16 February 2024

Two pager: YOUTH

Many young people in Moldova face poverty, economic migration, violence, and unemployment levels that are higher than among adults. For some, poverty leads to child labour, and those living or working on the streets may be exposed to violence, abuse, and exploitation. While they are the most vulnerable, young people are the least likely to have access to the services they need and often underestimate the risks or know how to avoid them.   UNICEF works with the adolescents at greatest risk of HIV and STD infection to reduce their vulnerability and ensure their access to services: we have supported the activities of the network of Youth Friendly Health Centres and advocated for lowering the threshold of mandatory parental consent for Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing from 18 to 14 years. Youth Friendly Health Centres are now available in all districts in Moldova. Since 2007, when they became part of primary health care, the National Health Insurance Fund covers for the services.  To build bridges between the education and employment systems, UNICEF invests in social innovation – strengthening skills that can be transferred to the workplace and supporting adolescent and youth-led social businesses. In Moldova, UNICEF runs the UPSHIFT programme that blends approaches to youth and adolescent development with social innovation and social entrepreneurship. UPSHIFT links to UNICEF efforts on empowering young people through pupils’ councils and student associations to identify challenges in their communities and create entrepreneurial solutions to address them.     To expand opportunities for adolescents to participate meaningfully in their communities and the political processes that affect them, UNICEF engages them through U-Report - a real-time social messaging tool that enables communication between young people and decision makers.   We also work with partners, including youth organizations, to change harmful social norms, and develop platforms for adolescents to share their experiences and propose solutions.