Adolescent Development and Participation: (ADAP)
Adolescents in Humanitarian Action
During conflicts, disasters and protracted crises, the rights and needs of adolescents are often overlooked to devastating effect – as well as their contributions. However, adolescents are an important and dynamic part of the fabric of society, especially in fragile contexts and humanitarian settings. They are a powerful resource for initiating positive change and they should enjoy the opportunities to be engaged and empowered to so. The UNICEF Adolescent Development and Participation (ADAP) Sector is working with and for adolescents in humanitarian and protracted crises settings to address their needs and empower them to be reach their full potential to become agents of positive change.
Adolescence is a time of physical, cognitive, behavioral and psychosocial change, usually marked by increased independence, autonomy and exploration, as adolescent girls and boys define their identities and transition into adulthood. In humanitarian situations adolescents are more likely to experience violence, abuse and neglect, they may lose access to education, health and livelihood opportunities and endure separation from their families or caregivers. Their exposure in these contexts increase the risks of violations such as trafficking, recruitment into armed forces or armed groups, child marriage, unlawful detention, abuse and exploitation including the worst forms of child labor and sexual violence or of their own accord to seek livelihood opportunities in more stable environments.
Despite the risks, in many situations adolescents are an integral part of efforts to resolve conflict, recover from disasters or violence and find creative solutions to longstanding problems. Engaging adolescents in decision-making processes that allow them to voice their views and help them realize their own agency through accountability mechanisms and active engagement in recovery, peacebuilding and disaster risk reduction in their communities. When adolescents are civically engaged, they can individually or collectively contribute to improve their school, community, city or country. In turn, participation helps adolescents to develop, build their confidence, negotiate decisions and influence critical issues affecting their own lives and communities.
UNICEF ADAP works for advocating to integrate the needs and priorities of all adolescents, especially the most marginalized and vulnerable, in all phases and sectors of humanitarian action by working with and engaging them as agents of change. We work to ensure the engagement and support for the most marginalized and disadvantaged adolescents, particularly on efforts to address discrimination and improve equitable access to services and information. This includes applying a life-course approach to maximize investments throughout the two decades of a child’s life and across the humanitarian-development continuum. It also includes adapting humanitarian programmes to be inclusive, age- and gender-appropriate and work with and for adolescents, such as through the IASC Guidelines on Working with and for Young People in Humanitarian Emergencies and Protracted Crises, and to the Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation. When crises strike, UNICEF delivers services to meet adolescents’ immediate needs in the areas of education, health, well-being, and nutrition, protection, civic engagement and participation, and humanitarian and peace building.
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AREA OF WORK