Become a UNICEF Youth Activist
UNICEF Ireland wants to support you to start a global movement for change beginning in our own communities. Stay connected online with other activists like you.
Who is a youth activist? Anyone can be! If you care about what happens in your community, school, or the world you can be a global citizen and campaign for the change you wish to see in the world!
#EmergencyLessons is a European Union and UNICEF project that highlights the importance of education for children affected by emergencies.
Ireland is one of seven countries leading this initiative, which is targeted at some 20 million Europeans under the age of 25. Groups from Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom are also taking part in this social media-driven campaign in hopes of inspiring young Europeans to raise their voices on behalf of millions of young people whose education has been interrupted by emergencies. The #EmergencyLessons campaign draws on the true stories of children living through emergencies in countries like Nepal, Guinea, Iraq and Ukraine.
The extraordinary lengths they go to get an education show that children can and must continue to learn during crisis. Leading the campaign for Ireland are Campaign Ambassadors Laura Whitmore, and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo. In June they travelled to see UNICEF and the EU’s operations in Nepal, one year after the devastating earthquake struck – killing 9,000 people. Nearly one in four of the world’s school-aged population – 462 million – now lives in 35 countries affected by crises, including an estimated 75 million children who are in desperate need of educational support. Apart from missing out on education, out of school children are more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and recruitment by armed forces.
Schools provide a safe haven where children can be protected from these threats. The campaign also celebrates the other benefits of going to school – the friends made, the teachers who support children through trauma, the stability found in class routine.
UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power explains why it is necessary to focus on education: “Just 2% of humanitarian aid globally is channelled into education, but the benefits of educating a child in emergency go far beyond equipping people to earn a living – though that is of crucial importance – education has unexpected benefits like improving health outcomes and helping girls avoid child marriage. Most of us are lucky enough to remember
our schooldays fondly – that is because we benefitted from a top class education system. That is something that must be made available to children everywhere.”
“Here in Europe, we tend to take school for granted, and forget what a vital part of life it is to children, especially when everything else around them is collapsing,” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. “We hope this campaign will better help Europeans understand why, when disaster strikes, opportunities to learn are just as important as access to food, water, vaccines and shelter.”
UNICEF Global Executive Director Anthony Lake said: “Young people understand better than anyone how important education is to their lives today and to their futures. Who, better than today’s youth, can demand that the world provides them with the skills they will need to build a better world? Their future, and ours, depends on it”.
UReport is a tool for young people’s participation, designed to address issues that they care about.
Once a UReporter has followed @UReportIRL on Twitter, polls and alerts are sent via Direct Message and real-time responses are collected and mapped on this site. Results and ideas are shared back with the community. Issues polled include health, education, gender, inequality and anything else people want to discuss.
Individual messages are confidential but collected data is transparent.
Information received can be grouped by age, gender and place in real time and is used to connect young people with their leaders, educators and society in general. It draws attention to urgent issues through the information on the site to communicate to people what is wanted or needed.
Registration is voluntary and UReporters. There are 22 national U-Report programmes in addition to the global project which amounts to nearly 2 million U-Reporters and their are new people joining everyday.
UReport relies on volunteer community members serving as UReporters to provide information on issues in their communities to create change. In return UReporters will receive important information and alerts around your issues. Together we create change.