“A movement by youth, and for youth. Young people really are the answer, not the problem”
Geneva, 19 April 2021.
“Give them access and opportunity, and young people will make a significant difference”, said Daisy Moran, YMCA’s Board representative at the Global Youth Mobilization, at a press conference alongside WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and climate change activist Greta Thunberg today.
“As a young leader at YMCA Two Rivers, Illinois, USA, I saw a need in my community to offer relief in harsh Covid times to essential workers who are undocumented immigrants. Along with fellow young change-makers, we raised almost $17,000 in relief funds for 38 families.
“And my little story is just one of thousands … as young people have stepped up during the pandemic”, she said.
She cited examples of youth delivering supplies to vulnerable people, looking after each other’s mental health, making masks, helping share vital public information, and now actively facilitating the Covid vaccination campaign.
She highlighted two reasons – young people bearing the brunt of the impact of Covid, and young people offering so many of the solutions – as the inspiration for the Global Youth Mobilization to support young people around the world in developing youth-led community solutions.
Also at the press conference, the Global Youth Mobilization invited applications for funding of between $500 and $5,000 for individual initiatives by young people who present ideas to respond to challenges created by the pandemic.
“I’m excited, and I want young people all over world to be excited and get involved”, said Daisy Moran.
Talking in advance of the Global Youth Summit of 23-25 April, she said: “This is a critical time for my generation – for our generation – to bring policymakers, changemakers, and advocates together to address the major challenges confronting young people, find solutions, and put them into action in our communities.”
“This Global Youth Mobilization is a movement by youth and for youth; and young people really are the answer, not the problem. We are truly ‘being the change we want to see’.”
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
At the Conference, the WHO Director General made a clear linkage between growing global health problems and accelerating climate change.
7 million people die each year from air pollution, he said. ‘The unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are also killing our people. There are real health benefits to tackling climate change. And whatever we do must include the voices, energy and ideas of young people.’
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg reinforced the linkage of climate and health, and stressed ‘the tragedy of vaccine inequity. We talk about showing solidarity – but in fact we are showing our true face in vaccine nationalism.’
Bangladeshi Red Crescent Society volunteer Elahi Rawshan
Elahi Rawshan, a volunteer with the Bangladeshi Red Crescent Society, told the compelling stories of youth volunteers working on disinfecting Covid hospitals, and called on the Global Youth Mobilization and many potential partners worldwide to invest in such local youth actions. ‘I have seen myself how localised youth action can make a really positive impact.’