Youth activists work together to prevent a child rights disaster happening as a result of COVID-19.
The call to action and demands of the Justice for Every Child campaign, itself created by elected representatives of some the world's largest youth organisations, have been strongly and enthusiastically taken up by youth activists on every continent.
The campaign is demanding that 20% of the global efforts to respond to COVID-19 should be allocated to the 20% of children worldwide who are living in extreme poverty, to prevent a child rights disaster happening as a result of the pandemic. This includes an amount of $1 trillion from wealthy countries - representing 20% of the financial resources being given by wealth to bail out economies and businesses during COVID-19 - as well as equitable access to protection in every country for the most marginalised children and their families.
In spite of COVID-19 bringing significant challenges to their own work or education, with offices, schools and universities closed across the world, and many students entering the exam period, young people are rallying together to protect the rights of their most marginalised peers.
The All-Africa Students Union (AASU), for example, has been working tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many of their national members on the frontlines of the crisis in marginalised communities across Africa, the campaign’s demands resonated strongly with the scale of injustice they were witnessing. It has already been raised by the AASU executive committee in all-member online meetings and the appetite for action has been demonstrated by the strong social media engagement in the first week alone. They are currently preparing to evolve this mobilisation into targeted advocacy with ministers across the continent, leveraging existing connections and building new ones to ensure decision-makers prioritise the most marginalised children and young people in their response to COVID-19. AASU has also been reaching out to their allies in the youth civil society sector, with organisations such as Girl Konnekt inspired to join and publicly support the campaign.
In Europe, home to many of the world’s wealthier governments, the European Students’ Union (ESU - image left) and the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU) have joined forces to run the campaign as loudly and boldly as possible.
Together, they will be holding a joint all-member call on the campaign, with attendees across the 41 countries in which they have members. Guest speakers will also include Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, and Peter Kodjie, the Secretary-General of AASU, demonstrating the importance of global solidarity during this pandemic.
OBESSU also discussed the campaign during their online General Assembly, with all of their members joining the campaign's ‘Hands Up for the 1 in 5’ social action.
The Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA) has also mobilised its international membership, with member unions already starting to officially join the campaign.
Post-exam period, CSA has exciting plans to engage with their political representatives, as well as to reach out to other members of the Commonwealth youth network and Commonwealth leadership to support the campaign demands.
Alongside the memberships of these international student bodies, the campaign’s call to action has been taken up by activists across 100 Million’s global network of community activists.
Examples include the National Youth Committee for 100 Million Peru holding digital organising sessions to plan their campaign activities, community youth activists spearheading the campaign across three regions in Nigeria (image left), plans underway to engage the children in Liberia’s informal settlements across Monrovia in the campaign, and grassroots, youth-led organisations such as I Can South Sudan and Kenya Economic Youth Network already officially supporting the campaign.