Pacific: Young people encouraged to join the fight against the pandemic

Suva, 12 August 2021 – As global preparations take place this week to mark the celebration of International Youth Day, young people in the Pacific are urged to follow the example of Red Cross volunteers and join the battle against COVID-19, as the global pandemic continues to have significant health, social and economic impacts in all countries across the region.

The call comes after more than 700 young people recently participated in a Youth Forum as part of the second Pacific Resilience Meeting, which highlighted the critical role they have been playing – leading action on climate change, responding to disasters and thinking through a green, low-carbon recovery from COVID-19.

While young people are often referred to as the leaders of tomorrow, Fiji Red Cross volunteers are demonstrating the capacity young people have to lead right now, when given the opportunity. Fiji is experiencing extremely high levels of community transmission of COVID-19 cases, as the Delta variant of the virus continues to spread across the country. Young people make up 75 per cent of all Fiji Red Cross volunteers, working alongside the Ministry of Health on activities such as the vaccination roll out.

Young people are leading the way on the COVID-19 response, with vaccination registrations, data entry and most importantly, helping to tackle vaccine hesitancy and the spread of misinformation about the virus. On International Youth Day, Pacific Red Cross National Societies are recognising the dedication and hard work of youth volunteers within and outside the Red Cross.

Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said:

“We celebrate the remarkable contribution of young people in the Pacific as they play an integral role in making our communities stronger and safer. Young people are leading the way, using their diversity and energy to get targeted messages around community safety and resilience heard in every corner of the Pacific and beyond.

We continue to strongly advocate for the recognition of the critical roles played by young people in shaping our future in the Pacific; working together to tackle the growing threats from climate change and disasters. We strongly urge that young people are given the space, the platforms and the resources to lead from the front on issues such as COVID-19, green recovery and community resilience.”

Every year, International Youth Day is held on 12 August. This year’s theme is, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, with the aim of highlighting that young people are critical to achieve success of such global efforts.

To mark this event, five Pacific Red Cross Societies from the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Fiji will celebrate the day through a number of activities such as online quiz competitions, wellness campaigns, and planting food crops. Tonga Red Cross will also be launching a National Youth Policy as part of their event.

Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said:

“We know that everyone will celebrate International Youth Day in their own special way, and it is very pleasing to see our Pacific nations showcasing this event despite the challenges we face. It is definitely worth celebrating the hard work of our young people- many of whom will be doing what they do every day- leading from the front.”

About IFRC

IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.

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