Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Young people Demand Real empowerment



A lot of young people from different countries convene on the 10th to 15th November for a third International Conference on Family Planning that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Among the key topics that were discussed was the issue of family planning methods and the factors that hinder young people from using them.
It was explained that Family planning services are usually available in health centers but some of  the youth shunning family planning methods due to lack of empowerment and  that the health service centers are not youth friendly.
 I would like to share with you, my fellow young people, the strategies that were conceived at the conference and I have outlined them below;
1. Comprehensive Sexuality Education
Education is a basic human right and is a fundamental tool for the empowerment of young people and the fulfillment of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
What needs to be changed?
  • Education should be free, available and accessible to everyone without discrimination.
  • It should be comprehensive and it should facilitate inter generational dialogue.
  • Comprehensive Sexuality Education should be made available to young people both in and out of school. It should be rights as well as evidence-based and meet the needs of all young people, including the most marginalized, regardless of HIV status, parental status, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other factors. It should be clear and understandable, broad-based and cover elementary to tertiary institutions.
  • National and local policies must establish and support compulsory comprehensive sexuality education in schools and communities, and to establish clear connections between the education and health sectors.
Why is this important?
To promote sexual and reproductive health rights and to foster the ability of young people to make informed and free decisions about their health and sexuality, all young people should know where, when and how to access sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning.
 2.       Accessibility Barriers
 What needs to be changed?
  • Eliminate punitive and restrictive laws and policies that restrict young people’s access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health services.
  • Remove legal, policy, regulatory barriers and other practices which prohibit access to safe and legal abortion to ensure access to abortion and post abortion care services for all people, including young people.
  • Eradicate cultural, religious, economic and social barriers that limit young people’s access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health rights and services.
Why is this important?
To guarantee that young people are able to exercise their rights to health and well-being, including access to family planning and other sexual and reproductive health services, in order to best protect their own health.
3. Meaningful engagement and participation of youth.
What needs to change?
  • Young people, and especially key populations of young people, should be involved in law and policy making that relates to family planning.
  • Young people should be seen as stakeholders who are consulted when designing family planning, and be involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of family planning services.
Why is it important?
Young people represent the largest proportion of the world’s population and are greatly affected by global decisions and trends, and are best placed to understand and communicate their own points and priorities.
4. Provision of youth friendly services
What needs to change?
  • Sexual and reproductive health services should be available to everyone, especially to young people. They should respond to our needs and concerns without judgment and at the same time also respecting our privacy and confidentiality.
  • Price and economic limitation should not be a barrier to access sexual and reproductive health services.
  • SRH services, especially Family planning methods, should meet the needs of key populations including Young People living with HIV (YPLHIV).
  • Youth-friendly services should be available in all service delivery facilities. Where culture or stigma prevents young people from accessing services in shared facilities, they should be made available through dedicated facilities or other outreach strategies. 
Why is it important?
Family planning for young people is a high-profit investment both socially and economically and youth-friendly health services are the best way to address young people’s needs.
Integration of FP and HIV service delivery will enable YPLHIV to also have a chance to enjoy their Sexual Reproductive Rights. 
In conclusion we agreed to come up with a Plan of Action on how best we can implement these activities in our respective countries.

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