In June 2021, Anna, Clarissa and Chiara socialize in the town center of Fara Gera D'adda, Bergamo, Italy. In September 2020, when schools reopened, the 250 students of Anna's high school were allowed to enter 50 by 50. Anna, Clara and Clarissa waited on this bench for their turn.
MILAN, 12 April 2022 - Representatives of UNICEF and Riccardo Bettiga, a representative of the Authority for Children and Adolescents, an independent body that oversees the implementation of the rights of children in the Lombardy region of Italy, presented the Report "Vite a Colori” (Life in Colors) about the experiences, perceptions, and opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic of children and adolescents in Italy.
The event brought together education authorities, teachers, children and research experts to discuss the report's recommendations and increase opportunities for impact at national and local level. President of the Regional Council, Alessandro Fermi, National Authority for Children and Adolescents, Carla Garlatti, as well as representatives of the Regional School Office, Minotauro Foundation, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and Il Sole 24 Ore also participated in the event.
UNICEF Innocenti’s Social and Economic Policy Manager Gwyther Rees and researchers Francesca Viola and Maria Rosaria Centrone presented the report. A group of young research participants also joined UNICEF researchers for the presentation. Manuela Bovolenta, President of the UNICEF Committee of Lombardy, was also in attendance.
The research project is managed by the UNICEF Innocenti with the support of the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, UNICEF Italia, and the British Embassy in Rome.
The project is based on a participatory approach and is currently running in six countries around the world – Italy, Canada, Madagascar, Lesotho, Indonesia, and Chile. The groundbreaking report on children’s experiences in Italy recounts the perceptions, experiences, and opinions of 114 research participants from 10 to 19 years old in 16 Italian regions. Research participants shared thoughts, reflections, drawings, photographs, and diaries to describe what it means to grow up during COVID-19.
How are children experiencing the pandemic? Our international research project together with @UNICEFMada @UNICEFCanada @UNICEF_Italia @UnicefLesotho @UNICEFAngola aims to answer this question ????— UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti (@UNICEFInnocenti) February 27, 2022
This is what our work looked like in #Lesotho last week ????⬇️ pic.twitter.com/xsmHtHFC1p
The organization of the event reflected the same participatory approach adopted in the report: putting children at the center as the protagonists of the decisions that concern them. After the presentation of the report, student representatives were invited to a round table with institutional actors and reflected on key issues regarding their wellbeing and the pandemic.
Why "Life in Colors”?
The title conveys the diversity of stories heard and perspectives analyzed in the research, borrowing the wonderful words of one of the students, according to whom life during the pandemic was "regulated by colors […] One day I did not know if I could leave my place because I did not know what color we were - as colors of the regions change all the time" (A. 15 years, Italy).
“One day I did not know if I could leave my place because I did not know what color we were as colors of the regions change all the time” (A. 15 years, Italy).
Through the metaphor of surfing, the report depicts the experiences of young participants as a growth path characterized by a sudden anomalous wave, COVID-19, that has invaded the lives of all. This wave has interrupted activities and habits, reconfiguring the spaces of social relations. In this scenario, teenagers were forced to embrace the resources they had available (embodied by the surfboard) to try to ride the wave, finding ways to keep standing - and afloat.
Published in November 2021, the report has already been presented at the national level to the Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Family, Elena Bonetti, and to a delegate of the Authority for Children and Adolescents chaired by Carla Garlatti.
Today the Region of Lombardy, known as the epicenter of the pandemic in Italy, is the first Italian region to organize a meeting to amplify the impact of the report Vite a Colori.