As 2021 ends, we’re looking back on some of the most inspiring actions led by and including young people.
Scroll down to discover 10 (of many) ways young people made 2021 a better year and gave us hope for a better 2022.
1. All around the world, young people took part in the urgent climate action needed to protect the planet, joining climate protests and bringing the voices of children and young people to COP26.
A group of young climate activists and UNICEF experts joined to create a series of guides to learn key concepts about climate change and climate governance, and help even more young people get involved in 2022.
Adapted from the Young Climate Activists in Latin American and the Caribbean toolkits, the Climate Action for Youth series will provide you with the knowledge, tools, and resources to participate in global youth climate action and advocate for change.
2. With U-Report’s 10th anniversary, we celebrated 10 years of young people proving that their voices matter and need to be included in decision making.
Learn more about how U-Report is empowering and connecting young people to speak out on issues that matter to them and join this global community on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp for positive social change.
3. Young people committed to helping break the stigma around mental health.
They championed this change in part by helping develop a series of mental health resources - from GIFs and stickers to blogs and social media cards - to spark conversations with friends and family.
What's on your mind? Help break the stigma around mental health
Talking about mental health at home: What do you wish your parents knew?
4. Every day young people helped build trust in vaccines locally and globally via the U-Report Global chatbot.
Misinformation only added to the difficulty of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But youth proved that there are many ways you can fight misinformation and ensure the safe and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for all.
5. Young people knew what they wanted to see from their food systems and used U-Report to share perspectives on sustainability and accessibility, plus suggestions for the future (looking at you, 2022).
In 2021, UNICEF invited young people from 18 different countries to share their experiences with food systems and food environments.
Over 700 children and young people highlighted their concerns and came away with solutions and recommendations.
6. Young people showed that no matter where they come from, they have the right to develop their talents and achieve their full potential.
Here’s to more stories of perseverance in 2022.
“Education is the key to change”: The voices of young people on the move
7. From video creation to digital illustration, young people flexed their talent and creativity and advocated for their rights, all at the same time, through our Youth Mediathon.
In 2021, 110 lucky applicants won the chance to participate in group content-creation sessions, meet other young people around the world and learn storytelling skills from top mentors.
Check out some of their projects:
Young people are finding solutions to world problems, one GIF at a time
A Mixtape for Hope: Youth Poems for Change
Hopes from the globe: join the journey of young climate activists
"This too shall pass" - Youth voices against COVID-19
Our future under attack: Nigerian youth reimagine learning through art
Save Our Environment: a creative plea for urgent climate action
8. World Children’s Day 2021 saw more young people becoming Youth Advocates and raising their voices on the issues that matter to their generation – but they’re also calling on adults to help create a better future.
Meet a group of UNICEF Youth Advocates and other young champions who are leading with new and creative solutions to the world’s big problems.
Will you join them?
9. The BTS and UNICEF #LoveMyself campaign has generated almost five million tweets, but the true success was watching young people lead the spread of self-love and self-care.
Learn more about how this campaign has impacted people around the world and check out the stories from three girls in Canada, Russia and India who asked themselves the same question: “What if I learned to love myself?".
10. Young people participated at every level this year, and over 200,000 joined consultations to develop UNICEF’s Strategic Plan for 2022-2025.
Building a better world for young people starts with listening to young people!