Youth Advisory Board
The Youth Advisory Board is made up of 18 young people aged 12–18 from across the UK. Formed in 2021, the Board's goal is to ensure we amplify young voices and stay true to holding children's rights at the heart of everything we do.
".There are so many issues facing us globally and in the UK. The climate emergency, cost-of-living crisis, widening inequality and global conflict all create a backdrop of threat, uncertainty and unfairness in our daily lives.
We, as young people, need world leaders we can invest our trust and hope in. We need them to work with us and show us they are willing to listen and prioritise what is important to us for now and the future.
Being a youth advisor provides an important opportunity to take action, have a voice and stand alongside others with a shared commitment to a fair, equal and safe future for everyone. The inclusion and representation of young people provides a refreshing sense of optimism and hope. I am proud to be part of this mission."
"Across the UK, millions of people are struggling with the rising cost of living and having to make the agonising decision of choosing between heating and eating. From having cold, damp homes to going all day without food, children are suffering the most during these turbulent times.
Likewise, the treatment of refugees as they arrive in the UK is upsetting. To make the heart-breaking decision to leave one’s homeland and make the treacherous journey that follows in search of a better life elsewhere, is to be admired and respected. It is only by welcoming people can we understand the value and benefits to society that they can bring.
I have a simple yet optimistic hope for the future: that people everywhere, regardless of their background, will be able to live free, happy and fulfilling lives. It is paramount that each person feels valued for who they are and that they feel like they bring value to the people around them."
Will, Youth Advisory Board member
"I have always known that I had a voice, just often didn't have a medium to use it. So when the opportunity to apply for the Youth Advisory Board arose, I didn't hesitate. Seeing all the inequities in this world always upsets me, and I believe that the best way to respond to this emotion is to take action. We are such a powerful group.
I have been campaigning about climate change for some time. In my second year of secondary school, alongside a group of my peers, we wrote a petition and made a video addressing plastic pollution and won £200 for our school’s geography department.
Since joining the Youth Advisory Board this passion of mine has been ignited even further. The climate crisis has been one of our main areas of focus and together we made a guide for adults on ‘How To Talk To Children About Climate Anxiety’. I also had an interview with the BBC which got published as a press release titled ‘Climate anxiety is rising’.
In the future, I hope that all children get access to education as it is something which every child has a right to and will give them an opportunity to fulfil their potential."
Roisin, Youth Advisory Board member
Letter from HRH The Princess Royal
Throughout 2022, Save the Children remained steadfast in supporting children and families around the world, no matter what emergencies they were facing. Save the Children worked with partners and communities to make sure families had food, water, cash and shelter. We minimised the disruption to children’s education, providing resources for learning at home and helping half a million children across 12 countries to continue their education through our Safe Back to School Fund.
One priority was to tackle the escalating hunger crisis in East Africa, by supporting healthcare workers who are saving children from the worst forms of malnutrition in Somalia and Ethiopia. In response to the UK’s rising cost of living, Save the Children supported around 2,400 families with a grant of, on average, £400 to buy food and clothes, and resources to support their children’s early learning.
This year I was pleased to be able to visit our work overseas for the first time in five years. I went to an education centre in Uganda to see the school’s Catch-up Club in action. Uganda had the longest school closures in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, and these clubs help children make good their lost learning. My trip to Uganda also allowed me to visit one of Save the Children’s child-friendly spaces, to see how play and education can help children and families recover from their experiences of conflict.
Fighting in places such as Ukraine, Pakistan and Mozambique has had significant impact on children’s lives, education and aspirations. Today, a record number of children – 1 in 6 – live in warzones around the world. Save the Children’s networks and partners operating in these regions make an enormous difference to our ability to support children whose lives are in danger and whose futures are under threat. We have helped more than 740,000 people affected by the conflict in Ukraine alone.
Looking to 2023, Save the Children’s efforts are needed more than ever to make sure children get the food they need, can go to school and have the chance to reach their full potential. A better world for children can be built, and I have seen what is possible when we work together to make this happen.
Thank you to those who have helped us this year to drive forward new and innovative ways to support children’s health, learning and protection. Together, we are helping children build the future they deserve.
Message from the Chair and CEO
In a year that saw multiple, overlapping crises, 2022 tested our teams like never before.
Just as the world began to emerge from the disruption caused by COVID-19, soaring food and fuel prices threw millions of families into poverty and hunger. Here in the UK, 30% of children are now growing up in poverty, with their parents unable to afford basics like food, heating and clothing. Extreme weather linked to the climate crisis is becoming far more common and those least responsible for carbon emissions suffer most – from families facing famine in East Africa after the worst drought in 40 years to those in Pakistan where one-third of the country was left underwater by unprecedented floods.
The escalating war in Ukraine has led to the fastest and largest displacement of people in Europe since the Second World War. Globally, one in six children are living in a conflict zone, thanks to wars in places the world wants to forget like Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Over 100 million people have been forced from their homes by fear or disaster, and too few receive the welcome that Ukraine families found in richer countries like the UK.
The numbers are stark. But we know that when we work together, we can achieve great things.
We believe that helping children achieve their potential is a fantastic investment in our collective future. In 2022, we provided families with access to healthcare facilities, created safe learning spaces for children, and worked with communities on the frontline of the climate crisis to adapt and prepare for future shocks. We reached over 10 million children in around 40 countries to detect, prevent and treat malnutrition (page 6). We provided back-to-school kits to 7,118 children in Sierra Leone (page 10). In Ukraine, from the start of the escalation until the end of 2022, we helped more than 800,000 people, including 430,000 children (page 14), as well as millions more who are living as refugees across Europe and further afield. Here in the UK, Save the Children’s work spans all four nations and we worked to close the inequality gap between children from low-income families and their better-off peers.
Building a better future, together
Behind each of these achievements, there is an entire community that makes our work possible: a community made up of incredible staff, volunteers, partners and supporters, who believe in a better world for children and are more committed than ever to driving forward our global ambitions on children’s survival, learning and protection.
We know that children believe in a better world, too. Last year, we spoke to over 54,000 children and young people from 40 countries to form our Generation Hope campaign. 83% of the children participating in our survey have noticed climate change or economic inequality affecting the world around them. They were also firm in their belief that change is possible and 73% believed adults should be doing more to tackle the issues. We completely agree.
One of the ways we will achieve lasting change for children is by shifting more power and resources closer to communities. In 2022, we joined other international charities in signing the Pledge for Change. This is a collective commitment to embed the principles of solidarity, humility, self-determination, equity and partnerships even deeper into the way that we work. There is much to be done, but we will keep prioritising this work.
We will continue to support children and their families when crisis strikes, as we have already done in early 2023 with the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, where Save the Children is delivering food and shelter to families in need. At the same time, we are stepping up our work to help families and communities to protect themselves from shocks, and to tackle root causes.
Our founder, Eglantyne Jebb once said “Every generation of children offers mankind the possibility of rebuilding his ruin of a world.” And we must use these words as a call to action. Together – with children, for children – we can make a better future possible.
Dr Tsitsi Chawatama, Chair of Trustees, Save the Children UK
Gwen Hines, Chief Executive, Save the Children UK
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