‘Keeping safe while mobilising’: Children and young people step up amidst the COVID-19 pandemic – World Vision research report

Amidst these challenging times, children and young people expressed high sense of social responsibility to fight the spread of COVID-19 in their respective communities while complying with lockdown measures, research report by World Vision finds.

The research ‘Children’s voices in times of COVID-19: Continued child activism in the face of personal challenges’ consulted over 100 children and young people in 13 countries to understand the various ways the health pandemic affected them and the actions they have taken to respond to the crisis.

The study highlights that social media platforms proved to be useful for children to share information about the risks of COVID-19 and to offer support to their peers who are feeling isolated and distressed.

‘Children and young people asserted that they could play a pivotal role in raising awareness on COVID-19 and providing information to people because, in many cases, they had better education and more access to technology and information than their parents and other community members,’ according to the study.

Rather than feeling burdened, children also expressed that participating in child-led online activities is a rewarding experience that ‘helped them transform the stress and fear they were suffering into something powerful and transformative, rather than demanding and upsetting’.

One participant from the Philippines shared, ‘I am volunteering in my community to battle the coronavirus pandemic and raise awareness about the risks the virus brings to the population. We want to ensure that the people are following the instructions and are using masks and gloves when needed. I feel this is an opportunity to help others’ (Jomarie, age 17, Philippines).

The study underscores the importance of valuing children’s voices in decision-making processes throughout the crisis and rethinking modes of participation such as opting for more digital approach or the use of community-based radio stations and posters in communities in sharing their messages widely, where internet is not present.

At the same time, the study also urges NGOs to help make online spaces conducive and safe for children’s participation, especially amidst reports of increased risk of abuse children experience online.

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