UNICEF and youth in the Sahel
An overview of current initiatives
UNICEF is currently working with young people across the Sahel on various climate and political engagement projects. A snapshot of these projects is listed below:
- UNICEF Gambia is supporting training and skill-development opportunities for young people through various projects and programs, including peacebuilding projects, behavior change campaigns to end female genital mutilation/cutting, a U-Report platform for engagement and participation, child rights radio programs, and advocacy to improve access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
- A total of 37,082 adolescents and youth have so far been reached through the above projects.
- In Guinea, UNICEF has supported the Ministry of Youth to establish of "local youth councils" in nineteen communes in Guinea and establish "child friendly cities." This has helped give children and adolescents a voice in their communities and local and regional development plans.
- 60 young people are supporting UNICEF in climate and environmental action activities.
- The Generation SAFIA project, an activity centre for adolescent girls is improving basic literacy and school enrollment of targeted adolescent girls, strengthening their active participation n the public sphere and improving their employability and economic independence through skills training.
- So far, 960 girls have participated in 56 trainings on leadership, self-esteem, negotiation skills, financial management and employability and 9178 parents have been trained on providing a supportive parenting environment, to empower their daughters.
- In Niger, 2,051 adolescents and youth rom 16 municipalities have completed training on peace building, civic engagement, women's leadership and communication/advocacy. Following the trainings, the youth self-organized into 68 registered groups and presented their action plans for official recognition and support at community assemblies.
- Young people in Niger have also led 134 awareness-raising initiatives, including debates, blood drives, soccer games, etc., reaching more than 1,500 other young people.
- With support from UNICEF and the Prime Minister's Public Policy Analysis and Government Program Evaluation Unit (CAPEG), the regional councils and governorates of four regions (Maradi, Zinder, Agadez, Dosso) have set up a framework for improved intergenerational dialogue and mutual accountability between youth groups and municipal and regional actors (elected officials, governorate secretaries general, CSOs, local media, women's organisations, religious leaders). In each region, an action plan and a mutual accountability framework formalised the commitments of youth and leaders.
- In Nigeria, Generation Unlimited have launched multiple mall-scale environmental challenges. The programme will be taken to scale in 12 states across the country, reaching 20 million youth with skills training, employment, entrepreneurship, and social impact opportunities by 2030.
- Recent challenges include the Plastics Challenge: Use Less Plastic where 4,045 young people were asked to create solutions to plastic pollution.
- In 2020, the Upshift Programme has supported 845 young people to develop their own projects and business solutions to address climate change and other environmental impacts.
- In Chad, UNICEF has been supporting Girl Guides and Boy Scouts to develop social entrepreneuship and civic engagement programmes, including recycling and transformational leadership activities through behvariour change communication and environmental action in schools, including School WASH Clubs and educational talks in their respective communities.