The work of UNICEF and its partners helps children thrive in some of the most challenging situations around the world. As they transition into adolescence, however, it can be difficult to determine where care ends and independence begins.
Given the growing population of adolescents globally, and given their needs, it is becoming critical to do more for children in their second decade of life. Over 1.2 billion people are currently aged 10-19, and 60 per cent of them live in low- and lower-middle income countries, often with limited resources and opportunities.
Millions of adolescents need protection from threats such as conflict, trafficking, abuse, child marriage and violence at school. More than 200 million are out of school at the secondary education level, where their peers are acquiring skills that are needed in a rapidly changing employment landscape. Girls are more likely to be left behind, as 34 per cent of female youth are neither in education, employment nor training, compared to 10 per cent of male youth globally.
Programmes that target the needs of adolescents are a smart investment in the sustained well-being of our children — our future citizens. The four target areas where UNICEF aims to serve youth are:
- Secondary education
- Non-formal education and training
- Girls and their empowerment, and
- Young people on the move and in conflict situations
How is UNICEF providing uninterrupted access to products and services as children journey into adolescence?
Here are some highlights of current targeted supply approaches for adolescents, as well as the future pipeline, while regular programmes continue to serve age groups inclusive of youth transitioning from childhood.
What is the Adolescent Kit?
The Adolescent Kit for Expression and Innovation is a package of tools and supplies to engage adolescents aged 10-17 affected by conflict and other crises. It was dispatched for the first time in 2017 to Bangladesh, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan and Sri Lanka. The kit, which is designed for 50 adolescents and four facilitators, includes Emotion Cubes that facilitate expression of feelings, especially for physically and visually challenged adolescents. Braille is being explored on a future design as kits continue to be monitored and evaluated to better address the needs of young people.
In the pipeline
In 2018, an improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Dignity Kit will contain a wider variety of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) products. MHM supplies (disposable sanitary pads, reusable menstrual pads with female underwear and multipurpose cloth) will allow more flexibility of choice to girls and women. UNICEF is also scaling up Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection among sexually active adolescents, along with the scale-up of Point-of-Care HIV testing. The vision is for UNICEF supplies to serve the specific health and educational needs of young people while understanding their changing contexts.
See more stories from the latest UNICEF Supply Annual Report.
Doyeun Kim is a communications consultant at UNICEF Supply Division.