Young People As Key Actors
of Positive Change!
Youth are positive actors during a crisis, while also representing the future of their communities.
Young People in Emergencies
Numbers at A Glance
Young people’s needs, vulnerabilities and risks are exacerbated in humanitarian and protracted crises.
- Today some 408 million youth aged 15–29, or 23 per cent of the global youth population, are affected by violence or armed conflict.
- There were 9.7 million young people aged 15–24 living in internal displacement because of conflicts, violence or disasters at the end of 2019. Of those, 3.1 million were under the age of 18.
- Approximately 175 million children every year will be affected by natural hazards attributed to climate change.
- 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from their homes, among them nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
- Internal migration peaks among those in their 20s, who often migrate to learn new skills or make the most of those already acquired.
- 225 million youth in the developing world (20 per cent) are not in education, employment, or training.
(IASC Guidelines, 2021) Compact For Young People in Humanitarian Action
During crises, donor priorities were always centered on life-saving basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, and child protection. Budgets rarely stretch far enough to reach the needs of young people (10-24 years old), who are often lost between programming for children and programing for adults. This gap has had tragic consequences as crises tend to be ever more protracted, often lasting for years or even decades. If adolescents and youth are not given any opportunities, they will become extremely vulnerable to illegal activities, gangs, underage labor, drug trafficking, sexual abuse, sex trafficking, violence, and more.
RET provides young people with the skills to confront these threats, develop their resilience, and enable them to become self-reliant.
Young people are at the center of RET’s strategy, from program design to implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, and in all measures that respond to their interlinked needs across multiple sectors. RET is committed to protecting the rights of young people affected by conflict, violence, disasters and/or displacement and promotes their meaningful participation to engage in all matters that affect their lives constructively..
As such, RET does not consider young people as solely “beneficiaries”, but active participants, respected contributors, partners and/or leaders in humanitarian crises, stabilization and peace operations, and in development contexts. We believe in the meaningful and positive role young people can play to voice, advocate for, and address issues affecting their lives, as well as the ones of their families and communities.
RET commits to empowering refugee and host/local youth to be resilient, fulfill their potential, and become actors of positive social change. By realizing their rights and assuming their responsibilities, young people can rebuild fairer, more prosperous societies in tandem with meeting their individual and collective life projects.
Youth with Disabilities
During crises, donor priorities were always centered on life-saving basic During emergencies, inequalities linked to disability are exacerbated as normal support systems such as family ties, specific infrastructure, social services, or transportation networks collapse. The inclusive approaches that RET follows mean that affirmative actions have to be taken into consideration to ensure that all members of society have access to their universal rights.
Therefore, special attention to young people with disabilities is a question of addressing specifically acute needs to guarantee all young peoples’ rights.
However, as in the case of focusing on young women, working with youth with disabilities also serves a broader purpose. The way communities treat the most vulnerable influences how they view solidarity and social cohesion as a whole. Developing the potential of youth with special needs allows them to play substantial roles in raising the awareness of their communities on the intrinsic value of all its members.
RET addresses the needs of youth with special needs on multiple levels. First, we mainstream the issue of access to educational facilities and opportunities to youth with special needs in all our programs worldwide. In specific contexts, we have developed methods to train governmental institutions to integrate youth with special needs within the formal education system’s response to natural disasters.
Our work then extends to the educational institutions themselves, training teachers to understand the needs and particular vulnerabilities of their students with disabilities and integrate them into the school’s contingency plans. Finally, RET works with the youth themselves, raising their awareness of their roles and responsibilities in case of emergencies, allowing them to become positive actors in the school’s overall safety.
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