As the outbreak and subsequent lockdown worsened many of the country’s societal ills, the country’s youth stepped up to aid. In these times of turmoil, youths have refused to be passive onlookers. Outdoors, we’ve observed teenagers delivering humanitarian relief to the destitute, homeless, hungry, and physically disabled by providing daily meals, hygiene supplies, and medical transportation.
Some have taken steps to engage with their government representatives through social media advocacy and online webinars, where we’ve highlighted issues that needed immediate attention, such as the lack of vulnerable welfare services, gaps in health services, growing domestic violence, job loss, and deteriorating mental health, among others.
We, the Association of Youth Organizations of Nepal (AYON), have been collaborating with our member youth organizations to help persons in quarantine by volunteering in isolation center management. To combat the spread of Covid-19, our agents have been collaborating with local governments to manage returning migrants from India. Our youth heroes from the districts of Achham, Kapilvastu, and Surkhet are battling misinformation, deception, and hate speech on the internet. We’re also working with our reps to develop long-term job programs to encourage returnee migrants to stay in Nepal and apply their skills in domestic markets.
During the lockdown, government employees and frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, and social activists worked selflessly and diligently to assist our country’s residents. It is critical that we recognize and support these young people. Young people have also taken up the task of securing critical medical supplies such as oxygen and life-saving medication. They have advocated for governance reform and accountability. Campaigns like “Enough is Enough” for proper Covid-19 testing, vaccination procurement, and medical and safety equipment buying also offer us hope that we can stand up to injustice, corruption, and unaccountability.
The international community, particularly development partners, assisted Nepal with health equipment during the pandemic. Youth organizations played a key role in distributing such machines and equipment, ensuring that they were distributed according to demand and that they reached the country’s rural areas first.
Young people were among the front-line fighters in the fight against the pandemic. They created a preliminary information system to assess hospital conditions and bed availability for Covid patients. They disseminated information about the disease and told people where they needed to go or what they needed to do if they become afflicted. Day in and day out, the teenagers were hard at work.
Although the youths’ efforts are excellent, they are insufficient. They must do more to combat the pandemic, which is wreaking havoc on Nepal and other countries around the world. They must accept responsibility for resolving society’s current inequity, which has disproportionately impacted persons without access to resources.
For all of us, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a lengthy, difficult, and unpleasant experience. The choices and activities that young people make can have an impact on Covid control and recovery.
Youths must consider the following critical issues: How can we assist in improving information availability and bridging the digital divide? Due to the pandemic, how can we improve our grasp of market forces and speed our transition to a digital economy? How can we use new technology to help create new jobs and enhance market access? How can we form partnerships with the business and public sectors to develop a more robust recovery plan in the face of such shocks? How can we reintegrate youngsters and returnee migrants who have lost their jobs in Nepal and provide them with meaningful work? These are the major issues that need to be addressed.
Youths in many parts of the world have set an example by stepping up innovative initiatives and out-of-the-box solutions in order to provide the skills and workforce required to address this public health issue and create business opportunities.
To support the country and people through the pandemic crisis, we need to strengthen their capacities and creativity. For all of us, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a lengthy, difficult, and unpleasant experience. The choices and activities that young people make can have an impact on Covid control and recovery.