Adolescents and youth
There has been historic progress in reducing the deaths of children under 5, but investing in the lives of children can’t stop there. UNICEF works toward the positive and holist development of every child, from early childhood development through adolescence (the second decade of life).
Young adolescents (aged 10-14) are often invisible in discourse and data, falling between policies and programmes focused on “children” and on “youth.”
Adolescence is a phase separate from both early childhood and adulthood. It is a transitional period that requires special attention and protection. Physically, children go through a number of transitions while they mature. We now know that the brain undergoes quite substantial developments in early adolescence, which affect emotional skills as well as physical and mental abilities. Adolescence is also when gender norms are either solidified, rejected or transformed.
As adolescent girls and boys grow, they take on additional responsibilities, experiment with new ways of doing things and push for independence. It is a time in which values and skills are developed that have great impact on well-being.
Evidence shows that when adolescent girls and boys are supported and encouraged by caring adults, along with policies and services attentive to their needs and capabilities, they have the potential to break long-standing cycles of poverty, discrimination and violence.
Children grow up in a dynamic social context in which local communities drive global development. Adolescents, social actors in their own right, are part of this movement.
From the Field
In Côte d’Ivoire, young reporters connect with their community - Côte d’Ivoire