About half of the Red Cross volunteers are young people. A special focus on young people is a crucial investment, not only for today but also for the future. The safety and protection of young people in vulnerable circumstances must be addressed, taking into account their age- and gender-specific needs. In their multiple roles as contributors, young people are educated, enabled and empowered to be active in leading and participating in voluntary activities and in the governance, management and services of the CVTL.
Between 2010 and 2014, the Youth Red Cross successfully conducted high impact campaigns about issues specific to themselves and their peers. The MoH National Anti-Tobacco Campaign and the Road Safety Campaign, in conjunction with the National Traffic Police were two influential examples. The Youth Red Cross also worked closely with the State Secretariat of Youth and Sport (SSYS) to develop a representative National Youth Policy. The Ministry of Education (MoE) was also approached to support the Schools Youth Program Pilot, which encourages students to stay in school and attend extra-curricular training.
The 2011 inaugural biennial National Youth Assembly, made up of two youth representatives from each of the 13 districts, one male, and one female, elected a National Youth President who also sits on the National Governing Board of CVTL. 1,300 young people participated in the district and national youth elections, developing essential skills and knowledge in governance, leadership and independence. In 2013, the Youth President attended the International Youth Conference at the biennial RCRC General Assembly in Sydney and together with CVTL’s Youth Program Coordinator, the South East Asian Youth Leaders Forum in Brunei.
Through a peer education program, the Youth Red Cross facilitated activities that support active, respectful and healthy lives for young people. The Healthy Youth program that started in 2011, with support from UNICEF, has taught almost 3,000 young people about relationships, confidence and decision-making, leadership in the community, the environment and climate change, drugs and tobacco awareness, road safety awareness (defensive motorcycle riding), conflict and peace building, and conflict resolution.
Other Youth Red Cross activities include music, dance, drama, creative workshops, and fundraising activities all contribute to young people that are engaged in their communities and striving to improve the quality of life. In 2014, 500 young people came together at Cribas in Manatutuo District for the inaugural Youth Red Cross Camp, with visiting International Red Cross youth volunteers from Australia, Japan and Indonesia. The event captured the idea of ‘Juventude Kontente’, to signify the spirit and energy of young people in determining their own positive futures.