Opportunities to better engage and communicate with culturally and linguistically diverse youth (CALDs) and associated community organizations in future crises have been identified in new research from Monash University.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of researchers from the Faculty of Arts Monash Migration and Inclusion Center (MMIC) and Action laboratory of the Faculty of Information Technology were tasked with determining how to understand and better support CALD community organizations that engage with young people.
In this project, funded by the Victorian Government’s Department for Families, Equity and Housing (DFFH), researchers worked closely with people aged 18 to 25 from six ethnocultural backgrounds to understand their information needs as well as organizations working with young CALD people in Victoria.
Together they collaborated to produce a social media playbook – an innovative online guide for CALD organizations to understand the social and digital media spaces used by young people.
The manual will be useful for government and community organizations to communicate with young people through online platforms for effective mass communication in public health.
The research team compiled their findings in a report – Co-design and scale up effective COVID-19 communication strategies for youth in CALD communities in Victoria – launched today.
They found that empowering young CALDs involved a number of key steps, starting with understanding their existing digital skills and abilities, as well as consuming information.
The researchers also recommended training CALD youth to better understand digital technologies and discern misinformation, as well as specifically engage with those who were barely affected by skills and confidence building activities.
Other recommendations included employment opportunities for young CALD leaders to engage with their wider community and co-design communications with organizations to better reflect lived experiences and digital capabilities.
“Governments need to tailor key messages to various minority groups within the community, including CALD people, people with disabilities and especially those with limited access to digital communication technologies,” said the project leader and director of the MMIC, Professor Rebecca Wickes.
“At the start of the pandemic, the information provided by health authorities was changing rapidly and did not take into account the unique challenges faced by many CALD communities.
“COVID outbreaks were also overrepresented in some of these minority groups, underscoring the need to better tailor messages to future crises. “
Researcher at the Action Laboratory, Delvin Varghese, said the manual contained a set of digital activities, case studies and templates suitable for organizations to use and act with the specific community groups they work with.
“Each community organization is different. The playbook takes into account the social and cultural characteristics of their youth and the unique ways in which they engage with each other in online spaces, ”he said.
“For example, many migrant communities often use voice communications such as voice notes in WhatsApp. They can be better supported by information provided by audiovisual communication channels rather than by sending simple text bulletins.
Dr Charishma Ratnam, said the MMIC researcher. “Overall, the results demonstrate the important role of the digital sphere for young people and community workers and leaders.
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