Adolescents living in Myanmar’s Kachin State IDP camps voice their concerns and aspirations to UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and Pacific
MYITIKINA, 15 November 2018 – In the run-up to this year’s World Children’s Day on 20 November, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, Karin Hulshof, joined U-Reporters in a meeting with adolescents and young people living at the Maing Na RC camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Kachin State. During the Regional Director’s visit, young U-Reporters presented the findings of a recent assessment of the views and experiences of adolescents and young people living in IDP camps located in conflict affected areas. The assessment identified their specific concerns including how difficulties in accessing education and livelihoods creates uncertainty for young people’s futures.
“My family cannot afford to pay for my school expenses. So, I cannot go to school like other children,” said 14-year-old girl, Ma Li Doi Nan.
Young people living in the Maing Na RC camp face a number of difficult challenges. Many were separated from their parents when they arrived and are at risk of violence, abuse, and exposure to harmful practices including child labour, trafficking and drug abuse. “In the assessment, we also identified that girls need separate toilets and safe spaces for Menstrual Hygiene Management,” said Roi Nan, one of the U-Reporters who live in the camp.
“I am touched by the openness of the discussion among girls regarding the challenges they face such as handling menstrual hygiene, and impressed with the skills of the U-Reporters in managing such sensitive conversations. UNICEF will continue to elevate the voices of children and adolescent and in the process, support the exchange of ideas and dialogues among young people from different parts of the country,” said Ms. Hulshof.
U-Reporters inspired their peers living in the IDP camps to raise their views, concerns and hopes to decision makers through platforms such as UNICEF’s social media polling tool, ‘U-Report’, which has been used by over 20,000 young people across the country since its launch in 2016.
Myanmar has a high youth demographic with two-thirds of the population under the age of 35, and almost 20 per cent per cent in the adolescent age range of 10-19 years old. UNICEF together with respective Government ministries, Parliamentarians, civil society and a range of partners has committed to actively mobilize this very large young community as agents of positive social change. Moreover UNICEF, wants to ensure that the U Report platform is made available to the most vulnerable, particularly young people living in conflict-affected and remote areas, so that they too have the opportunity to contribute to polls and to report on the conditions faced in their communities.
On World Children’s Day, U-Reporters - on behalf of children and adolescents across the country - will head to Union Parliament in the capital Nay Pyi Taw, to discuss with Parliamentarians how children in Myanmar, particularly those living in IDP camps and conflict affected areas, can be educated, protected and given a fair chance in life.
U-Report is an innovative social messaging tool allowing adolescents and young people from communities across Myanmar, to speak out and respond to polls on the issues that matter to them. U-Report was launched in Myanmar in August 2016. Already more than 20,000 U-Reporters have registered through Facebook.
Poll questions on a wide range of development topics are asked to U-Reporters every week, providing a deep source of real-time information on the views and opinions of adolescents and young people in Myanmar. The platform provides decision makers with a forum to listen to many voices across the country, giving them a unique insight into the challenges that affect young people in Myanmar.
To join U-Report go to https://www.facebook.com/UReportMyanmar/
To access and utilize U-report poll results go to https://myanmar.ureport.in/
UNICEF in Myanmar
UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation.
For more information about UNICEF and its work in Myanmar: