Youth at Heart Forum: Including youth rights & voices is central to building back better from COVID-19

News | 04 November 2020
The session leveraged the findings of the Global Youth & COVID-19 Survey conducted by partners of Decent Jobs for Youth that show that the pandemic is inflicting multiple shocks on young people - it is not only negatively affecting their jobs and employment prospects, but also disrupting their education and training and having a serious impact on their mental well-being. It featured an inter-generational, tripartite dialogue with young people on the solutions to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and ideas on how we can build back better from the crisis.

ILO DG Guy Ryder delivered opening remarks on the situation of youth employment and COVID-19.
Watch his remark here.

In the ‘road to’ the Youth at Heart Forum, ILO PROSPECTS with support from Decent Jobs for Youth conducted consultations with refugee and host community youth in Kenya, Uganda and Lebanon on the impacts of COVID-19 on their education, employment and lives. The resulting videos and news articles can be found on the Youth at Heart website via the below links:

National Youth Consultations

In preparation for the discussions, ILO PROSPECTS hosted consultations with young refugees and forcibly displaced young people in Uganda, Kenya and Lebanon that will serve as inputs to the main session.

How young Kenyans cope with COVID-19

ILO social partners, young Kenyans and refugees held a virtual discussion to come up with a common position ahead of the Youth at Heart virtual Forum to be held on 2 November 2020. The talks involved organizations working on behalf of young people (Kenyan State Department of Youth Affairs, ILO, Central Organization of Trade Unions, Federation of Kenyan Employers and UNHCR) and young refugees from the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps.

The voices and aspirations of these young people consulted will serve as input to the Youth and COVID-19 session, informing and influencing the discussion and outcome of the Youth at Heart Forum.

COVID-19: the resilience of young Lebanese and Syrian refugees

The short documentary 'The impacts of COVID-19 on young refugees in Lebanon' tells the stories of young refugees as well as that of young people involved in rubble removal in Beirut, as part of the ILO's Employment-Intensive Investment Programme (EIIP).

Watch the documentary

The impact of COVID-19 on young refugees and forcibly displaced persons in Uganda

The video highlights the voices of refugee and host community youth in the ILO PROSPECTS target districts of Arua, Madi Okollo and Isingiro in Uganda. It shows the impacts of COVID-19 on young people, what actions they are taking to mitigate the fallout from the crisis, and how the ILO is supporting recovery efforts in the country.

Watch the documentary

In the lead up to the Youth at Heart Forum, the Dutch MFA promoted youth-led and youth-informed research that led to the creation of the Youth at Heart Principles Document. It was produced by Restless Development after consulting with 1200 youth in the Middle East and North Africa, with inputs from partners, including the ILO, UNICEF, the EU/AU Youth Hub and Sos Children’s Villages. The principles reflect the ideas of young people on education, work, participation and their role in the COVID-19 response.

Together with partners, stakeholders and young people, the Forum hosted many different discussions and workshops in which youth played a central role. Taking away from the Forum, we look forward to working closely with the Dutch government, our partners and most importantly, young people themselves, to ensure they can have opportunities for decent work now and in the future.

Watch the session recording here (play from 02:38:00).

Recordings of all the sessions can be found here.