BACKGROUND OF THE COMPACT

The impact of COVID-19 in humanitarian context is two-fold. Firstly, there is the pressing concern of new major heath emergencies in Countries that have limited health system capacity, densely crowded populations and limited resources. Secondly, there is the equally pressing challenge of maintaining existing humanitarian efforts and ensuring we do not fail to meet ongoing or new humanitarian needs in a principled and effective manner.
Today, half of the 1.4 billion people living in developing Countries are affected by Humanitarian crises in multiple ways and the fragility of the Corona Virus Global pandemic which will cause permanent changes to lives and livelihoods moving forward.
In Humanitarian crises, many of these Young People are among the first to step up to help their communities rebuild. However, too often, their unique needs are not specifically addressed in humanitarian responses, and their energy, leadership, knowledge and creativity is not tapped into to maximize the efforts’ impact. Young women are particularly at risk. In fact, during humanitarian crises, being young and female is one of the greatest risk factors for violence and death.
While COVID-19 current data has revealed that the vast majority of young people in good health will likely recover after being infected by the virus, there are still many indications that COVID-19 will have long-lasting impacts on the lives of today’s generation of young people. Right now, we are already starting to see the impacts on their health and wellbeing – from the mental health impacts of lockdown to young people struggling to access essential commodities.
In response to the impact of COVID-19 in humanitarian contexts, Young people are adapting and responding, demonstrating their resilience and bringing new solutions to the table to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic and the resultant Humanitarian crisis – in their respective Communities, Countries and Globally.
Therefore, the  Nigeria Youth Compact on COVID-19 in would be an unprecedented and collective commitment of key actors in the Youth Constituency to ensure that the priorities, needs and rights of young women and men, girls and boys affected by disaster, conflict, forced displacement and other humanitarian crises, during and beyond this COVID-19 are addressed, and that they are informed, consulted, and meaningfully engaged throughout all stages of humanitarian action, including immediate and post responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OBJECTIVE THE COMPACT

The Compact as designed, would among other things –

• Help to articulate the various roles being played by young people and youth Organizations in the Country to tackle the spread, in terms of Advocacy, Sensitization/Awareness creation and providing platforms for showcasing such efforts.

• Provide support and resources for youth-led action on the ground-drawing on best practices from the Ebola outbreak and other disasters to build the capacity of young people as Peer Educators, Champions and Communicators,

• Raising awareness through social media and tackling misinformation

• Build a bridge through which young peoples’ expectations from the Government in tackling the pandemic, and other future disasters could be communicated and for monitoring of the resultant effects.

Risk Communication & Community Engagement:
Practical Steps on Engaging Young People in the COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 represents an unprecedented global emergency with numbers of cases soaring, schools closing, and health services preoccupied with handling emerging cases. Though the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are most vulnerable, Young People are also at risk of contracting and transmitting the virus. Additionally, the closure of schools continues to impair education of Young People and fracture social networks.

Disruptions to formal and informal work are creating new pressures on livelihoods including amongst the Youth population. Such public health crises will also exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, access to care services, and inequalities, particularly for young women and girls.

While the COVID-19 response will need to address priorities and needs of Young People, they should not only be considered as affected populations but also as highly effective partners in the containment efforts by meaningfully engaging them as Peer Educators and Change Agents at the Community level.

For this to happen, Stakeholders need to be encouraged to value Young People, approach them as equals, respect their views and leverage their added value to the response. Working alongside young people will help bridge inter-generational divides and promote solidarity between age groups.

The purpose of the ‘Compact’ is therefore to provide practical Steps for Government, Partners and Young People themselves on engaging Youth as part of the COVID-19 Humanitarian response as well as the Economic Impact on Nigeria Youth.

THE THREE COMPONENTS OF THE COMPACT

1. Inform, Educate and Reach Out to the Youth
Mobilize a Network of Youth Organizations across the Country
to inform, co-design and support the COVID-19 response:
a. Connect with mass, local, and digital channels and platforms that are used by Youth (such as radio programs, social media, U-Report4, and local communication) to mobilize the Youth in the COVID-19 response;
b. Create an online Partnership base for Youth Organizations, Networks, influencers and volunteer programs to engage Young People at the Communities in the COVID-19 response, including designing the social and behavioral change communication interventions, with consideration for the need to tailor interventions and age appropriate messaging to different communities and groups;
c. Consider the most disadvantaged and marginalized Youth  (such as young women and girls, those pregnant and lactating, those with disabilities, those affected by violence, ethnic minorities, migrants, refugees, and IDPs) and make use of relevant communication channels to reach them (such as Organizations working with these specific groups, peer-to-peer communications, social media, radio and U-Report);
d. Create intentional space for listening to the concerns and needs of Young People, and co-determine what is feasible to act on.
e. Advocate and make space for the meaningful participation of Young People in local and national planning, coordination, and feedback mechanisms for the COVID-19 response
f. Partner with Youth who work or volunteer in Government entities, public health and medical institutions, start-up organizations, academic and research institutions, and frontline workers to support the COVID-19 response efforts.
g. Generate information on the practices and views of Young People through the U-Report and use the responses in the U-Report COVID-19 Information Center to inform on the COVID-19 response and include questions on the engagement of Youth in situation analyses, needs assessments and emergency responses.
h. Carry out ‘training-the-trainer’ workshops to ensure the Youth are well informed, resourced and educated about COVID-19 and its prevention measures for effective engagement.
2. Humanitarian Engagement of Young People
Involve Young People in disaster management and recovery to increase their awareness of hazardous situations that may occur in their neighborhoods
and teach them response strategies in various types of emergencies
a. Make humanitarian programs contribute to the protection, health and development of young women and men, girls and boys;
b. Support systematic engagement and partnership with Youth in all phases of humanitarian action, especially decision-making and budget allocations during and after the pandemic;
c. Strengthen young people’s capacities to be effective humanitarian actors, and supporting local youth-led initiatives and organizations in humanitarian response. This includes young refugees and internally displaced persons living in informal urban settlements and slums.
d. Increase resources to address the needs and priorities of adolescents and youth affected by humanitarian crises and use the new gender and age marker for better tracking and reporting.
e. Generate and systematically use age- and sex- dis-aggregated data.
3. Economic Impact of COVID 19 on Nigeria Youth
Involve Young People are effected by the COVID 19 Pandemic.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Presently, humanitarian actors around the world are supporting and encouraging Young People in disaster management. As the World faces the most global health challenge known as the Corona Virus – COVID-19 pandemic, the story is the same. We see Young People stepping up to amplify humanitarian effectiveness and assistance, push for innovation, in efforts to understand and serve populations affected by the virus, as well as rekindle hope in places where it has been overwhelmed.
If there is anything as ‘Powerful As An Idea Whose Time Has Come’, it is the collective energy and dynamism of the world’s largest-ever generation of Young People. In order words, we cannot ignore the energy of Young People while being threatened by a ravaging pandemic without adequately engaging them in actions to support Government efforts to stem the pandemic in their various Communities. Young people need all necessary support and investment to realize their own enormous potential at this trying period.
The “Youth Compact on COVID-19” presents samples of ways in which young people are adapting to and learning from these early efforts, in engaging with one other and serving population in Humanitarian needs. It would also document some of the innovative programs that put the rights and needs of young people at the forefront and center stages in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “Youth Compact” would serve as a Report /Testimony to the transformation that is taking place in the various Communities. This transformation is imperative for creating the space for meaningful engagement of Young People, as well as for youth-driven programming during and beyond COVID-19.
This “Initiative” would, in addition serve as a reminder that Young People are not homogenous but unique, and a one-size-fits-all humanitarian approach does not work. We need to pay attention not just to their physical essentials for survival as the Nation responds to the COVID- 19 pandemic, but to the specific developmental and social needs of Young People of different ages, sexes, ethnicities, passions and motivations.
Time and again, we have seen that if we can foster hope and dignity, people can get through situations of tremendous loss and deprivation, sometimes even emerging stronger.
Strategic and effective programming, informed by evidence and by the voice of Youth, and driven by Young People themselves, can help turn humanitarian situations in this COVID-19 era into possibilities for transformation – of individuals, families and communities.
We cannot lose sight of the opportunities inherent in the crisis at hand, which has put the lives of millions of Young People, and the future we all want at stake.
It is in this regard, that the Nigeria Youth Action on COVID 19, The Commonwealth Alliance of Youth Workers (CAYWA) Nigeria and the Peace Corp of Nigeria (PCN) have emphasized the urgent need to safeguard the rights of Young People and engage them in humanitarian and COVID-19 response efforts in the Country.

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