To prevent loneliness is a big task. This is nevertheless exactly what we aim to do with this new set of learning materials for teenagers: “Including me?”
The Red Cross Norway’s project “Including me?” (“Inkludert meg?” – in Norwegian) was launched at Arendalsuka today (18th of August). “Including me?” is a set of learning materials where the goal is to prevent loneliness and to make it a less taboo subject among the youth in Norway.
Loneliness has long been tied to shame and is taboo for many to talk about. Especially among youth who have a sense of expectation that adolescence is the years when you are supposed to thrive in social settings, have a hectic social life and gain a big friend group.
For many, this is not what happens. In a survey held by Red Cross Norway in 2021 (“Psykt ensom”), 3 in 4 Norwegian teens had at some point in life felt lonely, and a survey from 2022 (“Hver dag og hver natt virker som en evighet”) showed that 1 in 4 Norwegian teens are more lonely after the pandemic than before.
In addition to focusing on inclusive language and manners, the teaching aid focuses on what young people themselves can do to be more included. In contrast to many existing programmes, which place a heavy responsibility on students to include others, “Including me?” focuses more on the person who feels lonely or left out. What can I do myself to be included more often? How can I manage to get out of the safe comfort zone and into the development zone, to make contact? This focus creates a more lasting sense of belonging than what you would get when the responsibility is placed on ‘everyone else’.
The use of mixed media is a great way of engaging the students and we at Design Container are proud to contribute to such an important issue, says Kaia Gulsvik, COO at Design Container.
Teachers and schools can order the class set at subjectaid.no free of charge. The set has a student- and teachers booklet, posters and activity cards. In addition, there is a web app with films and assignments freely available online. There is also a website with class assignments, and all the films are universally designed with subtitles and visually interpretation.
Launch at Arendalsuka
Present during the launch was Senior Advisor for Røde Kors, John Harald Bondevik, Benedikte Andersen, a young person who has experienced loneliness first-hand, and youth mentor Anne Marie Mork who has worked with young people for many years. On stage during the launch were also Minister for Children and Families, Kjersti Toppe, from Senterpartiet, and former Minister for Children and Families, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad.
John Harald Bondevik, Senior Advisor at The Red Cross during the launch at Arendalsuka.