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Practical tips for supporting young people in their response to COVID-19

Young people should be systematically included in all phases of the COVID-19 response to help them cope during the pandemic

Young people should be treated as partners in all phases of the COVID-19 response. This means they are:

  1. Systematically included through consultations, feedback and knowledge sharing.
  2. Involved in decision making at all levels, including budget allocations and intervention planning.
  3. Engaged in implementation of response measures.

Humanitarian organisations can foster and/or support youth engagement in responses to IDOs. Some examples of how are outlined in the table below:

Action How
Support young people to raise awareness of the IDO online and offline among their peers, families and community networks. 1) Creating digital tools and graphics packages. These can include messages that can be easily shared through online social media networks.
2) Support youth in conducting their own campaigns.
Engage youth organisations, networks and volunteer programmes in the safe support of isolated elders and other vulnerable community members. 1) Support may come in the form of phone calls or the collection and provision of food and non-food items to vulnerable people.
Support young people to promote preventive behaviours and build positive narratives around their efforts to mitigate the effects of the IDO. 1) Support young people in partnering with their governments and/or other institutions.
2) Build on youth leaders’ and youth networks’ roles as advocates for social cohesion, community dialogue, conflict prevention and peace.
Ensure the safety and well-being of any volunteer engaged in the IDO response. 1) Ensure that volunteers are aware of safeguarding measures in place and understand that their participation is at their discretion and that they may stop at any time.
2) Ensure all volunteers sign and adhere to the organisation’s code of conduct.
Engage young people in delivering responses to IDOs (including youth with disabilities, ethnic minorities, etc). 1) Support different options for engagement.
2) Identify and respond to gaps in representation.
3) Consider the digital divide as well as unequal access to devices and the internet based on age, gender, disability and other social factors.
Maintain connections with young people in your networks. 1) Consider access to mobile devices, internet connectivity as well as costs related to data.
2) Allocate funding to cover the costs of extra data for young people engaged in supporting the IDO response.
Encourage inclusive information sharing. 1) Create/build on existing online platforms for young people to safely receive information and share the experiences, concerns and positive steps they are taking in response to IDOs at home and in their communities.

 

This abstract is adapted from COVID 19: Working with and for young people, UNFPA, IFRC, 2020

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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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