Harnessing the power of young people to tackle COVID-19
Young people are projected to experience disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 crisis across the world, including in Ukraine. Although nearly half of the country’s young people believe that youth should be involved in resolving challenges, civic engagement among young people remains low, especially in rural and poor urban areas. Limited availability of information, lack of skills, time and supporters among adults, and weak partnership between youth and state institutions are significant barriers to harnessing the power of youth in Ukraine.
Since 2014, UNDP has supported the Ukrainian Government to reform its youth policy through an integrated approach, boosting youth participation in decision making at all levels, peacebuilding processes and the labor market – all with benefits across the 2030 Agenda.
For example, the national ‘Youth Worker programme’, designed for civil servants and civil society leaders, aims to boost skills among the people working with youth and to strengthen the skills among young people to influence policy formulation and assume an active role in their communities. More than 2,800 youth workers have been trained and engaged young people into meaningful non-formal education activities. With seed funding from UNDP, youth entrepreneurs on the grassroots level are also supported to implement sustainable development projects across the SDGs: innovative waste sorting, new youth centers, bicycle infrastructure and self-defense classes in partnership with the local police, are a few examples.
This support is timely, as young people have proven to play a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic. Young people are connecting with the country’s COVID response by leading the nation-wide “Give Doctors a Ride” campaign during the closure of public transportation, advocating for preventive health measures, producing self-protection devices on 3D printers, helping older persons with food and medical supplies, and operating hotlines to coordinate support to people in need.
A UNDP-supported portal will soon be launched to further strengthen coordination of volunteer activities.