Youth share COVID-19 response efforts

How are you coping? How are you responding? How are you and your networks getting through this pandemic together?

These are some of the questions we discussed on International Youth Day,  at our 9th Youth Power Solidarity Meetup,  with more than 100 young people attending from over 30 countries across Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. 

It was great to have young people come together for International Youth Day, to connect, share and learn from each other and the different ways in which they are being impacted by and are responding to the pandemic. 

Here’s a snapshot of what was said: 

What has made me strong is the spirit of young people mobilizing despite the fact that the space is very limited with government restrictions. Youth don’t stop because of COVID, we remain restless and keep mobilising for a better future. 

Covid-19 personally gave me a chance to explore more things I would not have explored, like self care, attending digital conferences and meetings and organising a movement online. The situation is bad, definitely no debate about that, but the situation also gives me a chance to calibrate and be strategic in my advocacy work too.” – Rastra, Indonesia

I’ve tried to be mentally resilient. What is happening and what is coming is unprecedented.  We have an organisation that looks at young people and what they are doing within the housing and construction industry – many want to contribute and we give them information to lessen their anxiety.  Lots of young people are trying to get jobs in the middle of a pandemic, so we are giving them a platform to make mistakes and take their minds off of things. 

[As young people], we are not the future, we are now. There is power in numbers. Let us unite. – Qali, Zimbawe

As a volunteer and a student, I’ve been struggling. This is the hardest thing we have faced. I practice self care to look after my mental and physical health. What can I do for my community and family if I am not in a stable position myself? – Latika, Bangladesh

“I am working in an organisation for LGBT people and sex workers. I conducted a survey to learn how COVID-19 has affected young people in the LGBT community. The pandemic has reduced access to education and SRHR including PREP for LGBT youth who are HIV positive. Instead young people have been using bicycles and peer to peer connections to deliver medication, and prevention messages. “

“Sex workers way of life has been affected as lockdown restrictions have meant a reduction in human interactions. We are delivering food supplied to sex workers too and have developed a toll free line to reach out to peers for guidance and counselling, and checking in on other young people including call counselling.”   – Ivan

“I am working with a group of young volunteers to counter COVID-19 misinformation such as false cures and conspiracy theories. We have three types of volunteers. We have a fake news team who find brands that advertise misinformation and influence them to stop those misinformation adverts appearing on their sites. We then have a youtube conspiracy theories team who transcribe misinformation on youtube. Then then share it with the Record and Report team who locate and report misinformation to social media companies.” – Rachel, UK

The government didn’t respond quickly enough but most young people are helping with the crisis in the favelas, delivering over 10,000 food baskets. They played a huge role in how the country has been dealing with pandemic along with police violence and segregation. Our government does not seem to care, but young people and youth organisations do. They mobilised and are supporting us to face all these challenges. I am confident in youth power. ” – Daniel , Brazil