A brief explanation of the methodology employed to create this report
We are the New York and Global Reference Teams, we are 14 to 23 years of age and we come from Belize, Benin, Cambodia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Egypt, Fiji, Haiti, Iraq, Myanmar/Thailand and Viet Nam. We were invited by UNICEF to support the development of this publication and we would like to share with you ‘our journey’ for creating it.
Very early on we learned that one of our first key roles would be to spread a survey among adolescents everywhere and ask them to send in their contributions. Our calls for contributions went out in late May 2010 and were in the form of an online questionnaire on the UNICEF website. Various partners also distributed the questionnaire to adolescents who do not have access to the Internet.
In June 2010 we, the New York team, had a face-to-face meeting and developed the criteria for reviewing contributions. Each and every contribution was reviewed by us (the New York and Global Reference Teams) with the invaluable support of the facilitators of the project. Each of us received review packages that were organized for reviewing the essays and messages, and each essay or message was reviewed by at least three team members, including at least one boy and one girl.
We wanted to preserve the ‘authentic’ voice of each writer, and so the unique grammar and writing style is presented as the contribution was sent to us – in its original form. We made small changes only if they would make it easier for the reader to understand the message. And we have changed or deleted names, cities and other personal details in order to protect the identity and safety of the writer.
Some contributions do not appear in their entirety. It was important to include more adolescent stories and needed, therefore, to do some editing. However, we (the teams) were consulted regarding all these changes.
Throughout the project, we were communicating with the facilitators through e-mails, phone calls and Skype chats to be updated with the latest decisions and to have the opportunity to discuss our opinions. They supported us and provided all the help and information required for the project. We discussed everything about the project (including themes, chapters, edits and design) and had the opportunity to vote on everything. Finally, we were divided into groups to write the different sections of the publication (title, introduction, credits, process and methodology).
The project has been all for adolescents (us) and by adolescents to reflect our voices, opinions and lives, truly from our own points of view.
During the process of reviewing contributions, we discovered that some issues were not mentioned by adolescents. We recognize that our publication does not address all issues that adolescents feel are important. There were many possible causes for this. Adolescents, for example, were asked to choose only one topic to write about. They also understood that their contributions were being sent to UNICEF and may have chosen their messages accordingly. Whatever their reasons, we understand that there is a diverse range of issues affecting adolescents. We encourage readers to recognize the importance of the messages found in this publication and to be willing to help make positive change for adolescents.