Have you ever wanted to get involved in problems facing young people like you around the globe? Well, with UNICEF Ireland’s new campaign ‘It’s About Us,’ you can do it with just a click of a button (literally!).
‘It’s About Us’ was designed to get Irish youth involved in the issues that are most important to them. UNICEF Ireland work to educate young people about inequality, discrimination and children’s rights, and gives them a space to make their voices heard.
On the ‘It’s About Us’ website, young people are given the chance to vote for the top 5 issues that matter the most to them from 10 options –
- The Best Start In Life
- Safety from Harm
- A Life Without Fear
- Climate Change
- Poverty & Hunger
These votes will be added together, calculated and given to the Irish Government before the United Nations in September, so something that seems quite unremarkable will actually have a huge impact. And it’s so easy!
I did a TY work experience placement at UNICEF’s office last November, just when the ‘It’s About Us’ project was starting. I stayed in contact with them, and in June, I was asked if I wanted to volunteer with the project and try to encourage teenagers to vote. So off I went into Cork city centre for the day, hoping that we might get people interested in changing the world!
I got into Merchants Quay shopping centre for about 11am, where UNICEF’s campaign coordinator, Viv, had already set up. We were given t-shirts and iPads for the voting, and were sent off to try and find some fellow teenagers to approach.
I learned a lot from speaking with young people on the streets of Cork. For many, it had been the first time they had heard of UNICEF or the project, and everyone seemed quite interested in how it worked. We spoke to 19 year olds in college and 11 year olds with their parents, and went everywhere from shopping centres to outside McDonalds.
‘It’s About Us’ has the potential to make a huge difference because it encourages young people to become ambassadors. We are the future leaders, volunteers, doctors and diplomats, it is hoped that a project like this could be the first step in inspiring even just one person to take a stand. It’s so easy to vote, and it has the potential to change lives all around the globe. We, as young people, have the responsibility to help other vulnerable young people like us.
UNICEF Ireland is holding a Youth Summit on September 19th in Dublin Castle where young people will come together and debate and discuss issues. You can vote, volunteer and learn more on the ‘It’s About Us’ website, as well finding out about the amazing work that is being done by UNICEF.
Also, don’t forget to look out for volunteers in your local town or city. UNICEF is travelling the country to get the opinions of young people, so don’t be afraid to step up and take action!