South Asia is home to over 340 million adolescents—almost thirty percent of the global adolescent population. The region is subject to diverse humanitarian crises resulting from political, ecological, and social factors. At the crossroads between childhood and adulthood, adolescents typically face unique challenges and uncertainties that are often exacerbated during humanitarian emergencies. However, in these contexts, their voices are often left out of the work and decisions that directly impact themselves and their communities.
In collaboration with UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA), this Capstone project “Nothing About Us Without Us - Adolescent Engagement in Humanitarian Response” assessed meaningful adolescent participation in South Asian humanitarian settings. The report was informed by a comprehensive literature review, interviews, questionnaires, and databases. The team focused on four countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. They presented their key findings and recommendations through themes in data and technology, as well as four strategic areas for meaningful participation: Influencing Laws and Policies, Building Skills and Capacities, Addressing Social Norms, and Supporting Mechanisms and Opportunities for Participation.
Through assessment of the country profiles and cross-cutting trends, the report also presented regional recommendations. These are aligned to address key challenges across South Asia: Intergenerational Biases and Attitudes, Social Structures, and Economic Inequality. The recommendations and mechanisms for implementation were designed to be practical and actionable for both UNICEF ROSA and the four country offices. With the report’s guidance, UNICEF can build upon its successes and strengthen adolescent-centric prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts in humanitarian settings.