Children and adolescents contribute to society in countless ways. With indefatigable energy, perseverance and idealism, young people are often the best collaborators in seemingly impossible tasks. Not afraid to ask tough questions or challenge the status quo, they prod adults to work a little longer, strive a little harder and dream a little deeper. And, for these reasons, UNICEF harnesses their energy in partnerships throughout the world.
A peek at the website Voices of Youth, a cyberspace forum for young people created by UNICE , reveals the passion and insight of young people. Through an exchange of ideas and information, children from all parts of the world analyse issues of development and human rights. In 2006, the users of Voices of Youth came from 180 different nations, with more than 60 per cent from developing countries. The most active participants in online discussions were youths aged 15 to 19. The majority of the 30,000 young people involved in Voices of
Youth during 2006 were girls, who made up 55 per cent of the website users.
Young leaders are not only engaging in debate on the Web, many are also active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, schools and universities in support of UNICEF projects and goals. In Romania, ‘The Fighters’ is a network of young people who go out on the streets, or any place where adolescents gather, to talk about HIV preven- tion and work to end the stigma that often arrives with the diagnosis. Started by a young man who is HIV-positive, the work of The Fighters complements the AIDS-prevention programmes that UNICEF conducts in schools.
New Horizons, a UNICEF-supported project in Egypt, trains young women to educate their peers about such health issues as drug abuse, reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage. A similar project, called New Visions, was developed for young men.
POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS