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Tokoroa youth tackle their town’s issues


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2018

Tokoroa youth tackle their town’s issues

Tokoroa’s young people came together last week to share their ideas on how to solve some of their town’s social problems such as gambling, littering and a decrease in the use of te reo Māori.

Tokoroa’s young people came together last week to share their ideas on how to solve some of their town’s social problems such as gambling, littering and a decrease in the use of te reo Māori.

Collectively known as the South Waikato Youth Vision and Innovation Project Team, the group has spent the last six months identifying problematic issues in the community and working on solutions to these problems.

In an initiative funded by the Ministry of Youth Development – Wintec, Waikato Regional Council, South Waikato District Council, Tokoroa Council of Social Services and South Waikato YMCA have joined forces to create and foster a forum where Tokoroa’s young people are encouraged and empowered to have a say on issues in the South Waikato community.

“The aim of the programme is to engage with local young people and encourage them to lead projects to create a healthy and thriving Tokoroa. Wintec is thrilled to part of this exciting youth-led initiative and pleased that our design thinking workshops have been able to help Tokoroa youth to develop solutions to these problems,” says Margi Moore, Design Factory NZ director at Wintec.

The programme culminated in a two-day youth symposium attended by 150 students (aged 12-18) from four Tokoroa schools as well as representatives from the community. The students showcased their ideas and prototypes, while also celebrating their journey, learnings, challenges and outcomes.

The first issue the students identified was to reduce littering in Tokoroa. Students suggested a concept that uses humour to incentivise putting rubbish in the bin.

Secondly the students want to reduce gambling in their town. To achieve this they want to use finger scanning and data collection to make gamblers more aware of the amount of time and money they spend gambling.

Thirdly the students wish to increase the use of te reo Māori used in Tokoroa. Students suggested creating a virtual smartphone assistant that responds to questions in your chosen language, so users essentially carry their language in their pocket.

The final issue students wanted to solve was reducing the cultural divide amongst the community and schools. The first step towards this goal has already been achieved with both Tokoroa High School and Forest View High School students working together as part of the South Waikato Youth Vision and Innovation Project Team.

The first three ideas are currently at concept stage.

The South Waikato YMCA have been mentoring the students over the last six months and YMCA team leader Julius Daniels says that Wintec’s design thinking workshops have been instrumental to the students’ success.

“The symposium highlighted the concept of design thinking and our youth had the opportunity to use it to come up with prototypes and solutions to issues they identified. The YMCA is very proud of our young people and the solutions they came up with. Their ideas have a lot of potential and moving forward we aim to continue working on their prototypes and hopefully one day make it a reality for our youth and community,” says Julius Daniels, Team Leader, South Waikato YMCA.

Marama Tahapehi, Project Manager, Tokoroa Council of Social Services adds: “We must allow our young people to be at the table to have a say in the solutions. I am really proud to see what they have accomplished especially in regards to design thinking. Wintec have been magical in this space and I must commend the facilitators who have spent time with our young people.”

Wintec ran design thinking workshops both prior to and during the symposium. The workshops helped youth to define the community’s problems, explore the context of each problem, discover insights into each issue and finally create potential solutions and prototype some of these ideas.

Design thinking is a key component of Wintec’s Design Factory New Zealand – a dedicated learning space within Wintec where students work with industry partners to solve industry problems.
Read this story online here.

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