Written for foresight practitioners and youth-focused and youth-led organizations, as well as think tanks and other UN agencies, Designing a Youth-centred Journey to the Future is hands-on toolkit developed to help make foresight more accessible to young people, and to transfer power to them through meaningful youth engagement principles.
The expansion of education in Zambia has offered an opportunity to consider what effective teaching looks like.
In 2017, only 2 per cent and 5 per cent of 15-year-olds in Zambia reached proficiency levels in mathematics and reading respectively.1 Furthermore, primary school enrollment rates had stagnated since 2014, and not kept pace with Zambia’s population growth.2
To address these challenges, the Zambian government launched their Free Education Policy in January 2022, which eliminated tuition fees from early childhood education through secondary school. Since the introduction of this policy, enrollment has risen from 3.2 million to 4.3 million at the primary level and from 859,000 to 1.5 million at the secondary level.3
UN Global Pulse provided financial and technical expertise to support the first cohort of UNICEF Youth Foresight Fellows in 2022–2023. Those Fellows designed the youth foresight process for Prospects for Children in the Polycrisis: A Global Outlook for Children in 2023 and Our Future Pledge toolkit for a global foresight youth campaign.
We recently brought together two of these Fellows — Fisayo Oyewale, 26, from Nigeria, and Joshua Steib, 20, from Germany — to talk about foresight and intergenerational equity.
UNICEF holds a firm belief in the power and potential of young people. UYFF embodies this conviction, enabling young people to contribute to the anticipation of and response to future challenges. Meaningfully engaging youth in foresight research can help UNICEF access fresh perspectives and insights, becoming more responsive and adaptive to changes in the external environment that could greatly impact present and future generations, and making significant strides towards enhancing anticipatory governance, as well as achieving a more equitable future for children and youth worldwide.
Over the course of 12 months, fellows will hone their foresight skills and have the opportunity to contribute to pioneering research and advocacy projects. The Fellowship program provides the necessary resources, training and support for these young individuals to make a significant impact on UNICEF’s work.
UYFF embraces a meaningful youth engagement approach, meeting young people where they are and giving youth both the support and the space to steer the programme. This is a chance for young people to collaborate with UNICEF, as well as global peers and stakeholders, advocating for issues that are close to their hearts while enhancing their anticipatory capacity, leadership and communication capabilities within a diverse and dynamic network.
UNICEF has recruited a group of young futurists/foresight practitioners from around the world to become its latest cohort of Youth Foresight Fellows. Fellows will work with UNICEF to design and facilitate a comprehensive foresight research process to inform UNICEF’s Global Outlook, which provides an annual in-depth analysis of trends and events impacting the rights and wellbeing of children across the globe. Fellows will also design a foresight tool to make futures thinking more accessible to young people.
Scaling impact through meaningful youth engagement in research, foresight and convening
With the clock ticking towards 2030 – amidst a backdrop of increased political polarization, the climate crisis, the rise of populist movements, ever-increasing distrust towards institutions, and the aftermath of a global pandemic that disproportionately impacted children and young people and exacerbated intergenerational unfairness – it is more important than ever to find ways to support and elevate young people’s access to spaces of influence so they can each contribute to their community, their society, their country and their future.
Beyond Activism: A glimpse into the future with the UNICEF Youth Foresight Fellowship
“Remember, you are more than just a climate activist now – you are a climate futurist,” said one of my mentors. “Demonstrate it.” It was with those words that I was sent to speak at a high-level panel alongside UN chiefs and leaders at the UNICEF Global Leadership Meeting – a meeting that comes around once a decade.
How can education systems best prepare and support teachers to effectively leverage technology in the classroom? Evidence from implementation of the Akelius digital learning application (Akelius app) in Bosnia and Herzegovina suggests that practical teacher training programmes -- which connect theory with practice through hands-on learning -- hold promise to support the scale-up of digital learning programmes in the region and beyond.
On the occasion of the first International Day of Care and Support observed on October 29 this year, it is critical to reflect and build on the experiences of some of the UN agencies that have been engaged with bringing the spotlight onto care work well before the pandemic – UN Women, the ILO, and UNICEF among them. Nurses putting their lives at risk to care for COVID patients without proper protection; domestic workers separated from their families to stay in a “bubble” with their employer; mothers struggling to cope with the impact of closed child-care centers and schools during the global pandemic. These and countless similar stories threw into stark relief our dependence on care work for optimal human development, and in particular, the vulnerabilities faced by those carrying out the vast majority of that work - women and children.
As part of UNICEF’s research on the Akelius language learning platform across primary schools in Italy, our researchers conducted visual storytelling workshops that captured children's stories through collage making.
To understand students’ perspectives on childhood, school, and learning, we held workshops with children enrolled in Italian classes across 2 different schools. The participating students were between the ages of 7-10, and included migrants, refugees, and Italian-born children with disabilities.
In January 2023, two primary schools in Conakry, Guinea, embarked on a journey to re-imagine their day-to-day education through technology. The students accessed classroom content through the Learning Passport (LP), a cutting-edge digital learning platform that is currently deployed in 36 countries worldwide including in development and humanitarian settings.