Four stories of youth power

Every inspiring story of people and communities taking action on COVID-19 is needed right now.

Here are four young people reclaiming power over the pandemic.

Longes “Airjay” Gabriel, Uganda.

26-year old Longes Gabriel, (aka) “Airjay” is from the Karamoja region of Uganda, where some people are resorting to drinking pure alcohol in the belief it will protect them from catching the virus. Airjay is now turning his talents as a songwriter and singer to keep his community safe. He has released two songs in his local language about safe practices and misinformation.

While I am blind in both eyes, I can feel the pandemonium that this pandemic has caused in my community and all I can do is to raise my voice in the form of songs of awareness to contribute towards the government’s efforts to keep us safe.


Natalie, Kenya.

Natalie Robi Tingo, a youth activist with Restless Development, is focused on the menstrual health of women and girls during the lockdown. For two weeks she has been leading a team of volunteers to set up care banks where vulnerable girls and women can get menstrual products they need. Already these care banks have supported 200 women and girls.

In times of a crisis like this, every effort matters and I feel good that I am able to help the most vulnerable women and girls in my community to access menstrual health care.


Ines Yabar, Peru/France.

The Coronavirus pandemic has created an “infodemic” as people frantically search for information about the disease and how to stay safe from it. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell the difference between fake and authentic information as well as take time to think about the future and build a better tomorrow.

That’s why a team in France launched an initiative called that has helped thousands of people learn new skills, hear from experts and share knowledge, keeping them safe & connected from home. 

Another program by the same group – including Inés, a member of the Restless Development Youth Power Panel – has helped the homeless, medical staff, local producers and the elderly through action groups receiving daily prompts to act. The programe, born in France, has now expanded to Peru, the UK, Mexico, the Philippines, the US, Germany & Belgium and continues scale it’s impact.

Both“Make Sense TV” and re-action were set up to help people connect and “spread sense & not the virus” hosting various webinars, advice, and actions to slow the spread of the virus and support people through this pandemic.”


Andrew Tangang, Cameroon.

Cameroon has 22 million people but many don’t have access to clean water. Andrew Tangang, a member of our youth power panel, is among the leaders of a campaign that’s making and distributing at least 25,000 sanitizers, free, to those that need it. He has turned a small office space into a makeshift production house, making and giving away thousands of sanitisers every week.

Youth activism cannot go in lockdown at a time of need. The mass message in the media has been consistently calling on people to sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Wash hands, wash hands, wash hands. But the question for most Cameroonians has been where to get the sanitizers.


Youth Power is responding

Read more about how Restless Development and young people are responding to COVID-19. 

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Four stories of youth power

by wearerestless Reading time: 2 min