CoCo (Co-designing Collaborative disaster-resilience among young citizens, public agencies and first responders) is an international research group based on a collaboration between several universities in Europe and Japan. The aim of CoCo is to explore potentials of developing communication tools and strategies for public agencies and first responders in collaboration with young citizens as a means to build a more resilient Europe.
CoCo has received funding from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the research program Data Society at Malmö university.
Humanity is facing increasingly global and complex crisis situations. The individual is therefore highly dependent on media to gain information on how to prevent and handle new threats. Communication and information is a key issue in The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, however communicating with and for children is not the same as communicating with adults. A precondition for knowing and acting as a citizen is that young people have access to reliable portrayals of reality. National and international research on crisis communication with children is almost non-existent. That children are seen as citizens with their own rights, especially before, during and after serious events in society, is a central point of departure for the CoCo research group with scholars and stakeholders from Europe and Japan.
The general objectives of CoCo are:
- Developing sustainable risk governance frameworks (organisational set ups, management, strategies, empirical-based policy making) from young citizens’ perspectives.
- Developing communication and security services, tools for public agencies and first responders’ organisations throughout the disaster management cycle.
- Establishing mobile resilience living labs in Europe.
- To increase the skills and competences of young citizens (from different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds), communication and security practitioners in terms of risk media literacy.
Hence, CoCo aims at strengthen children’s rights in the digital age, in line with the UN Sendai framework; urging governments to have a “broader and a more people-centred preventive approach”, engaging with children and youth. “[…] Children and youth are agents of change and should be given the space and modalities to contribute to disaster risk reduction, in accordance with legislation, national practice and educational curricula”(p. 23).
CoCo is strongly motivated by The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child. The research group’s main methodological approach is participatory design. Through co-design activities (doing-things-together) young citizens, communication practitioners at public agencies and first responder organisations can meet in joint explorations through prototyping, roleplaying and scenario building. Members of the research group have also extensive experience with document/textual analysis, interviews, visual methods and quantitative research.