NEW YORK, AUGUST 12 (IPS) – Today marks International Youth Day, a global celebration of the transformative power of young people. Introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, the event was inaugurated not only to demonstrate the power of youth voices, but also the promise of those in power to activate the power of youth. in all areas of development.
Since then, the United Nations has appointed a Youth Envoy dedicated to spreading the promise of the day, and many aid organizations have followed suit, including young people’s voices in communication campaigns. social media, high-level events and stakeholder forums.
In 2021, Education Can’t Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, has taken the further concrete step of including youth in its governance structure and decision-making processes. democratic way. Scores of youth-led NGOs registered in a newly formed youth constituency and within a few weeks the group became one of the largest , the most active and the most diverse in the fund.
In the ECW Executive Committee and High Steering Group, young people are represented for the first time along with government ministers, heads of UN agencies and civil society organisations. , and private sector leaders – a new example of intergenerational cooperation at the highest levels of humanitarian aid.
Another important step forward in the race for youth inclusion occurred when ECW partnered with Plan International to support a group of youth activists through ‘Youth for Education in Emergency Projecta campaign by youth panelists to demonstrate the value of youth participation.
As ECW builds momentum towards the February 2023 Financial Summit with # 222MillionDreams CampaignWe call on strategic partners to include the voices of youth as we work together to mobilize resources for the 222 Million crisis-affected children and youth worldwide in need of assistance. emergency education.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of exceptional young people willing to lead the charge. Global Student Forumfor example, has assembled more than a hundred national student federations, including millions of youth activists, and has successfully lobbied governments around the world with its democratic forces.
Success of Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s 100 million yen campaign, a youth-led global effort to end child exploitation, further illustrates the great value of grassroots organizations. And at the local level, youth-led NGOs have brought change to their communities in equally important ways.
Aid organizations and professionals have changed the lives of countless young people around the world. By including them, aid organizations can harness their extraordinary resilience and strength, and truly learn from them. Using their reach on social media, young people excel at spreading awareness and engagement worldwide. Just as unknown singers became famous thanks to young people promoting them, previously unknown issues became nationally famous overnight and made a dramatic change.
As for fundraising, each young person is surrounded by a community, providing a ready-to-help network. On the policy front, young people affected by the crisis are able to identify their needs with unprecedented ease like no other humanitarian policy expert, as they are experts in life, challenging their own knowledge and opportunities. Young people are smart and have the ability to shape their own future. They have an idealism and a courage that the world desperately needs today. Their unwavering optimism, strong drive, and uncompromising commitment to change will ensure that those futures are not only secure, but better than the present they inherited.
ECW can attest to the enlightening and inspiring vitality of young people. Since its inception, the youth constituency has worked actively on behalf of this groundbreaking global fund, providing valuable input and guidance on multi-year programs and emergency responses. first level in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Haitian, Iraq and Mali. With schools closed due to the pandemic, youth persisted, working together to inform aid programs dispersed across crisis-affected countries.
The youth electorate even reacts in real time to evolving crises, including the earthquake in Haiti, the worsening crisis in Afghanistan, and most recently the war in Ukraine. . Their contributions have played an important role in meaningful projects: since their inception in 2016, ECW programs have reached more than 5 million children and young people, providing quality support, including educational materials, school meals, mental health programs and other basic needs.
On this day, it is important to observe the strength of young people, and the impactful work that aid organizations have undertaken across the industry. However, celebration and transformation must go hand in hand, ensuring that next year, when International Youth Day returns, we go one step further to deliver on our original promise to unleash our power. of youth.
Yasmine Sherif as Education Director Can’t Wait. HD Wright as Youth Representative at Education Can’t Wait
IPS UN Office
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