Our Year 12 Duke of Edinburgh pupils took part in the Grassroots Challenge an Environmental Youth Work initiative led by Ulster Wildlife. One of its aims is to increase young people’s understanding of local democratic structures and how young people can use them to get their voices heard on issues that are important to them.
Working in partnership with Northern Ireland Environment Link, Ulster Wildlife invited 45 young people from 3 school based Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to take part in a special event. The pupils found out about:
- The NI Assembly
- How Government Works
- Policy-Making & The Electoral Process and
- had a tour of Stormont Buildings.
Our pupils got to see how government works and as part of the “Democracy Games” they had an opportunity to create their own fictional political parties.
Groups chose their own party names, slogans and key messages before creating their own political party manifesto based on issues important to them - from education, environment and health to transport and sustainable development.
Each group then discussed their ideas and presented a short party manifesto before voting at the ballot box for the party that best represents their views and issues.
After lunch the pupils heard about Sustainable Development Goals and ways to get their voice heard before having a tour of the parliament buildings and NI Assembly. the boys really enjoyed it and this helped to develop their confidence, team-building and communication skills.