Young people, who are differently affected by the global pandemic in Cox’s Bazar, have made a call for inclusion in decision making processes on the day of International Youth Day.
There are 860,000 Rohingya refugees, approximately 38 percent of whom are young people aged 10-24 years, the Education Sector of the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) said in a press released issued on Wednesday.
Children and youth face a distinct set of issues and challenges and their voices must be heard and counted in all interventions designed to find solutions to the barriers they face, ISCG said.
The International Youth Day is an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young people’s voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement.
This year’s theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action” will explore ways to recognise the importance of youth participation in political, economic, social life and processes.
“The voices of young people must be heard. Young people must be allowed to participate and engage in decision making processes of interventions that affect them. They remain a powerful constituency if we are to make any meaningful changes,” said Ezatullah Majeed, UNICEF, Head of sub-office in Cox’s Bazar.
The humanitarian community in Cox’s Bazar is coming together virtually today to commemorate International Youth Day and to advocate for increased meaningful engagement of young people in humanitarian interventions, through the presentation of the “COVID-19 Working with and for Young People Operational Guidance” produced by the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action.
The COVID-19 Operational Guidance will assist humanitarian actors, youth-led organisations and young people themselves across sectors, working at local, country, regional and global levels in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It proposes key actions, preparedness and response plans to operationalise services, participation, build capacity and avail resources to young people.
The Youth Working Group (YWG) in Cox’s Bazar, in partnership with the Education Sector of the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), is a cross-sectoral group with the joint goal of supporting, advocating, and coordination of the implementation of youth programmes in the refugee and host community response.
The YWG guides practitioners in the development of adolescent and youth-focused and inclusive responses. In the camps, 83 percent of adolescents and youth aged 15-24 years did not have access to education or skills development opportunities prior to the epidemic.
COVID-19 has therefore worsened an already bad situation for adolescents and youth.
In the host community, young people have limited employment opportunities, also worsened by the pandemic. Decreased access to sexual and reproductive health services and information, mental health and psychosocial support interventions, higher risk of gender-based violence, child marriage, and unintended pregnancies are some of the secondary impacts of the virus that are experienced by young people from the camps and host communities.
“Youth must feel safe, protected, and confident to unleash their potential and give to the world the best they can. As ONE UN and under the ISCG umbrella, UNFPA, will tirelessly work to ensure that youth are provided with information on sexual and reproductive health and rights including the need to provide daily-living knowledge and enhancement opportunities for their growth, their resilience and their energy to lead the future of tomorrow,” says Roselidah Raphael, UNFPA Head of sub-office in Cox’s Bazar.
By ensuring that their voices are heard, and included in decision-making processes and humanitarian action, the Youth Working Group hopes to create more opportunities for learning, skills development and protection for the youth in camps and host communities.
Source: United News of Bangladesh