New directives put youth at the forefront of the humanitarian response |


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The document, the first of its kind, has been described as a ‘go to’ guide for working with and for young people in situations of natural disasters, conflicts, forced displacement and other emergencies.

“Young people’s energy and talents are often wasted in crises, and the guidance we are publishing today will help prevent this,” said Mark Lowcock, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, speaking during the virtual launch.

Trust young people

The The guidelines Issued by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), Which brings together the heads of 18 UN and non-UN entities working to ensure better preparedness and a coherent response to humanitarian crises.

It was developed in cooperation with youth, in line with the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.

United Nations Children’s Fund)UNICEF) And the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) led the task force that led to their creation.

“These new guidelines call on us to give up power; to trust young people and work with them as partners by giving them a safe space to meet and discuss their ideas on how to improve life in their communities,” said Henrietta Faure, UNICEF Executive Director.

At the same time, she added, young people affected by humanitarian crises are looking to the international community to invest in their future.

Many are forced to leave school. They lack access to basic health and nutrition services. “They are losing their safety nets, which makes them vulnerable to abuse, child marriage and child labor,” Ms. Fore said.

Every vote counts

The guidelines reflect the diversity of youth, recognizing that different groups are affected differently in crises.

Nujeen Mustafa, a Kurdish woman from Syria now living in Germany, spoke about the obstacles facing young people with disabilities who are getting involved in the conflict. She emphasized why they must be part of any humanitarian response.

“When I fled the war in my country, I was faced with the fact that the needs of people with disabilities are not taken into account,” said Ms. Mustafa, who uses a wheelchair.

“I had no access to the bathrooms and the floor was covered with gravel, which is horrific for a wheelchair. Young people with disabilities are often stared at but their needs are often not taken into consideration. However, many people fleeing conflict suffer from debilitating psychological and physical injuries.” .

Young people are innovative

The Covid-19 The pandemic has provided many young people around the world the opportunity to escalate and contribute to the response, including by raising awareness, combating disinformation and mobilizing assistance.

Among them is Tertraj Koirala from Nepal, although his activity extends to the devastating earthquake in April 2015, when he was working in a makeshift shelter teaching residents how to wash hands and proper hygiene methods.

Mr. Koirala later founded a movement that addresses the stigma surrounding menstruation, which provides girls with reusable sanitary pads and menstrual hygiene education.

“I feel that people should not be underestimated and that they need to be recognized and recognized,” he said. “Young people are innovative. Give them the space and opportunity to give back to their community.”


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