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Children in humanitarian crises – those in societies facing civil war, serious political instability, internal displacement, natural disasters, and more – are among the world’s most vulnerable. Commitments to defending their rights and advancing their opportunities are critical to the recovery of communities and societies. In times and places of need, the IAYG family steps up to ensure that no child is left behind.

Overview

Today, more than 350 million children live in active war and conflict zones. More than 30 million children have been displaced by conflict, including 12 million who are refugees (comprising a majority of the world total). Countless more face endemic conflict, political instability, and natural disasters, which disrupt the livelihoods, health, education, and opportunities accessible by children and youth.

Saving the lives of children and providing essential services is not enough. For communities to recover, societies to progress, and the effects of humanitarian crises to end, children and youth must continue to have access to global opportunity, ability to engage and lead in their communities, engagement with the rest of the world, and the empowerment to uphold social and political stability. They must be empowered as individuals with agency, integrated into societies, and part of peace, security, and recovery processes – especially important in political crises and in wartime, when young people are most susceptible to disaffection and radicalization. When they are empowered as societal leaders, economic actors, and champions of the rule of law, children and youth can play an instrumental role in driving lasting peace and sustainability in societies torn by conflict or hit by humanitarian disasters. These actions go beyond alleviating pain: by empowering and engaging the most enduring generation of societies torn by disaster, they are steps to end serious conflict and improving disaster preparedness, once and for all.

Helping young people and communities recover from humanitarian crises, upholding the rights of young people caught in conflict and disaster, and empowering children & youth to move societies forward is central to the work the IAYG family does every single day. Children in humanitarian crises are among the world’s most vulnerable, which makes serving them and defending their rights even more important to the IAYG’s mandate and international leadership in extending global opportunity, the place of young people in communities, and their role in building more sustainable societies. As the representative of a new, engaged generation of children & youth, and the world’s champion of global opportunity, the IAYG family, its partners, affiliates, and public-sector alliances are committed to ensuring that global opportunity extends to all children and youth, even those in the most challenging conflicts and disasters of our time.

Our Response

When crisis hits, the IAYG family responds on the ground to support schools, bring children & youth into work for peacebuilding and conflict recovery, extend civic and security-related education, and defend children against abuses of their fundamental rights. We support the incorporation of children and youth in conflict recovery, disaster assistance, and political processes, while assisting and defending the work of youth-driven civil society sectors. In our responses to humanitarian crises, we’re focused on:

  • Ensuring the continuity of children’s participatory rights, and that conflict and crisis do not diminish the place of young people in society;
  • Amplifying the voices of young people, especially marginalized, refugee, and displaced youth;
  • Facilitating the engagement of young people in conflict recovery, and advancing integration of youth in societies to prevent disaffection;
  • Supporting schools in conflict areas and expanding civic, peacebuilding, and global citizenship education programming;
  • Placing children and youth at the forefront of peace processes, and directly engaging them in action on youth, peace, and security, especially in wartime and during political instability;
  • Taking action against radicalization, racial prejudice, and ethnic conflict with regard to young people;
  • Instilling respect for the rule of law and engaging young people in ending conflict

Our work in humanitarian crises is conducted in close cooperation with government and public-sector partners, as well as civil society, community-based organizations, and international organizations. Given the multifaceted nature of humanitarian action for children, we also work closely with other international and multilateral institutions whose mandates are related to ours, including those that focus on immediate aid to children, health and nutrition, and the protection of children’s lives. Learn more about working with the IAYG family

Major Operations

Countries with Key Operations in Humanitarian Action