Humanitarian charity calls for creation of spaces for youth to thrive

Abuja, Nigeria, (PANA) - Youth living in emergencies need safe spaces where they have freedom of expression and experience mutual respect and constructive dialogue, humanitarian charity the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) has said.

Nearly 600 million young people between the age of 10 and 24 live in fragile and conflict-affected settings. In the chaos during and after humanitarian crises, protective family and social ties often erode. Opportunities for abuse and exploitation multiply as security systems unravel,, it said in a statement.

“How all young people across gender, ethnicity, nationality, disability status and educational attainment status transition through this period and are supported, has a lasting impact on the future of societies,” says Sophia Kousiakis, the NRC global youth specialist.

Through the work of education staff across the globe, NRC supports tailored youth programmes where young people are supported with multiple learning pathways and opportunities to take their role as active and engaged members of their communities.

Young people often get lost in the gaps between protective humanitarian programming for children and programming which engages older adults, NRC said, adding that transitioning from childhood into adulthood without the safe space to do so, risks isolating a whole generation.

“Young people are not a one-size-fits-all demographic group, meaning they have wide-ranging capacities and unique needs,” says Kousiakis. But closed doors are a reality across the board, whereby youth inadvertently becomes a problem label. Today there remains an insufficient investment in the developmental and protection needs and rights of youth

“As a collective we need to ensure that youth find themselves in safe and inclusive environments where they can engage and learn creatively and collaboratively,” according to Kousiakis.

NRC works to create enabling, safe and protected environments where youth can shape their knowledge, interests, skills and abilities.

“These spaces encourage and recognise youth and promotes their ability to thrive,” says Kousiakis.

A safe space can be everything from a physical classroom right down to those individual moments of emotional safety. A space can also be virtual, such as online digital platforms.

NRC said the role of safe spaces for youth is not only to help develop skills for life and the world of work. They are places where young people can come together, engage in activities that are relevant to their interests, express themselves freely and develop their sense of belonging.
-0- PANA MA 7Sept2018

07 september 2018 06:51:23

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