Empowered migrant youth drive the COVID-19 response in their communities
With empowered youth leading the way, community development will be sure to follow despite a global pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted education, formal and informal work and access to health care services for all youth, but they will not give up in defeat. Migrant youth in northern Thailand are playing a key role in the COVID-19 response in their communities by raising awareness about symptoms, risks and prevention measures.
This network of migrant youth were first empowered to engage with and develop their communities during the Developing Migrant Adolescents project organized by The Life Skills Development Foundation (TLSDF) and supported by UNICEF Thailand in April 2018-December 2019. Sixty-three migrant youth leaders in Fang district in the northern Chiang Mai province, including 40 girls and 23 boys, further developed their skills in risk communication and community engagement on COVID-19 and psychological first aid in a recent training organized by UNICEF Thailand together with TLSDF and supported by USAID in July 2020.
With support and training, the migrant youth leaders produced posters and videos on COVID-19, which were shared online and in schools across five sub-districts in Fang, reaching 1,388 students. The youth leaders are also conducting home visits covering 200 households to identify children and community members affected by the social and economic impact of the pandemic to provide psychological first aid and emergency financial support to those in need.
“I joined this activity because I wanted to learn new experiences and help others,” said Ratchapruek Poti, 14-year-old migrant youth leader from Mae Kha sub-district. “I have seen many people in my community impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. I really felt inspired to be able to share knowledge on how people can prevent the spread of the pandemic and protect themselves and their loved ones. What I liked the most is carrying out home visits as this allows me to see firsthand the struggles that people in my own community are facing.”
Through their tireless work in the COVID-19 response, the migrant youth leaders will have reached an estimated 4,000 community members in Fang district, including both migrant and Thai community members, by the project’s end in December 2020. With empowered youth leading the way, community development will be sure to follow despite a global pandemic.