Adolescent and Youth Development
Every young person, everywhere, is empowered to achieve their full potential.
What we do?
Our goal is to ensure that all adolescent girls and boys in Serbia, including the most vulnerable and marginalized, can realize their rights and reach their full potential. We aim to empower young people to influence decision makers at all levels and co-create solutions towards building respectful, peaceful, inclusive and sustainable communities and society.
The second decade of life is a period of physical and emotional changes, increased autonomy, and independent decision-making. The choices and decisions that adolescents make or are prevented from making in this stage of their lives will critically influence both their own development opportunities and those of society. Therefore, UNICEF aims at increasing participation of young people in their communities, promoting learning and developing skills crucial for the 21st century, as well as providing youth with relevant information, services and opportunities that enable them to take their rightful place in society.
By engaging with young people and supporting them in standing up for their rights and creating the conditions for them to progress and play an active role in societies, we can contribute to building peace, security, justice and sustainable development for all.
In this regard, UNICEF closely cooperates with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, Ministry of Health and other key institutions responsible for the implementation of policies for adolescents and young people to build capacity for quality service delivery and the empowerment of young people to claim their rights.
With its partners, UNICEF works upon providing all adolescents and all young people in Serbia with opportunities to develop and apply their skills to successfully transition to work
With this in mind, UNICEF aims to establish a multisectoral cooperation that includes schools, health institutions and community centres to address mental health by different means
UNICEF in Serbia aims to draw more young people to U-Report, an innovative platform created to collect the opinions of young people and give them an opportunity to express their ideas
The UNICEF Serbia’s country programme, the global UNICEF strategy toward youth and the 2030 UN Agenda all highlight the importance of bringing young people to the decision-making processes now.
Despite improvements, such as the overall rise in living standards and the growing number of opportunities for youth participation in NGOs and social movements, Serbian youth is still facing challenges:
- 32.5 per cent of young people aged 15–24 are unemployed.
- 15.9 per cent of young people aged 15–24 neither work nor study.
- 54 per cent of young people do not work in the occupation they have been trained for.
- 21.9 per cent of school students report anxiety at least once a week.
- There is just one child psychiatrist per 40,000 children.
- 40 per cent of young people aged 16–24 years are at risk of poverty and social exclusion.
- 25 per cent of municipalities are not ready to invest in local youth policy and development.
- Only 31 per cent of young people are involved in voluntary activities.
UNICEF encourages youth to acquire and practice skills to help break stereotypes, constructively interact and implement innovative ideas.
In all our activities, we work to promote youth inclusion and well-being and support the rights of vulnerable groups to fully participate in their communities.
UNICEF’s overall goal is to contribute to national efforts to fulfil the rights of all children in Serbia, especially the most disadvantaged and excluded, and enable them to develop to their full potential.
UNICEF in Serbia and its partners work to empower youth and prepare them for the labour market through entrepreneurial and digital skills programmes. In 2020 , UNICEF with partners helped build foundational skills of more than 1,500 adolescents who learned about critical thinking and the basics of robot programming. Under UNICEF’s global flagship initiative UPSHIFT and GenU, in-community and virtual bootcamps and mentorship were conducted with 30 youth teams reaching 18,000 peers and leading the development of their neighbourhoods for a cleaner environment, mental help support, and better access to youth-tailored information and services.
To increase youth participation in the community, UNICEF is using innovative platforms for amplifying youth perspectives. So far, around 8,000 young people are active U-Reporters on the U-Report platform who voice their opinions on topics they consider important, and 1,020 young people became volunteers on the Volonteri na mrezi platform to contribute to their communities. A UNICEF Youth Advisory Board was established, gathering a diverse group of young people from different backgrounds, with active involvement in youth consultations, guest appearances, discussions for research development and advice on youth programming.
To address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic that had an overall detrimental impact on the well-being of adolescents and youth, UNICEF consulted young people using the U-Report platform as a channel for awareness-raising, for prevention messages, key information on healthy lifestyles during confinement, mental health and addressing social stigma. Youth perspectives gathered through U-Report fed into the COVID-19 Socio-Economic Impact Assessment in Serbia and contributed towards further equity in accessing quality distance learning and to the expansion of the child helpline in response to the pandemic.