The Covid-19 pandemic, and the restrictive measures imposed, have affected various aspects of young people's lives, as well as the activities of youth organisations. These are the conclusions of the ad hoc Covid-19 working group established by the Youth Board of Cyprus during the first lockdown.
The working group had multiple research areas, generated numerous suggestions and discovered many good practices. It consisted of Youth Board officers, representatives of youth organisations and young people; its meetings were held online during May and June 2020.
The working group had the following tasks:
- to analyse/map the conditions of young people and youth organisations during the pandemic;
- to explore good practices (especially those of youth organisations and at government level);
- to study both domestic and foreign operational initiatives for young people (good practices from governments and youth organisations and initiatives supporting society);
- to support youth work by recording existing digital tools and other good practices.
The working group research concluded with approximately 200 suggestions and good practices for mitigating the effects of the pandemic. These suggestions include actions for the psychological and financial support of young people, actions in education and training, measures to strengthen digital skills, and solidarity initiatives.
Young people and their representatives reported lack of digital infrastructure, resources and adequate digital skills essential for the continuity of education and training, especially at the beginning of the lockdown. They stressed the importance of speeding up the digitalisation of infrastructure and the acquisition and improvement of digital competences. Another important matter was equal access for all young people to online training opportunities (in formal, non-formal and informal education and training) with the provision of all necessary equipment and training on digital skills.
The group also proposed the creation of an online portal with the functionality of chat groups in order to provide information and assist young people on education issues, such as distance learning and online training opportunities. EU funding tools could be used in support. Finally, the organisation of a series of educational seminars and online discussions was proposed, especially on topics of interest for young people.