|Big interview: A voice for young people - Lura Hughes, head of youth, Unicef UK|
|By Charlotte Goddard - 16/08/06|
|Think of Unicef and the images that come to mind are children in impoverished countries and areas that have suffered national disasters. |
But the organisation, which became a permanent agency of the United Nations in 1953, has a wide remit to "support young people, wherever they are, in making informed decisions about their own lives, and to build a world in which all children live in dignity and security". By appointing its first head of youth at the beginning of the year, Unicef UK hopes to educate young people in this country about the work it does for their peers elsewhere in the world, and to ensure that young people are able to contribute to the organisation.
"Underlying all our work is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child," explains Lura Hughes, who previously worked for Girlguiding UK and The Prince's Trust. "Unicef UK recognised that it is important not only to fundraise for projects in developing countries that help young people gain skills and take an active role in society, but also to replicate that in the UK."
Unicef's head of education appointed a youth officer three years ago, recognising that the organisation needed to widen its traditional educational focus on schools. "We saw there was a lot to be done in terms of engaging young people in a non-formal setting," says Hughes. The organisation commissioned a consultancy that recommended the formation of a stand-alone youth team, now five-strong, which appointed young people as advisers. The 11- to 17-year-olds, who meet at least four times a year, advise the youth team on the creation of resources. Some advisers write columns for their local newspapers. One spent a week this summer working in the Unicef office on an offering for 18- to 25-year-olds. "Some advisers have turned 18 so we are developing an 18-25 offer and recruiting new youth advisers," says Hughes.
- Lura Hughes was appointed as Unicef UK's head of youth in January this year
- She previously worked as programme development manager at Girlguiding UK where her remit covered five- to 25-year-olds
- She has also worked as programme support officer at The Prince's Trust, where she oversaw the organisation's Team and Business programmes and developed a quality assurance toolkit.
Young People's Media Network - Coordinator
c/o ECMC (European Centre for Media Competence)
Bergstr. 8 / 11th floor
D-45770 Marl - Germany
Mobile: +49 176 23107083
Mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/youthful-media