International Youth Day
Promoting girls’ education in Liberia
"I was teaching a session on parliamentary systems in a village outside Hyderabad in Sindh province to a crowd of 50 labourers, and decided to tell shopkeepers and shepherds – who all happened to be men. After I delivered the teaching materials, I told them a little bit about myself, my education background and my volunteer work with UNDP."
I wanted them to see me beyond my gender. I wanted them to see that women and girls can also lead, if given the right schooling and education opportunity. --national UN Volunteer with UNDP Fatima Rind
Rana holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and a Master's degree in video direction and editing. She previously made documentaries with human rights and conflict resolution initiatives.
On behalf of children and young people across Gaza and the West Bank, Rana utilises her background in communications to trigger new discussions and challenge existing narratives.
Shaden, a UN Youth Volunteer from Jerusalem, is a skilled storyteller who helps bridge the gap between some of the most vulnerable children and adolescents and the changing society around them.
The first workshop that took place in Nairobi was organized in partnership with UNICEF for 40 UN Volunteer Youth Advocates drawn from 28 countries across the globe.
During the two day workshop, the UNICEF volunteers were involved in learning on career planning and professional development. The UN Volunteer Youth Advocates also strengthened their capacities and professional skills in communications, leadership, conflict resolution, and teamwork.
Young people are a driving force for peace and development. Their energy and creativity are key in building a better future, and they are often the first to come up with innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.
Yet millions of young women and men are affected by conflict, violence and deprivation, and are unable to fulfil their potential. The world’s youth need safe spaces where they can participate, express their views and exercise their rights.
More than 130 young people, representatives of youth-led organizations and youth activists took part in the event. The Forum-Café drew attention to youth contributions to peace and development globally, and strengthened cooperation between youth and the representatives of the Government, educational institutions, civil society, and international organizations.
During the forum, the participants discussed the role of youth in promoting energy-efficient lifestyles, advocating for sustainable development and securing equal access to resources for peace and stability.
On 19 August 2017, national UN Volunteer Ahmed Osman, serving as Protection Assistant with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sudan, led an interactive discussion with youth on the importance of volunteerism to achieve peace and contribute to development across all communities. Ahmed highlighted how “the SDGs cannot be achieved without people’s engagement at all stages.” He also underlined that volunteers can facilitate and support participatory approaches in planning, implementing and monitoring the SDGs.
The world’s youth population is at an all-time high, with 1.8 billion people aged 15 to 29. Most importantly, close to 87% of them live in developing countries, and 13% are unemployed. Both poverty and unemployment are well-known breeding grounds for conflict.
As you will be able to read in the stories below, volunteerism offers valuable opportunities for youth engagement, leadership and participation to contribute to the development of peaceful and inclusive societies.
In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) deployed 41 national and international UN Volunteers, 5 of them UN Youth Volunteers, to serve in environmental initiatives in Africa. Youth volunteers are the backbone of environmental action, raising awareness on climate change, responsible consumption and production, and preservation of land, forests and water resources.
Despite being one of the most vulnerable population groups in times of conflict, young people’s boundless energy can be channeled into meeting the demands posed by complex antagonisms and help their societies thrive and overcome the burdens of bloodshed and poverty. Advocating for global solidarity and multilateral cooperation, as well as promoting the creed that no one should be left behind, UNV and its extensive network of Online Volunteers actively engages young people in various development initiatives.