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Effective Partnership Means Letting Refugee Youth Lead

In ReliefWeb, Arash Bordbar and Foni Joyce Vuni, coordinators of the Global Youth Advisory Council and refugees themselves, and Kate Mahoney, senior program officer of the Women’s Refugee Commission discuss the critical work of young refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated risks to vulnerable populations around the world. It has shone a light on inherent inequities, from access to information to health care services. It also has revealed what so many of us have known for years – refugees, especially refugee youth, are innately capable, innovative, and ready.

In many locations, international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that typically distribute food and non-food items, monitor the protection situation, program activities, and conduct outreach in urban and camp refugee situations have had to restrict the movement of their national and international staff as a result of the pandemic. In some locations this has seen a significant reduction in all of the services that these actors normally provide. Into this vacuum have stepped young refugees around the world who have assessed the needs of their communities and taken action to address those needs.