UNICEF appoints two young Congolese as Youth Advocates in DRC
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KINSHASA, 17 NOVEMBER 2020 - UNICEF has officially appointed Ketsia Passou, 17, and Emmanuel Jidisa, 14, as UNICEF Youth Advocates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
UNICEF Youth Advocates are young people who raise awareness about issues affecting children and youth around the world. They have the opportunity to work with UNICEF on advocacy campaigns and initiatives to inspire other young people to take action to make the world a better place and ensure that the rights of every child are respected.
"I would like to congratulate Ketsia and Emmanuel for their commitment to UNICEF in defending the rights of the child and to give a voice to Congolese youth, especially in favor of the climate cause. We need to involve children and youth as much as possible to act together and to build a better world for all children" said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in DRC.
Young people have immense potential to benefit their societies socially, politically and economically. They are also the most effective champions of the issues that affect them, and they have the unique power to mobilize their peers around the issues they are passionate about. To realize children's rights, decision makers, including adults, businesses, and world leaders must work with children and youth as agents of change.
In the DRC, the 0–24-year-old population represents 67% of the Congolese population of which 48% are children aged 0-14. UNICEF is committed to helping Congolese youth take action to defend their rights, giving them a greater voice and encouraging them to participate in discussions that affect them.
"In a world where sometimes the voice of youth does not count, I want to represent Congolese youth, I have hope for my country," said Ketsia, 17. "I also want to raise awareness and motivate young people to participate and take their responsibilities. They need to become superheroes to make a difference, and especially to get involved in the fight against climate change for all our futures."
Initially involved with the Child Reporters trained by UNICEF, Ketsia and Emmanuel were trained in children's rights and journalism techniques. They have written advocacy articles, meet with several Ministers and influential people to make their voices heard and to give a voice of Congolese children and youth.
During the year 2021, Ketsia and Emmanuel participated in UNICEF's advocacy campaign "Youth Voices on climate issues". Young people living in the DRC are among the most exposed to the effects of climate change: a situation that threatens their health, education and security, and puts them at risk of contracting deadly diseases.
Through this campaign, Ketsia and Emmanuel were able to defend their rights in relation to global climate issues and to represent the voice of their peers by participating in the documentary Young people and climate change, which reached about 26,543,000 people in 8 African countries (Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Gabon, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon).
Over the years, their commitment has been remarkable and continues to inspire other youth and children. It is on this basis that UNICEF has officially appointed Ketsia and Emmanuel as UNICEF Youth Advocates in DRC.
"I am proud to be a Congolese child and to be a youth advocate," said Emmanuel, 14. "Young people need to prepare for their future, what is important to me is to be able to defend my country and our future against deforestation. Sometimes deforestation is necessary to live, but we absolutely have to plant trees. Trees help us breathe and they are important for the climate."
In their new role, Ketsia and Emmanuel will continue to support UNICEF's work in the DRC to advance the Rights of the Child, promote youth participation in decision-making and ensure that the voice of the youngest is heard, especially on climate and environmental issues in the DRC.
Note to editors:
UNICEF Youth Advocates are girls and boys from all social backgrounds who raise awareness about issues affecting children and youth. They are between the ages of 13 and 24, and collaborate with UNICEF on campaigns and initiatives. They participate in high-level discussions to defend children's rights and to represent the voice of their peers.
In support of the Congolese government, UNICEF is committed to empowering and gives a voice to young people across the DRC to be changemakers and to further take action to defend their rights. Aged 10 to 17, Child Reporters are girls and boys from all social backgrounds who work towards achieving better social protection, education, health and participation of all children in the DRC. Introduced to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and to basic journalistic techniques, Child Reporters become aware of their rights and make their voices heard through various media outlets.