Things we gained volunteering as UNICEF Young Reporters
A joint blog by UNICEF Young Reporters
The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it many restrictions, but the UNICEF volunteer initiative opened the door to new opportunities for young people to get involved and be part of the response to deal with the pandemic. UNICEF Young Reporters is a volunteer initiative that brings together young people and offers them a unique opportunity to express their views, share experiences, gain knowledge and skills, and participate in change initiatives in their communities.
“As a UNICEF volunteer young reporter, I got the chance to express my views on things that affect us young people.” Branislav (16)
We meet every week and participated in media literacy training, training on writing blogs and articles, video production and graphic design. Every week we have a new activity and that motivates us to work harder and also more opportunities to socialize. Teamwork is what connects us Young Reporters, and every activity is a new experience. We write blogs, produce videos and design social media content on topics relevant to children and young people.
“Thanks to the UNICEF volunteer initiative I met wonderful people, I improved my ability to work in a team and feel I am contributing to advance child rights and the country’s response to COVID-19.” Matej (16)
The way we express ourselves, communicate and the teamwork are some of the skills we have developed as individuals. We often talk to each other about how positively our volunteer engagement affects our communities and our own well-being.
“As a UNICEF Young Reporter, I gained many new experiences, knowledge, skills, friendships. I feel I am doing something worthwhile and contributing to the community” Jana (16)
Our work started in April this year and has been going since, all the time online. This is not an obstacle for us. It actually inspires us to skillfully use the resources we have. We develop the ideas and content by collaborating in smaller groups. Then we consult with the whole team to improve and finalize the different stories. Although we have different backgrounds, we understand each other and we function as if we have known each other for years. Volunteering during the pandemic and having something to channel our focus contributed to us coping with the new situation. It has significantly helped us maintain our mental health, and our teamwork gives us a sense of belonging. We all support each other and have made new friendships.
“The opportunity to volunteer with UNICEF came to me during a difficult time during the COVID lockdowns. When I felt isolated,
it gave me something meaningful to do and feel connected with others.” Veronica (17)
“My decision to become a UNICEF Young Reporter might have been one of the best decisions I have made this year. It helped me a lot during the pandemic in many different ways!” Erblin (17)
The new knowledge and experiences we gain is one thing, but we also appreciate being given the space to express our views and have the voice of young people heard. Working with UNICEF staff and experts from different fields has allowed us to deepen our understanding of different topics and which is really fun. Also, when we see the public's reactions and engagement with the stories and videos, it motivates us to work harder.
“Every minute spent volunteering as a UNICEF Young Reporter is valuable, because at the end of the day I feel useful and I am challenged to find solutions to some of the problems we have. I know that the future is in our hands and our voice needs to be heard.” Dorisa (16)
As long as we have this opportunity to act as UNICEF Young Reporters, we will strive to make progress, contribute and proudly continue our volunteer work. There are so many things that need to change in the world, especially now. As young people we need to speak up loudly and express our views. The world needs to know how we feel, and volunteering with UNICEF gives us that opportunity. Let's make this world a better place. Join us and continue to shape a better world!