Youth need safe public spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves. Safe public spaces such as civic spaces enable youth to engage in governance issues; public spaces afford youth the opportunity to participate in sports and other leisure activities in the community; digital spaces help youth interact virtually across borders with everyone; and well planned physical spaces can help accommodate the needs of diverse youth especially those vulnerable to marginalization or violence. This year's theme for International Youth Day recognizes the importance of these spaces.
To ensure that safe public spaces are inclusive, youth from diverse backgrounds, especially those from outside the local community, need to be assured of respect and self-worth. In humanitarian or conflict prone settings for example, youth may lack the space to fully express themselves without feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome. Similarly, without the existence of these space, youth from different race/ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation or cultural background may feel intimidated to freely contribute to the community. When youth have safe public spaces to engage, they can effectively contribute to development, including peace and social cohesion.
USAID and other organizations have incorporated safe public spaces in their youth programming.
Below are resources collected on the occasion of International Youth Day 2018 related to Safe Public Spaces.
- What Young Changemakers Think of Safe Public Spaces
- How to Build Safe Spaces: Define, Then Deliver
- Youth Harness Project
- Africa Dialogues Youth- A Youth Engagement Platform
- Creating Safe Space for GLTBQ Youth: A Toolkit
- Providing Safe Spaces for Youth to Grow
- Safe Place for Youth
- Safe Place
- How the Furry Community Became a Safe Space for Youth
- Safe Spaces for Women to Learn Technical Skills
- Robotics Clubs Unlock Potential for At-Risk Nicaraguan Youth
- With Robotics, Saint Lucia Schools Launch New Opportunities for Students
- Advocating for LGBT youths' access to education in Nicaragua
- Transforming Towns Together: The collective strategy to prevent violence in El Salvador
- Feasability study of an online support group intervention (SMART Connections) among adolescents living with HIV in Nigeria: Key findings
- 4 Ways Youth Are Helping Their Communities Thrive
- Establishing Mentoring Groups as Safe Spaces for Adolescent Girls
- Virtual Safe Spaces for Adolescents Living with HIV