While the true global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be seen, it is clear that a secondary impact of pandemic proportions has occurred simultaneously. Anxiety has swept over the world. While everyone works diligently to protect their states, communities and loved ones and determine the best path forward, it is important to reflect on how this pandemic is affecting African youth.
Building on its unique experience and expertise across the conflict management spectrum, including over two decades of focusing on youth and its nexus with peace and conflict, it was an absolute necessity for ACCORD to convene first of many dialogues and discussions with young people, as part of its COVID- 19 response. The first dialogue was held on the 30th of March 2020 and focused on the effects and the impacts of COVID-19 on young people.
The dialogue convened young people from different civil society organisations and academia from the following Southern African countries: Zimbabwe, Lesotho, South Africa and Zambia. It created a platform for young people to reflect on and discuss the impact that COVID-19 is having on young people and the roles that young people are playing in responding to the current crisis.
The participants highlighted not only some of the impacts, but also discussed the responses to the challenges that have been bought on by the pandemic. The discussions also emphasized the importance of looking after one another. It was suggested that one of the ways that this can be done is through creative resource mobilisation, for example, crowd funding and starting solidarity funds which can be used to directly support the vulnerable.