerns in key decision-making processes despite growing evidence that strengthened community engagement and voice generates social, economic, and environmental benefits in short and long term recovery. The proposed research focuses on participatory media as a pathway for engaging disaster-affected youth and communities. It will serve as a catalyst for young people’s ideas and solutions for recovery and resilience to be sufficiently heard, valued, and incorporated into decisions that affect their lives. The research supports the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) recovery and resilience-strengthening efforts in Fort McMurray and enhances the CRC’s capacity to work creatively with youth in the post-disaster context. The academic partner, Royal Roads University’s ResilienceByDesign Innovation Lab, is a trans-disciplinary action research lab whose work focuses on disaster risk reduction, transformative climate adaptation, and youth empowerment. Research outputs will include a Community Youth Advisory; an improved CRC youth engagement strategy and toolkit; youth-informed recommendations on recovery decision-making; a report detailing how participatory media and listening-focused events can strengthen sustained youth engagement and community resilience; and youth-generated videos for knowledge translation and mobilization.

Tamara Plush
Faculty Supervisor: 
Robin Cox
British Columbia
Partner University: