#CovidUnder19 – an initiative to meaningfully involve children in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Speak up

Whether they are under lockdown and out of school, in refugee camps or in crowded villages, detained, or living on the streets, institutionalized or on the move, children and young people have the right to be heard. But their views are hardly ever sought out by decision-makers and their ideas are rarely listened to. The #CovidUnder19 initiative aims to change that.

#CovidUnder19 is led by children and young people, with the support of child rights activists, experts and other key stakeholders. They work together to create spaces for children across the globe to meaningfully involve in the discussions about responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and to contribute towards shaping the post-COVID-19 world.

On 28 May, the initiative launches a global consultation survey "Life under Coronavirus" to understand children’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and their views on how they wish to get involved – http://go.qub.ac.uk/CovidUnder19. The survey has been designed by child rights experts and 270 children from 26 countries.

Children aged between 8 and 17 years old are invited to participate in the survey until 27th June. Child protection practitioners as well as parents and caregivers are encouraged to facilitate the participation of children. A facilitator’s guide has been developed to guide practitioners in supporting children to complete the survey.

Based on the results of the consultations with children, the initiative will accelerate the design of responses to the pandemic in the short and long term, while increasing opportunities for children to interact with each other to collectively create and innovate.

To stay up to date with the initiative’s news, you can follow its profiles on social media:

Child aid organisations have a responsibility to find ways of understanding children’s views and amplifying their voices so they can inform policymakers, legislatures, professionals working with children, and governments. Having this in mind, Terre des hommes has initiated #CovidUnder19 early April 2020, building a coalition of partners, including children themselves.

So far, important actors in the international child rights and child protection community have been mobilised, including Terre des Hommes International Federation, UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, Centre for Children’s Rights of the Queen’s University Belfast, London School of Economics and Political Science, Child Rights Coalition Asia, International Young Catholic Students, Joining Forces[1], Global Kids Online, Eurochild, KidsRights, State of Youth, Cure Violence Global, International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex Youth and Student Organisation, Defence for Children International, Child Protection Hub for South East Europe. The initiative is open for other organisations to join.

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[1] Joining Forces, an alliance of the six largest international NGOs working with and for children to secure their rights and end violence against them (ChildFund Alliance, Plan International, Save the Children, Sos Children’s Villages, Terre des Hommes International Federation, World Vision)