Youth face deep challenges but their success is vital

There are few places to travel to without hurdles during the Covid-19 pandemic. At work, you find yourself sitting in front of a screen “Zooming” with colleagues, and sometimes with strangers. It can be a cold, vapid, and often boring experience. But recently, that lifeless screen brought many of us at UNDP’s Youth Team to tears. 

We were listening to a young woman in Southeast Asia tell her story, about fighting for what she believed in. In a forum that was closed, as the speakers feared for their lives, she spoke of torture and sexual harassment because she stood against the illegal logging of the forests that her community depends on. As she recounted her story, we sat riveted.

In another case, a young women’s climate actions led to her arrest, on charges of sedition and conspiracy. She was showing her support for protesting farmers, and her arrest had a chilling effect on youth activists. 

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