Youth engagement

UNICEF supports children in using new technologies to express their views, concerns, and interests.

an adolescent girl, Moldova

The challenge

Children need to be able to express their views about the issues that affect them.

For many years, children and adolescents in Moldova have not been actively involved in shaping programmes, services, or decision making on matters affecting their lives. The majority of child participation initiatives came from civil society and international organizations, but rarely or inconsistently from national or local authorities.

Various legislative acts and initiatives promoting children and youth participation have been developed over the years, such as local children’s councils, children’s newspapers and radio stations, and groups of peer educators. 

UNICEF sees participation as a fundamental human right. It is also one of the guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Through active participation, children and young people are empowered to play a vital role in their own development and the development of their communities. This will help them to learn essential life skills, build knowledge on human rights and citizenship, and promote positive civic action.

The solution

Child participation encourages and enables children to make their views known about the issues that affect them.

UNICEF also supports children in using new technologies to express their views, concerns, and interests.

U-Report is a real-time social messaging tool that enables communication between young people and decision makers. It allows anyone from any community, anywhere in the world to speak out on issues that they care about, respond to polls, report issues on behalf of people in their country, support child rights, respond to humanitarian emergencies, and work as positive agents of change. U-Report works over SMS on even a basic mobile phone. It is also available on social media through Twitter and Facebook Messenger, and through a mobile app. U-Report is live in 40 countries, including Moldova, and more than 2 million people are sending or receiving messages every week.

U-Report, a social messaging tool developed by UNICEF, helps young people to participate in decision making and claim their rights.

Innovations that empower young people create social change agents who can influence and lead on solving problems in their communities. The ability for young people to connect to each other and counsel each other also allows them to share and scale their own solutions.

At only 16, without fundamental studies in IT, Diana Marusic invented a software for the blind, which allows commands to be performed by computer using voice.

Music can help stop intolerance and harassment, so that all children feel safe - at home, in school, and in the community. 

To promote a peaceful and inclusive society, La La Play Voices - a secular choir of 20 children and adolescents from 12 districts of Moldova - united during a concert at the Organ Hall together with Moldovan National Youth Orchestra, uniting young musicians from Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Germany, and led by the young conductor Cristian Spataru.

The 20 chorus members – children of Moldovan, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Armenian, Gagauz, and Roma ethnicity, from various social groups, as well as children with special needs practiced choral music with the support of professional musicians. Most of the children had no previous experience with reading music and have never sang in a chorus before.

Through music, adolescents and young people can send a powerful message to the society about the future world we want.

UNICEF supported the Government of Moldova in engaging children in decision making at all levels. Children from different social and ethnic backgrounds participated in developing the National Strategy on Child and Family Protection and the concept of the national children’s helpline, as well as in assessing the legal and regulatory framework on child and youth participation. UNICEF assisted the Ministry of Education in setting up the National Pupils Committee in 2013, through development of regulations and training.

This provided children with a platform to participate in the development of the Education Strategy 2020 and the Code of Education, to revise the school curriculum and come up with recommendations to improve children’s access to education.

Youth 2030

Young people worldwide contend with poverty, discrimination, violence, conflict, disaster and displacement. One in five are not in education, training or employment. Many struggle to get what they need to make their way in the world – and to make their voices heard. 

But the UN Youth Strategy, launched at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, aims to bring them to the table.

A global educational and training partnership, called “Generation Unlimited”, was also launched at the same time. With the tagline ‘Co-creating solutions with and for young people’, Generation Unlimited is part of efforts to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It aims to involve and respond to the specific needs of young people, as well as to promote and support young people’s role as critical agents of change.