Shifting Power to Young People- How Young People Can Lead and Drive Solutions in Humanitarian Action

Published by
ActionAid International
Restless Development
Authored by
Annie Hoban, Jenny Bowie, Lois Aspinall, Rachel Litster and Rachel Proefke
Adolescents and Youth

Today, half the global population is under 30 years old. With an increase in the frequency and severity of natural hazards, disease outbreaks and man-made crises, young people should be at the centre of how the humanitarian system responds to crises. But the impact of crises on young people, and young women in particular, is often overlooked, as is their power as capable agents of change during emergencies and protracted crises.

Engaging young people in humanitarian action is however not a matter of if but how. Through interaction with close to 400 young people across 54 countries, this report concludes that young people, and particularly young women, are severely affected by emergencies and protracted crises – and are key players in ‘building back better’ for themselves and their communities.

Drawing on lessons and best practice from crises and emergencies across the world, the report emphasises that engaging young people in prevention, preparedness, response and recovery will bring better, more localised and more accountable responses. However, this report also displays how young people face particular vulnerabilities and marginalisation connected to their age and identities, which may negatively affect their entire lives if not carefully identified and addressed as part of humanitarian action.