We Asked Youth: What Gives You Hope in 2021?

2020 proved to be a difficult year for people worldwide, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the cascading effects this brought to every aspect of life, both personal and professional. While 2021 may not seem that different to 2020, there are glimmers of hope that show a light at the end of a dark tunnel. In the ongoing collaboration on youth stories between GWP and the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW), we asked young people what gives them hope in 2021.

The COVID-19 vaccines are currently being distributed, which hopefully means that some form of normality will return in time. In environmental news, the message that the United States is returning to the Paris Agreement was one of the major positives in the beginning of 2021, and political activism and social movements have also gained size and strength in the past year, highlighting inequalities and creating opportunities for change.

In 2020 the world stood still, became quiet as we cocooned protectively in our homes, but as we emerge we have evolved - in our actions, in our thinking and in our expectations of our leaders. Through all the uncertainty of 2020, hope is born in 2021.

GWP and WYPW reached out to youth and asked:

  1. What are your reasons to be hopeful for 2021?
  2. If you could give advice or a suggestion to the people in decision-making positions, what would you tell them?

Lakachew Yihunie Alemneh

Lakachew Yihunie Alemneh, the Blue Nile Water Institute, Ethiopia

1) My hope for 2021 is to see my country’s pure water supply coverage be 90% and safely managed sanitation more than 60%.

2) I would tell them that prevention is much better than curing water-related risks, so better to do something to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6.


Katrina Khan-Roberts

Katrina Khan-Roberts, from Trinidad and Tobago

1) Emerging from a pandemic, the human world has changed in terms of sanitation, which will hopefully lead to a healthier population.

2) Natural resources are only available if nature exists, so protect and rebuild natural spaces and regulate human activities.


Laura Monikowska, from the United Kingdom

1) Seeing that environmental health is becoming a truly global issue; a major part of everyone's life – people are becoming more and more fearless in fighting the environmental degradation.

2) Empower youth!

Adelin Pierre

Adelin Pierre, Haitian Youth Parliament for Water and Sanitation

1) The vaccination programme.

2) Stop talking, start supporting youth initiatives at all levels to accelerate water action. 



Debarshee Dasgupta

Debarshee Dasgupta, WYPW (Blue Peace Initiative), India

1) 2021 is a year which gives ample opportunities to rethink our priorities in a critical sector like water. It also gives hope to collaborate with early career professionals around the world in driving the critical research agendas on water.