Empowering Children as Agents of Change to Foster Resilience in Community : Implementing “Creative Health” in Primary Schools after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Goto, A. and Lloyd Williams, A. and Okabe, S. and Koyama, Y. and Koriyama, C. and Murakami, M. and Yui, Y. and Nollet, K.E. (2022) Empowering Children as Agents of Change to Foster Resilience in Community : Implementing “Creative Health” in Primary Schools after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19 (6): 3417. ISSN 1660-4601

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The “Creative Heath” project, a participatory school activity to foster community resilience, was implemented in Fukushima, Japan, and children’s experiences of the project were assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The project consists of three workshops: BODY, FOOD, and ACT, with activities to facilitate students’ scientific and creative thinking, working in teams, presenting, and expressing their opinions. The first two schools participated with 105 students aged 9–11 years old. Before and after each workshop, students were given questionnaires to rate their satisfaction with their own health (BODY), local foods (FOOD), and the community at large (ACT) on a five-level scale, with space to add free comments. Ratings for BODY and FOOD changed significantly, and the proportion of students who increased their rating of an evaluation indicator after each workshop was 25% for BODY, 28% for FOOD, and 25% for ACT. Text analysis of free comments showed that students in the “increased” group appreciated presenting, measuring, learning connections between nutrition and health, and working collaboratively with peers. Children perceived their health and the foods in their community more positively after participating. Moreover, the Creative Health project could be a way to enhance children’s creativity and autonomy as agents of change in the community.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Additional Information:
Export Date: 23 March 2022 Funding details: 19KK0060 Funding details: Horizon 2020 Funding text 1: An overseas example of fostering children’s community participation in the face of a crisis is Lancaster University’s work after the United Kingdom’s 2013–2014 winter floods. Their team researched the active roles that young people can play in disaster management by using the arts [11,12]. This innovative approach was expanded to a European research project named CUIDAR, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program [13]. The CUIDAR project aimed to enhance the resilience of children and young people after disasters and enable disaster responders to meet their needs more effectively through a participatory approach. In particular, we adapted the participatory theater approach of Lloyd Williams to work with Fukushima children in the Japanese education system. The project content and participating teachers’ responses were reported previously [14]. In brief, the method, drawn from Theatre for Development [15] and Theatre of the Oppressed [16], invites children to use performance to explore what their community means to them. The approach relies on the principle that the theatre space spans the worlds of “reality” and the “image of reality” [17], thus children use their bodies and voices to physically ‘map’ their community as they see and experience it and play with alternative visions of what that community could be. The approach invites children to step in and out of scenes, reflecting critically on what they have created and asking questions about what more they might want to know or find out. Thus, the work invites children to take the lead in identifying issues of importance in their local community. Funding text 2: Funding: This research was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grants in Aid for Scientific Research (No. 19KK0060).
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? artschildrencommunity networksfukushima nuclear accidenthumanitiesresiliencepublic health, environmental and occupational healthhealth, toxicology and mutagenesis ??
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Deposited On:
24 Mar 2022 14:15
Last Modified:
13 Feb 2024 03:45