How WHO and International Youth Organizations Are a Driving Force to Help Young People During the COVID-19 Pandemic Period?
Written by Arundhathi Enamela
Edited by Michael Aderinsola
The World Health Organization (WHO) is actively working on engaging community programs to bring awareness about COVID-19 and in this effort, WHO has collaborated with youth organizations representing about 250 million members.
This initiative was titled “Global Youth Mobilization for Generated Disrupted” and is being led by the Big 6 Youth Organizations which are — Young Men’s Christian Association, YMCA; World Young Women’s Christian Association, YWCA; World Organization of the Scout Movement; World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC; and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award which collectively involves more than 250 million young people and offers support for them to engage and design efforts to make an impact about the pandemic.
US$5 Million Support
The Global Youth Mobilization will convene a Global Youth Summit in April 2021, and a fund of US $5 million in support of local and national youth organizations, and to scale up response efforts.
Under the aegis of WHO, these 6 youth organizations are approaching governments, businesses and policymakers to patronage the Global Youth Mobilization effort and commit to investing in the future of young people which is very valuable for the future generations. These efforts will encourage young people to manage some of the pressing health and society issues emerging from the pandemic.
Who Is the Driving Force
“WHO is honored to join this truly exciting and powerful global movement to mobilize and empower youth worldwide to be the driving force of the recovery to COVID-19. Joining forces with the Big 6 and the United Nations Foundation provides WHO and the world a unique opportunity to learn from hundreds of millions of young people and be guided by their sustainable solutions to help communities build back better from the pandemic.” — WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The Impact of the Pandemic on Young People
There have been many disruptions in young people’s education, economic downturn, loss or lack of employment opportunities, impact on physical and mental health, low-level of moods and some kind of expression of unhappiness at home.
For instance, mental anxiety is said to be present among nearly 90% of young people as a result of COVID-19 and more than 1 billion students were away from school due to closure — with some of them losing their jobs too.
The Community and Voluntary Service
However, young people are also helping in finding solutions in this pandemic period and some of them are coming forward to offer community-based and voluntary service, such as working as first responders and delivering food supplies to those in need.
The Global Youth Mobilization draws attention to the urgent needs of young people and also supports the leadership role exercised by young people in their respective communities.
The Big 6 Leadership Statement
In a joint statement, the leadership of the Big 6 stated:
“We are proud to team up with the WHO to provide opportunities and funding to help millions of young people across the globe to respond to local challenges related to COVID-19 in their communities.”
Strategic Partnership Youth Council
The Global Youth Mobilization also entered into a strategic partnership with WHO and launched the Youth Council — this is supported by the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund which is powered by the WHO and the United Nations Foundation.
It will involve the participation of the United Nations agencies and high-profile global partners, brands, and advocates — FIFA, YOUNGA by BridgingTheGap Ventures, and the creation of a youth council of social media influencers, including the Influential platform.
This initiative will be youth-led and will develop youth participation and engagement.
Commenced in 1996, the Big 6 Youth Organizations are as follows:
- Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)
- World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)
- World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM)
- World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and a leading programme for youth development
- The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (The Award)
Contributing to the empowerment of more than 1 billion young people during the last century, you can find more information at www.bigsix.org.
The New Policy Paper
A new policy paper was published and it was titled ‘Young People Championing Post-Pandemic Futures’, depicting the unique challenges faced by young people today and also to commemorate the launch of the Global Youth Mobilization.
The new policy paper is a joint call to action representing 250 million children and young people that make up the Big 6 Youth Organizations and also includes recommendations with regard to education, employment, mental health and digital media.
About the World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a global leadership organization in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions operating with 149 offices, to promote health, and to (make) keep the world a better place while helping those in need.
WHO has a goal for 2019–2023 to help a billion people to enjoy better healthcare and to save people from health emergencies.
The United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation brings many ideas, people and resources together to deal with global problems. To find out more, please visit www.unfoundation.org.
COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
More than $238 million were raised to support the World Health Organization (WHO) in their global response to COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in order to carry out works of prevention, detection and response to COVID-19. You can learn more about COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO, sponsored by the United Nations Foundation at www.covid19responsefund.org.