Drought, hot temperatures and severe lack of rain have battered parts of Australia for years, leaving communities struggling to cope.
While the media has reported on the enormous pressure farmers are facing, less is known around how children and young people are being impacted by the natural disaster.
In late 2018, UNICEF Australia travelled to northern rural NSW to address the gap. Children and young people told us they were forced to grow up too fast and financial stress and workloads were having a cumulative toll on their wellbeing.
What we saw and heard from primary and highschool students in those initial consultations began to paint a picture that was both impressive and worrying. Impressive in the compassion, insights, maturity and resilience, yet worrying for the toll this drought was taking on their wellbeing.
To develop a deeper understanding, UNICEF Australia decided to respond to these findings by organising a summit - in consultation with NSW Health - to find out not only how drought was impacting upon young people, but what insights and solutions they could contribute to the discussion on drought response - now and for future droughts.