Press Release

Congolese Youth Converge in Kinshasa To Prepare For Participation in National AYSRH Planning

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), August 22, 2017- Twenty Congolese youth leaders joined in Kinshasa for a workshop today that prepared them for tomorrow’s deliberations with government officials about adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH).

During the workshop, they learned about evidence-based practices in AYSRH. They then discussed how those practices can be incorporated in national plans and policies to address the many barriers youth face in DRC to accessing quality sexual and reproductive health and contraceptive services.

Eight young people arrived at the workshop from Kinshasa, while the remaining twelve traveled from three largely rural provinces where the USAID-funded Evidence to Action (E2A) Project manages a community-based family planning program: Lualaba, Lomami, and Kasai Central.

Over the next two days, the youth leaders will work with government officials to examine DRC’s national and provincial Plans D ’Action Operationnels (PAOs)—budgeted plans for adolescent health including family planning and sexual and reproductive health—to see how evidence-based practices can better be incorporated in those plans to address AYSRH needs.

The events come at an opportune time, as DRC is planning to re-examine and re-draft the annual PAOs in September 2017. The events in DRC follow the London Family Planning Summit. This past Summit, in July, was the first time youth actively participated and arrived at FP2020 commitments of their own.

E2A and Pathfinder, as co-hosts of the events, have adapted the same methodology that they used at a regional youth meeting held for Ouagadougou Partnership countries, May 9-11, 2017. Both meetings received support from USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and required the active participation of national ministries of health. DRC’s national program for adolescent health is an active participant in this week’s events. The Ouagadougou Partnership meeting also received support from Merck/MSD, and was co-hosted by the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit. To learn about the Ouagadougou Partnership events, you can read this pre-meeting workshop report and technical meeting workshop report.

Outcomes of the events in DRC will include concrete recommendations on how to improve the PAOs to make them more conducive to youth needs. Those recommendations will be shared later this week.