Youth in focus at member days

Kenya. Photo: SMC.

Children playing on green grass in KenyaChildren playing on green grass in Kenya

The theme for SMC’s 2023 member days, attended by almost 100 participants from 29 member organisations was “Youth is the Present.” It was the first time after almost three years of digital meetings that the network could meet in real life, and spirits were high among the participants.  

The program featured inspiration on how young people in our network are involved in mission, climate issues, human rights and societal development, both locally and globally. It also included many concrete pieces of advice on how we as adults can better harness the competence and needs of children and young people.  

In short video clips, young people told us about how important international issues are to them. They mentioned the climate crisis, refugees, conflicts, human rights, poverty, injustices, schools, peace, and inclusive societies. 

Their concern is justified, as demonstrated by at least two reports presented by Save the Children’s experts Laure Abado and Jon Bergeå: 

“Generation Hope: 2.4 billion reasons to end the global climate and inequality crisis” (2022), ( which highlights, among other things, how the climate crisis disproportionately affects children compared to adults. 

“Stop the war on children” (2021), ( revealing that nearly 450 million children live within 50 km of an ongoing armed conflict—before the war in Ukraine broke out. 

The young people in the video above argue that adults need to care more, and they themselves feel engaged when they learn more and hear voices from other parts of the world. Many want to know what they can do themselves to contribute 

Children can, want to, and should be given the chance to express their opinions. Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states, “Children have the right to express their views and be heard in all matters affecting the child.” 

“This doesn’t mean that decisions are always made by them, but they have the right to be heard. It also doesn’t mean that children become entirely independent. However, it allows children to be involved in decisions that affect them and that adults make,” said the British child rights expert Gerison Lansdown in her lecture. 

During the day, there was also space for discussion and analysis of recent announcements regarding cuts in aid and democratic conditions for civil society, which resulted in a joint statement: There is hope! Our belief is a force for change. Join forces with us locally, regionally, and globally. 

Outcomes from our network

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