The IHL Youth Action Campaign (YAC) is an American Red Cross program that encourages youth and young adults (13-24) to learn about the rules of armed conflict and empowers them to explore IHL through peer-to-peer campaigns. High school and college classes, community organizations, or Red Cross clubs can join the program and promote IHL in their community.
Here's How It Works
Youth form teams and register as Red Cross volunteers. A Red Cross certified IHL Youth Action Campaign Coordinator trains the team on international humanitarian law principles and other pertinent topics. After the training, youth become IHL Advocates and carry out campaigns through in-person and social media activities to raise awareness about the rules of war.
In past years, youth have conducted educational activities including simulations, scavenger hunts, movie screenings, classroom presentations, and art projects. Social media activities could include using Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks to post meaningful content and engage peers in dialogue about international humanitarian law.
After the campaigns are complete, participants from each Red Cross geographic division will be selected to attend the annual summer IHL Youth Action Campaign Summit in Washington, D.C.
What will participants gain?
Knowledge about IHL
Awareness of humanitarian challenges during armed conflicts
An understanding of the critical role the United States has played in the development of IHL
Tools to build an effective IHL awareness campaign
Leadership, project management, and communications skills
Red Cross volunteer hours
Why should youth learn about IHL?
While youth are active participants in the social discourse, many are under-informed about the laws that govern armed conflict. Youth—like all of us in the United States—are often exposed to armed conflict through the news, video games, or other forms of media which can distort their understanding on the realities of and laws surrounding armed conflict. Educating young people about IHL is critical to developing informed citizens who can encourage their governments to uphold IHL and limit the impacts of armed conflict.
What is IHL?
International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules that seeks—for humanitarian reasons—to limit the effects of armed conflict. IHL attempts to reconcile the reality of armed conflicts with the protection of lives and preservation of human dignity.
Within IHL there are several topics of critical concern. This year the IHL Youth Action Campaign will focus on education in war. Participants will learn:
How access to education can be affected during an armed conflict.
What the long-term implications are of the destruction of educational systems
How education during armed conflict is protected by IHL.
July- April: Train teams and implement the campaign
May 1: Deadline to submit campaign stats, summary project, and Summit applications
May 15: Summit representatives selected
July: IHL Youth Action Campaign Summit
Watch this short video to learn more about IHL
If you are interested in promoting IHL in your community by participating in the IHL Youth Action Campaign program, contact your local chapter or email email@example.com.