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The Hive is a Ministry of Youth Development (MYD) Youth Voice Project that uses an innovative approach to increasing young people’s participation in the government policy development process. MYD worked in partnership with design agency Curative and 15 rangatahi (young people) on this project and this post (the 2nd in a series of 3) focuses on what we've learnt that will be useful for other engagement work.

Read the first post in the series — The Hive – a new approach to engaging with rangatahi (young people).

Insights from our evaluation

Following the successful consultation on the Biodiversity Strategy, MYD conducted an evaluation of the Hive and held another weekend with The Hivers to gather insights and learnings from the process.

Insight 1: Accessible content made by young people for young people

For the Biodiversity Strategy consultation, The Hive pilot drove a new model of working with citizens to make consultation accessible.

The 15 young people we worked with took the Department of Conservation’s consultation document and created a youth-friendly submissions process.

This involved using:

  • social media
  • creating an engaging website
  • using plain language
  • re-writing the submission questions
  • using video, memes and games.

We found that seeking feedback from young people through the channels they are familiar with increased the likelihood of them engaging.

Young people could see themselves reflected in the website and therefore felt comfortable giving their opinions.

Co-designing with the audience you want to hear from means the content, approach and feedback is more relatable which ultimately increases participation.

Insight 2: Online vs offline engagement

The Hivers were tasked with representing and promoting The Hive in their communities. They did this through distributing posters and giving speeches.

89% of submissions to the Biodiversity Strategy consultation came through answering the questions. A large proportion of these were paper copies that The Hivers collected in person.

Peer-to-peer presentations, delivered by someone from their own community, resulted in a large number of diverse rangatahi from wide geographical locations making a submission.

We learnt that it will always be critical to have both online and offline components to any engagement approach and that this can be particularly effective where members of the community you are wanting to engage with are involved throughout.

Insight 3: Communication is key to building relationships and trust

Building a strong relationship with The Hivers was vital in the success of The Hive. The heart of our kaupapa (principles) was creating a youth-led space that recognises and values the expertise of young people.

Definitely the way that the adults put all of their trust into us kids and let us put our ideas into life and were ready to give us all the resources we needed. That really made us as kids feel special and important which is why everyone during the weekend hui each had a role to play in making The Hive.

Hiver, comment in evaluation report

Insight 4: Turning voice into action and closing the feedback loop

The rangatahi have expressed how seeing their ideas and thoughts result in tangible outcomes ensures their continued interest; they recognise their work and ideas in the website and content. The Hivers felt satisfaction when they delivered work and could see that that real people were going to engage with it for a real purpose.

It's such an amazing feeling to be a part of something I'm passionate about and allows me to see real results that I know will make a difference.

Hiver, comment in evaluation report

For any engagement to be successful, it is essential that the feedback loop is closed. To build trust and to encourage people to stay involved this process should be transparent and the format for release co-designed with your target audience.

Next Steps

We will continue to work with our Hivers to review and improve processes in the future.

Our final blog will be written by one of our Hivers to get her perspective on what it was like to be involved in the project.


For more information you can contact:

Sarah Freer
Senior Advisor Youth Development
Ministry of Youth Development

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