How did you contribute to the formulation of these key messages? And why do they matter to you?
“As part of the outcomes of the youth session during the RHSC 17th annual members meeting in Seattle various work streams were built to take the outcomes forward. We did this by conceptualizing the most effective ways adolescents and young people can be better equipped with accurate and reliable information that will enhance their access to reproductive health supplies globally. I was designated to lead the team that produced the Youth Caucus advocacy messages, which is a very valuable toolkit. Immediately after the RHSC meeting, my country Nigeria held her fourth family planning conference. Being on the planning team of the youth preconference was another opportunity to have a better understanding of the SRHR needs of young people outside of my individual thinking.
By drawing on my experiences in the field and interactions with fellow young people, I was able to create a vivid mental picture of the needs of young people with my team. As a result, we proposed a variety of innovative ways young people can advocate themselves for political influence and funding that can change the narrative of lack of access, especially for LMIC.
These key messages matter to me because they cut across different youth demographics. They are messages that can be used in any country for the same advocacy aims and they are sure to produce the same result. I personally call the messages “a tool-for-result in getting leaders to deliver for their youth”.
What do you like most about your role as co-chair of the RHSC Youth Caucus? What is the greatest challenge in your work? What is your wish for the future regarding Youth and RHS?
“My role as the co-chair of the RHSC Youth Caucus is historic. My fellow co-chair Morillio Williams and I were named co-chairs when the youth group was just a discussion group. A few months to our tenure the Youth Discussion Group was elevated to the position of the coalition’s implementing mechanism (IM). It is super thrilling to have such a white cap. My greatest challenge has been my ambition to become as professional as the rest of the co-chairs in other IMs, who are well versed in technical knowledge and have many years of experiences. It feels intimidating fitting into the coalition’s council of chairs meeting and I am humbled to have a seat in the RHSC CoC.
My wish for the future is a prosperous and equal world where youth are allowed to define their destinies by having unhindered opportunities to choose how to take care of and control their body: a world where health injustices have become a thing of the past.”
What do you think are the most important issues in improving young people’s SRHR, including RHS, and how can they be addressed?
“I think one of the most important issues is knowledge. Yes, we are in the information age, but lots of people die due to a lack of knowledge, including young people, especially on SRHR issues. To prevent this, we must have a youth-adult partnership that results in tailored and adapted information. I would like to draw your attentions to RHSC Youth Caucus key messages. These were produced by Youth for Youth for use in RHS local and global advocacy.
– After access to quality information comes access to active youth friendly centres or adolescents corners.
– Countries must strengthen/update and implement policies that promote ease of access to services.
– Product last miles should be strategically rethought and youth should be given leadership to drive the implementation.
As myths and misconceptions on RHS fuel cultural restrictions, and inhibit youth from using medicine and precautions, clear medical safety updates should become entrenched in programs on SRHR, especially for young people. If we are to improve young people’s SRHR, then young people’s access to SRHR and RHS services must be prioritised. Any nation that cares about achieving these goals must embrace a multi-sector implementation approach.”