Focuing on the needs of young people in extreme situations
Life in crisis zones can be deeply troubling to anyone. Some of the factors that may leave young people especially vulnerable in such situations include:
- the absence of role models
- the breakdown of social and cultural systems
- personal traumas such as the loss of family members
- exposure to violence and chaos
- the disruption of school and friendships
Such factors may lead to early sexual initiation and other high-risk behaviour, including drug and alcohol abuse. Displaced young people are particularly vulnerable to HIV, and they urgently need information and services to protect themselves from disease and unintended pregnancies.
When disasters strike, UNFPA works to protect the sexual and reproductive health of those affected, with an emphasis on the special needs of women and young people. It also supports various data collection activities necessary for efficient relief efforts.
UNFPA pays particular attention to the needs of young people as the acute crisis moves into the reconstruction phase. Protection programmes and the provision of vocational training and other life skills education can be instrumental in helping them put their lives back together and contribute to the rebuilding of their communtiies.