Inviting 5 Million Young Warriors to Tackle COVID-19 and Renew Hope for India
New Delhi : Young People, the Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYAS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW),YuWaah and UNICEF, with the support of 750+ coalition partners across Government, Civil Society, UN Agencies and Private Sector, activated- #YoungWarrior – a pan-India movement to engage 5 million young people across the country to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
As India faces its biggest crisis since independence, 300 million young people represent one of our best hopes at a solution. Our engagement with millions of young people last year to support the response to COVID-19 crisis, led them to identify a strong desire, and leadership skills, to make a difference at a crucial time like this.
The engagement is simple so that young warriors can mobilise, connect, learn, influence and lead action against COVID-19 accelerate a return to normalcy. Each young person has to be enroll his/her peers, and pledge to protect themselves, their families and their neighborhoods against COVID-19 by undertaking specific actions.
This engagement will comprise a series of easy and real-life tasks with the #YoungWarrier earning certification for their actions. These tasks will be hosted, both online and offline, in 10 regional languages. The first is a technology-based chat-bot platform called UReport (WhatsApp ‘YWA’ to +91 96504 14141). The second is an Interactive voice response (IVR)-based platform (missed call to +91-80-66019225 ) for young people who may not have whatsapp/internet and the third is through community radio for those who have no access to phones or internet. Some examples of tasks include: ‘Fake news police’:train in myth-busting tools to detect myths/falsehood/misinformation; ‘Vaccine buddy’: to encourage registration for vaccination and ‘Tension buster’:to enable peer-to-peer mental health support by young people.
This will be supported by a Knowledge and learning hub, with indexed state specific information tools and blended learning modules that are adolescent and youth friendly. Further, safe spaces will be facilitated for coping and healing through peer networks, counseling, and mentoring services. Finally, the key messages and positive stories of youth action will be promoted on social media through partners and influencers.
With his enthusiasm for encouraging youth-led action, Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, Mr. Kiren Rijijuannounced the activation and committed by saying “In my time as the Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, I have seen how determined and impactful the work of young volunteers can be, especially in crisis situations. I am certain that our NSS and NYKS cadres will be able to contribute in a significant way to the #YoungWarriors movement by mobilizing their vast networks to reach every corner of the country with resources, information, and opportunities to come together and fight this second wave.”
Supporting the activation of the movement, Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India and Co-Chair of YuWaah said, “A devastating second wave of COVID-19 is sweeping across India, and young people have taken on an urgent call to action in the fight against it. YuWaah, as a multi-stakeholder coalition, is ideally positioned to meaningfully partner with these young people to combat COVID-19 with the knowledge they need to keep their families and neighbourhoods safe.”
Ravi Venkatesan, UNICEF’s global Special Representative of Young People added: “We have assembled a powerful ecosystem of partners from civil society, government and private sector who are coming together in an extraordinary way to support the #YoungWarrior movement.We hope to convincingly demonstrate that young people want to lead and are capable of great leadership.”
Pledging support to the movement, Joint Secretary Padmaja Singh , Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, “The #YoungWarrior movement is timely to receive support from young people on COVID-19 response, given the start of 18 plus vaccination. We believe young people can lead the way in ensuring the safety of their communities, get vaccinated, and encourage communities to sustain COVID Appropriate Behaviours.”
Ms. Sejel Saini, a member of the NYKS from Sikar-Rajasthan said, “We are determined to lead our vast youth networks in the important work COVID-19 response.This pandemic has impacted marginalised communities severely, especially adolescent girls and women in rural areas. We want to focus on equity by providing information and resources for the vulnerable populations within our communities, and ensure that they have adequate support.”Mr. Krunal Shah, a member of NSS Gujaratadded, that “With the resources of our partners, and the passion of our volunteers, we are sure to create positive change for millions of families across the country!”
To join the #YoungWarrior movement:
- Type ‘YWA’ and send it to +91 96504 14141 on WhatsApp(linked to a tech-based chat-bot platform called U-Report); OR
- Give a missed call to 080-66019225 (an Interactive Voice Response (IVR)-based platform for those without WhatsApp / Internet service on their phones)
- Take the pledge, post ‘I am a #YoungWarrior’ & tag 5 friends
YuWaah is a multi-stakeholder platform that aims to prepare young people to transition from education and learning to productive work and active citizenship. It was formed by UNICEF, together with public and private sector partners, UN Agencies, civil society organisations, foundations and young people as the Generation Unlimited (GenU) partnership in India. By 2030, in India YuWaah aims to:
- Build pathways to aspirational socio-economic opportunities for 100 million young people
- Facilitate 200 million young people to gain relevant skills for productive lives and the future of work
- Partner with 300 million young people as change makers and create spaces for developing their leadership.
Launched in 2019 by the Honourable Minister for Women and Children’s Development, Smriti Irani, YuWaah also received strong words of encouragement from the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi in the form of a letter of support. Follow YuWaah on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit www.yuwaah.org