Youth and adolescent development
It is important for adolescents to have access to information, understand their rights and to be aware of their potential for personal influence on the society
Adolescence is a unique stage of life, the transition from childhood to adulthood, which brings great opportunities and potential for growth and development. The second decade of life is characterized by rapid brain development and physical, biological, emotional and cognitive transformations, greater independence and peer influence, but also increased risk taking and various forms of vulnerability. After early childhood, the second decade represents a second opportunity for adolescents to build the resilience, skills, and social and emotional competencies required for healthy and productive adult life.
"Every tenth person in Croatia is between 10 and 19 years old."
With 479.579 adolescents living in Croatia, the proportion of children and young people aged 10 to 19 makes up to 11.19% of the total population. Nevertheless, very few of these young people have the opportunity to participate in decision-making that affects their lives and the lives of their communities.
Very often, society misses out on involving young people in decision making processes, what results in missed opportunities for new ideas, innovation and a different perspective on challenges. Adolescents and young people in Croatia live in a young democratic society, burdened by changes in the system and increasing social disparities and economic insecurity. Many adolescents and young people have limited access to basic services in health, education, social care, criminal proceedings.
"It is important that we, as a society, educate active citizens who are ready to contribute to a better society."
Participation is easily accepted by adolescents and young people if they live in society where their rights can be realized and respected. By improving the participation of adolescents and young people, we improve adult awareness, the state of society, respect for human rights, tolerance, and educate active citizens.
Digital and social media offer adolescents new opportunities to express themselves and mobilize their peers - a space for adolescents who can hear them and develop critical thinking and media literacy skills.
UNICEF works with the public, private and civil sectors, adolescents and young people, especially vulnerable groups, as well as with their parents and care givers, to empower adolescents and young people to their full potential.