Children and young people are raising their voices on the issues that matter to their generation and calling for adults to create a better future. As the world recovers from the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we listen to them.
This World Children's Day (November 20) we invite you to meet this group of UNICEF Youth Advocates and other young champions who are leading with new and creative solutions to the world’s big problems. You can play your part too! Scroll down to find out how to join our new TikTok activation.
Illustrations and design by Alex Haekal Abdurrahman, Meriam Kajo, Njung'e Wanjiru and Vibha Surya.
UNICEF YOUTH ADVOCATES 2021
Gitanjali Rao, United States
Gitanjali Rao is a 16-year-old scientist, author and promoter of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics from the United States. She likes to use technology and innovation to solve problems and inspire others to be kind.
Her Kindly tool helps detect and prevent cyberbullying through the use of Artificial Intelligence. She also looks to support students, educators, and parents, and recently launched a book where she explains her 5 step process for problem solving.
Chef Omar, Morocco
Omar Archane, 16, who also goes by Chef Omar, is the youngest influencer chef in Morocco.
He has transformed his disability -he has a muscular dystrophy which causes muscle weakness- into strength and has proven his ability to spread a culture of love and resilience.
MC Soffia, Brazil
MC Soffia is a 17-year-old Brazilian teenager who raps about black pride, female empowerment and everyday racism.
She rose to fame when she was just 12, singing at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Ziedullo Atakuziev, Kyrgyzstan
Ziedullo Atakuziev is an 18-year-old activist from Kyrgyzstan who is raising awareness on how his cerebral palsy (CP) has not stopped him from being a community leader: he has managed to become one of the most active young people in South Kyrgyzstan.
Ziedullo is from an ethnic minority background (Ethnic Uzbek), who lives in Nookat district, in Osh region.
Penelope Lea, Norway
Penelope Lea is a 17-year-old Norwegian climate activist who became the second-youngest ambassador for UNICEF at the age of 15 in 2020.
She is passionate about climate action and using her voice to advocate for better solutions for the environment.
Ruairí Holohan, Ireland
Ruairí Holohan is a 16-year-old LGBTQ+ youth activist from Ireland who advocates for equality.
In 2020, he used his voice in a conversation with Ireland’s Prime Minister to raise awareness against bullying and discrimination.
Jessica Gnamien, Côte d'Ivoire
Gnamien Jessica Paule Oriane is a 15-year-old advocate for children’s rights in Côte d'Ivoire.
As a reporter in her country, she has shown commitment to speaking up about protecting children's rights to life, education and development through various initiatives.
Makhtoum Abdalla, Sudan
Makhtoum Abdalla, 17, from Sudan, is passionate about equal access to quality education for all children and young people and believes investment in education is strategic for any country that wishes to progress.
He grew up in a camp for Internally Displaced People and his dream is to become a doctor to not only heal people, but to ensure the healthcare system advances and everyone has equal access to good healthcare.
Olivina Maskan (Peachy Liv), Indonesia
Olivina Maskan, also known as Peachy Liv, is an 18-year-old activist and content-creator from Indonesia.
Her purpose in life is to contribute as much as possible in progressing the world’s quality of education and supporting social equality by utilizing the power of social media channels.
Emmanuel Cosmas Msoka, Tanzania
Emmanuel Cosmas Msoka is an 18-year-old young innovator, child rights and youth activist from Tanzania.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Emmanuel designed a handwashing machine that enhanced hygiene to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Viktoria Kravets, Ukraine
Viktoria Kravets, 16, is a Ukrainian girl working with UNICEF on promoting child participation and child rights at the municipal level as a Child Mayor of one of the largest Ukrainian cities.
Victoria participated in the Parliament Takeover in 2019, and she is now helping UNICEF Ukraine promote mental health topics among youth.
Nkosilathi Nyathi, Zimbabwe
Nkosilathi (Nkosi) Nyathi, 18, from Zimbabwe is a UNICEF Youth Climate Advocate whose efforts aim to advance the climate and environment agenda in Zimbabwe and mobilize other young people to join the fight against climate change.
Zymal Umar, Pakistan
She is an environmental activist who wishes to see an eco-friendly Pakistan. 14-year-old Zymal is the founder and owner of an innovative social project named Zee bags — an upcycling enterprise that turns old newspapers into beautiful biodegradable bags.
JOIN OUR TIKTOK CHALLENGE
Join our #OlderSelfTalk TikTok activation! Create a video that focuses on the positive impact of youth advocacy and share it on your own TikTok account or Instagram Reels using the hashtags #OlderSelfTalk and #WorldChildrensDay, and don't forget to tag @UNICEF in your caption.
You can see an example of the ‘Talking to my 50-year-old self’ format below, and create your own version to celebrate young people taking action and to encourage inter-generational discussions around global challenges like climate change, the access to quality education, vaccine equity or mental health.