Young people make up more than half of the world’s population but are rarely part of decision-making processes that affect their lives. Shadow reports provide an important opportunity for civil society to hold their governments accountable. Our tool will make it accessible for (youth) advocates of all levels of expertise and experience.
CHOICE has conducted several consultations within our international youth networks to explore what stumbling blocks young advocates who want to engage in the Human Rights processes are facing, as well as on what their preferred learning methods are. Umbra is based on the outcomes of these consultations, and we hope to have our tool up and running by the end of the year.
Umbra amplifies young advocates voices and promotes their meaningful engagement in UN human rights spaces, thus helping them fulfill their rights.
Bringing politics closer
UN Human Rights mechanisms are important spaces for international norm setting and measuring progress in promoting and protecting young people’s human rights. Shadow reports offer a key opportunity to meaningfully engage in these processes, and for advocates to share their experiences and insights on the state of human rights in their country. Unfortunately, due to the complicated nature of shadow reporting, youth-led shadow reports are few and far between. As a result, young people miss out on an important chance to engage with their governments about the issues that are important to them, ultimately leading to their rights being sidelined. A consultation done by CHOICE with advocates attending the Human Rights Council in 2017, showed that a lack of information formed a key barrier – the few resources which do exist are filled with technical jargon and dense language. A challenge not just experienced by youth-led organizations, but also by “adult” advocates new to the process.
According to an online consultation CHOICE did within our international youth networks, most young people prefer a blended learning approach that integrates video, images, and text. For this reason, we want to develop a shadow reporting tool that breaks the mold and inspires young people to take action! Our tool will be hosted on our youth-friendly resource hub, YOU(TH) Do It, and will utilize videos, animations, and jargon-free text in an easy-to-understand way. It will include what a shadow report is, why it is important, and a step-by-step guide covering everything from data collection to report writing. A decision-tree format will enable users to move through the content, allowing them to easily access the information that is most relevant to them and tailoring their experience to their level and expertise. Possibilities for up-scaling are translations to several languages, new modules on promoting youth-led accountability and hosting online events in the lead-up to reporting deadlines.
Involving the Global South
To realize this project CHOICE will collaborate with at least two southern partners, NAYA a youth-led organization based in Kenya, and the Y.P. Foundation, a youth-led organization based in India, to develop the content of this tool.