UNICEF Youth Board - Joint Forces for Greater Youth Involvement
Belgrade, August 12th 2020. - The UNICEF Youth Board received 14 new members between the ages of 14 and 24. Over the next year, they will help youth voices be heard and that their concerns and suggestions are valued when it comes to the critical topics that affect them or that they want to strengthen and change in their communities.
Over the past two years, the Board has participated in youth dialogues in Novi Sad, Belgrade, and Užice, awareness-raising campaigns on selected topics and UNICEF's mission, youth consultations, and promotion of the U-Report platform. They gave recommendations for organizing training for their peers to acquire new knowledge and skills for finding and implementing innovative solutions for a better position and greater involvement of all young people in society.
The Board is also actively involved in developing mechanisms for youth participation, including the U-Report platform, which brought together over 7,500 adolescents and young people in Serbia, volunteer program, and the Online Volunteers initiative, and four cross-border projects within the "Dialogue for the Future" program. Through skills development programs and training, so far, over 1,200 young people have been involved and have improved their entrepreneurial and digital skills and the skills needed for better employability and independence.
Olga Dević, the Board member since its establishment, says that young people, despite the challenges and risks due to the pandemic, have shown great solidarity, maturity, desire, and motivation to contribute to their communities and peers through volunteer activities even in times of crisis.
"Such and many other efforts show the considerable potential of us, young people, who are ready to create our chances, but for that our voice must be heard by decision-makers… Active participation of youth in social processes should not be a privilege but an obligation for society to foster and support. Now that's more important than ever to hear, transfer, but above all, to understand the attitudes and the real needs of young people and the UNICEF Youth Board will be even more active in sending a message that the voice of young people is essential." says Olga.
The Board has big plans for the upcoming period to provide space for young people and be part of UNICEF's advocacy and negotiation initiatives. To ensure that more young people, including those from the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, are better informed about inclusion opportunities, and that opinions and the recommendations of young people are taken into account in making strategic decisions that concern them.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia