Conference co-hosted by E2A results in shared outlook for improving young people’s sexual and reproductive health in West Africa
Representatives from nine West African countries attended a regional conference in Dakar last month to better understand the realities faced by young West Africans today, and to learn about the latest evidence and best practices related to the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services. Based on learning shared during the conference, country teams developed strategies for applying those best practices within their borders.
The conference, hosted by the Evidence to Action Project, Pathfinder International, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, was attended by Ministry of Health representatives from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo, as well as donors, partners, and young people themselves. While not formally linked to other ongoing partnerships in the region, the conference served to support existing efforts to strengthen family planning in the same countries that participated in the Ouagadougou Family Planning Conference in 2011. Those countries developed action plans for repositioning family planning to play a stronger role in achieving health and development goals. Many of the action plans contained elements related to improving young people’s sexual and reproductive health.
The conference was a timely event, as West Africa, like other parts of the world, has watched the number of young people between the ages of 10 and 24 years surge over the past decade. Young people in that age range now make up more than half of the population in West Africa, where governments are increasingly focused on improving their health and well-being to leverage the vast potential of a healthy young population.
Presentations focused on a range of topics including:
- Best practices in sexual and reproductive health, including comprehensive sex education, preventing early marriage, youth-friendly services, and long-acting methods for adolescents and youth, among others.
- The different elements of developing a rights-based, youth-led approach to sexual and reproductive health services.
- What works, and what does not work, in terms of youth-friendly services.
- First-time parents—meaning young married mothers under the age of 25 and their partners, who have one child—which has been a group largely neglected by reproductive health programs to date.
- Expandnet’s Nine Step Approach to scaling up best practices.
- Looking at young people as a solution, rather than a problem.
In addition to the presentations, a highlight of the conference was the “Youth Seen by Youth Marketplace,” where several young people from the region talked about their experiences and the challenges they faced related to their sexual and reproductive health. Country teams rotated throughout the room to listen to each young person.
A conference report with more details will be available on the E2A website in the coming month.
Links to all presentations (available in French) are listed below.
Day 1 presentations
- Expandnet: Approches Systématiques pour introduire et passer à grande échelle des meilleures pratiques en SSRAJ
- IPPF Africa Regional Office: Adolescents and Youth
Day 2 presentations
- WHO: Ce que n'a pas fonctionné pour la santé sexuelle et reproductive des adolescents: résultats de la recherche
- Pathfinder International: Sommes-nous vraiment prêts pour encourager le changement de comportement?
- Pathfinder International: Adapter les Meilleures Pratiques pour atteindre les Jeunes Mariés et les Parents pour la Première Fois
- Equipop: Ce que nous avons appris du terrain: Prévenir le mariage précoce
- USAID/West Africa, AgirPF, Engenderhealth:Augmenter l’Accès aux MLDA Réversibles pour les Adolescents et les Jeunes en Afrique de l’Ouest: C’est Important et Réalisable
- E2A: Nouvelle Revue de Littérature: Priorité à l’Espacement des Grossesses pour ceux qui sont parents pour la Première Fois
- IPPF: Pensant à dehors de la boite:La mise en oeuvre d’une approche dirigée par des jeunes pour la prestation des services de santé sexuelle et reproductive
- USAID: Les Jeunes de l’Afrique de l’Ouest: un Risque ou une Promesse?
- E2A: Services Amis des Adolescents et Jeunes: Diversité des besoins-Différents modèles
- IPPF Africa Regional Office: Quelle information? Quelle education? pour soutenir le changement?