#CovidUnder19: Fulfilling children’s right to be heard for a participatory response to the pandemic
The Office of the SRSG-VAC and CSO partners launched a global consultation to understand children's experiences of the COVID19 pandemic and their views on how the wish to get involved in finding solutions to the worldwide crisis.
Covid-19 is affecting every human being in one way or another and in many fronts, including their health and education, as well as socially and economically. Even though children are not, medically-speaking, amongst the most vulnerable, it is clear that the pandemic is having profound and long-term consequences on children’s lives. Some 90% of the world’s children are out of school. Conditions of confinement and stress exacerbate risks of violence in the home. For households with internet access, the digital environment provides an opportunity to connect with friends and learn, however it also harbours significant risks, such as susceptibility to online abuse.
In 2020, the Office of the Special Representative joined #CovidUnder19, a collective initiative that aimed to bring together children, child human rights activists, experts and other key stakeholders, to work together in understanding what children are experiencing due to Covid-19 and involving children in developing responses to these issues. A goal of #CovidUnder19 is to create spaces for children across the globe to be meaningfully involved in the discussions around issues triggered by the COVID19 pandemic and contribute towards shaping the post-COVID19 world.
On May 2020, CovidUnder19 launched a global consultation to understand children’s experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic and their views on how they wish to get involved. The survey was designed by child rights experts and 270 children from 26 countries, and translated into 25 languages and an easy read version. Children and young people aged between 8 and 17 years old were invited to participate in the survey until 30 July 2020. Child protection practitioners as well as parents and caregivers were encouraged to facilitate the participation of children.
Based on the results of the consultations with children, the initiative will accelerate the design of responses to the pandemic in the short and long term, while increasing opportunities for children to interact with each other to collectively create and innovate.