How is COVID-19 impacting children and youth worldwide?

June 12, 2020 | GFC & Partner Updates

GFC’s Youth Leadership Council and four community leaders host a global conversation about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on young people.

Last week, Global Fund for Children’s Youth Leadership Council invited friends and supporters to hear from four local leaders in Kenya, India, Mexico, and Moldova about the coronavirus pandemic in their communities. The panelists were joined by viewers from across the globe.

The global conversation created a firsthand look into how the global pandemic is impacting children and youth and how community-led organizations are mobilizing to respond.

Recognizing the value in the diverse expertise, geographies, and experiences of GFC partners, the Youth Leadership Council created the webinar to amplify on-the-ground accounts of challenges and responses related to the pandemic.

The webinar’s panelists included Douglas Mwangi, Founder and Director of Oasis Mathare in Kenya; Paulina Olvera Cáñez, Founder and Executive Director of Espacio Migrante in Mexico; Tatiana Costev, Co-Executive Director of Institute for Rural Initiatives in Moldova; and Sudha Upadhyayula, Head of Operations at My Choices Foundation in India. Mete Coban, Chair of GFC’s Youth Leadership Council, moderated the event.

“It’s important that people understand all the different ways the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our global community. From Mexico to Kenya, and India to Moldova, there is obvious overlap, but certain issues are very contextual. I’m glad that the young people in our council could open up this space for learning between GFC partners and those who tuned in,” Mete said.

During the conversation, Paulina shared that migrant families and children on the US-Mexico border are facing increased levels of uncertainty, lack of safe shelter, and inability to satisfy basic needs. She also mentioned the Black Lives Matter movement, and how Espacio Migrante is seeing two pandemics rise in its communityone caused by racism, and one caused by the virus.

Tatiana and Sudha described unexpected shifts caused by the pandemic, as well as the urgency of figuring out how to adapt their programs to new contexts. Their inability to provide in-person support to their communities has led to the development of creative solutions. 

As an example, Douglas explained that his team came up with a technological solution through an SMS tool. In light of socialdistancing regulations and the rapid spread of misinformation, the digital tool provides access to accurate and much-needed information about the pandemic. 

The webinar sparked the interest of hundreds of partners, peer organizations, and individual supporters who asked smart questions. One of the questions explored by all the participants was: What do you believe worries children and youth most about COVID-19? The top four responses were education (39%), physical wellbeing (20%), mental health (16%), and child abuse (14%).

To wrap up the webinar, additional members of the Youth Leadership Council joined the panelists on screen.

Watch the full recording of the webinar here.

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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