A global initiative by the world's six largest youth organizations and supported by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Foundation has availed young people around the world an opportunity to apply for funding to support innovative Local Solutions to address impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a new initiative called the Global Youth Mobilization.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, climate change activist Greta Thunberg and youth representatives from the Global Youth Mobilization launched the call for applications at a press conference on Monday 19 April 2021.
According to WHO-Liberia, led by the Big 6 Youth Organizations and backed by the WHO and United Nations Foundation, the Global Youth Mobilization is an initiative of young people and voluntary organizations taking action to improve their lives now and in a post-COVID-19 world.
Hundreds of millions of young people have had to put their lives on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The release says 90 per cent of young people have reported increased mental anxiety during the pandemic; more than one billion students in almost every country have been impacted by school closures; 80 per cent of young women are worried about their future; and one in six young people worldwide have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
The Global Youth Mobilization Local Solutions funding will by-pass traditional funding and support streams to invest in young people and community grassroots organizations anywhere in the world. A world first at this scale and level of ambition, young people and community organizations are able to apply for funding via one centralised platform, available in multiple languages. These local solutions will be judged and decided on by young people, for young people.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Ghebreyesus, said: "WHO is committed to ensuring the voices, energy and solutions offered by youth are at the centre of the world's recovery from COVID-19. Our collaboration with the Big 6 and the United Nations Foundation will fuel wide-ranging actions led by young people to address the challenges their own communities face, and will also provide global platforms for their wisdom and ideas to be heard and acted on."
From education disruption and job losses, to a decline in mental health and rising gender-based violence, the Global Youth Mobilization will support young people to overcome the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the release, an initial $2 million of funding will be available in four tiers, from $500 through to $5,000 and an 'accelerator' program will scale and replicate the most promising solutions, with further funding lined up over the coming months.
A Global Youth Summit, to be held virtually on 23- 25 April, marks the starting point for young people to get involved in the mobilization. Over the three days, thousands of young people, leaders, policy makers and changemakers will come together in one space to discuss the issues facing young people across the world.
The mobilization is being supported by Governments, UN agencies and Royal Families including, the Queen of Malaysia, the President of Kenya, President of Ghana, the Vice President of Nigeria, the Government of Fiji, the Prime Minister of Belgium, the Government of Singapore as well as the European Commission, USAID, UNICEF and UN Population Fund. More details, and further Government support, will be announced at the Global Youth Summit.
The Global Youth Mobilization and its supporters are calling on governments, businesses, and policy makers to back the initiative and commit to prioritising young people in their policies and investing in their futures.
Funded by the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, other supporting global partners include high-profile brands and advocates, including: Salesforce, FIFA, the Special Olympics, UNHCR, Cambridge International, Peace First, Generation Unlimited and Influential.
Dr Tedros will open the Global Youth Summit alongside Youth Representatives of the Global Youth Mobilization Board. It will feature youth activists from hundreds of countries, three plenary sessions with high-profile speakers, and over 60 interactive breakout sessions involving a range of partners. The Summit will be available to anyone, via broadcast and in five core languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian.
Daisy Moran, Youth Board Representative, Global Youth Mobilization Board, said: "This is a pivotal moment for our generation. The Global Youth Mobilization provides an opportunity for young people to take an active role in the immediate and long-term recovery from the impact of COVID-19. Our experiences, creativity and passions will inform policies and decisions affecting all our lives and I urge people to apply for the funding available. Together, as campaigners, members of youth focused organisations, global health actors, and volunteers from around the world, we are calling for action now." WHO