Rapid Research: Youth Networks Response to COVID-19

This report shares findings from a rapid research aimed at looking at how VSO youth networks are responding to COVID-19 across three countries: Kenya, the Philippines and Sierra Leone. Qualitative data was gathered via online platforms and interviews to understand the:

• IMPACT of COVID-19 on young people and their communities;
• ACTIONS young people are taking to respond;
• APPROACHES young people are using to support each other and their communities;
• CHALLENGES youth networks are facing; and
• SUGGESTIONS young people have for how to amplify their work and support them.

The findings are presented alongside other emerging evidence to support VSO’s youth engagement team in policy and advocacy and programming to amplify youth voices in the response and recovery to COVID-19. The research used online methods to engage a range of young people through interviews and social media channels. Although, young people are diverse and facing different contexts of COVID-19, the issues and challenges they are facing are similar. Young people are creating solutions rooted in their own contexts. However, similarities can be found in terms of the approaches they are taking such as the use of technology; working collaboratively; and sharing their voice.

Young people are impacted negatively by COVID-19 and the restrictions that have been put in place to address it.

Young people are taking actions, using technology in innovative ways to bring together online and offline elements to support their communities with accurate information about COVID-19, and to address the broader impacts of COVID-19 disruption.

Young people are using a collaborative approach leveraging existing networks and partnerships.

Young people are supporting each other to build resilience through the uncertainty and stress caused
by the Global pandemic.

Young people are raising their voice and showing leadership, through their actions by highlighting how
the response to COVID-19 could be improved especially in terms of social inclusion accountability from
decision makers.

Young people are demanding recognition of the work they are doing and requesting representation and support so that they can do even more.

Young people and the organizations they are part of are pivoting to respond to COVID-19 whilst also drawing attention to ongoing development needs.

Young people are concerned about who is being left behind in the move to online engagement approaches in terms of access to networks and data.

Young people are facing challenges in ensuring their views are heard by other organisations and institutions, they are also facing barriers to finding support for their ideas and projects and are struggling to build partnerships and have influence where relationships with government, institutions and organizations are not strong.

Young people see an opportunity to amplify and strengthen youth leadership in development.

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