In fragile and conflict-affected settings, Covid-19 is increasing vulnerabilities and tensions caused by unequal access to already strained (and often inexistent) social and medical services. This is particularly true for young people – one in every four of whom live in such areas.
Despite repeated appeals for a global ceasefire, violence is intensifying in some places whilst some peace processes are also on hold or endangered. Our response to Covid-19 must empower young people through greater inclusion in these processes, at both a local and international level.
The idea of the ‘youth burden’ – an unemployed youth bulge failing to become a demographic dividend in countries in fragile situations in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – often does not take into account the considerable opportunities that could be presented if we help young people regain this sense of agency.
Across sectors, Covid-19 is accelerating opportunities for collective action. Since the beginning of the crisis, youth in Mali, Cameroon, South Sudan, Syria and Haiti have acted with exemplary resilience, and in proactive and innovative ways, to support their communities. We must now seize the moment to give the ‘youth burden’ a new narrative.
Read the full blog here.
This blog first appeared on the ODI site.
Author: Melanie Pinet, ODI.
Image courtesy of DFID – UK Department for International Development via Flickr.
The views are those of the author and not necessarily those of ETTG.