E2A newsletter May June 2017

E2A encourages meaningful youth participation in adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) planning and programs

Youth leader from Benin works with Ministry of Health reps to examine CIP
Youth leader from Guinea works with Ministry of Health reps. to examine Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) for Family Planning to better position the CIP to address youth needs.

A regional meeting, held May 10-11 in Ouagadougou for Francophone West African countries, was the most recent culmination of E2A’s ongoing efforts to ensure young people’s thought leadership in the design and conduct of programs for youth. The meeting—hosted by Pathfinder International and its E2A Project, and the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit, with support from USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and MSD/Merck—involved 22 youth leaders who sat side by side with government officials and civil society organizations to examine how their country’s Costed Implementation Plans (CIPs) for Family Planning could be improved to better meet the needs of youth.

"It is important that when we talk about young people, the young people are there," said Sorofing Traore, a youth leader from Mali, at the May regional meeting. “In my village, there is a proverb that one cannot shave a person's head without the presence of that person.”

E2A has increasingly worked to ensure youth perspectives are incorporated into the design and conduct of AYSRH programs.

Evidence from traditional peer education programs has shown mixed results in terms of preventing unintended pregnancies and improving AYSRH. E2A therefore prioritizes an approach to youth participation that extends beyond peer education, building the capacity of young people as leaders in programs and advocacy, while also expanding opportunities for meaningful youth participation.

This newsletter describes E2A’s most recent efforts to boost meaningful youth participation in AYSRH interventions, programs, and advocacy efforts through close collaboration with national, regional, and global partners.

Online training of youth leaders on youth-friendly services decision-making guide

From February to April of 2017, E2A held a series of online trainings for youth leaders with expertise in AYSRH. The youth leaders and ambassadors were already engaged through the International Youth Alliance on Family Planning and FP2020. During the trainings, they learned to use E2A and Pathfinder’s Thinking Outside the Separate Space tool. The tool can be used to design youth-friendly services based on the country context, the target population, the desired behavioral and health outcomes, the services offered, and the needs and objectives for scalability and sustainability.

E2A held three online trainings for the youth leaders—two in English and one in French. Youth leaders came from countries in most regions of the world, including East, South, and West Africa; Asia; the Middle East; and Latin America. They learned their way around the tool through interactive sessions that allowed them to ask and answer questions related to use of the tool to design services so that they can better advocate for the adaptation of youth-friendly services in their own countries to meet local youth needs.

Regional meeting for Ouagadougou Partnership countries & upcoming youth meeting in DRC

zeynabou bere of burkina faso
Zeynabou Bere , youth leader from Burkina Faso, blogged about her experience at the regional workshop and her inspiration for advocacy work.

Some of those same youth leaders who attended the French online training session then joined E2A at the regional meeting held in Ouagadougou, May 10-11, 2017, where they engaged with Ministry of Health and civil society representatives from their countries to analyze their CIPs to better ensure they address AYSRH. The youth leaders were prepared for their deliberations during a day-long pre-meeting workshop on May 9 held by the Torchlight Collective, where they became familiar with their CIPs, discussed barriers to improving AYSRH in their countries, and identified how the CIPs could be improved to provide solutions to those barriers.

The outcomes of this workshop will contribute to the implementation of the Ouagadougou Partnership’s Youth Think Tank Road Map, which was developed during the Partnership’s 5th Annual Partners Meeting in December 2016. The outcomes will also inform preparations for the 2017 Global Summit on Family Planning in London at both country and regional levels. Two youth leaders who attended the regional meeting were invited as part of the West African youth delegation to participate in the Summit. All partners who hosted the workshop will continue to support the nine countries to ensure youth are involved in AYSRH planning, advocacy, and programming, and that CIPs include evidence-based practices to best meet the needs of the region’s youth.

A small team from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) also participated in the meeting to learn about how they can adapt the methodology to hold a similar meeting in their country. The meeting in DRC is planned for August 21-23 2017.

Want to know more?

A meeting report in English and French will be available next month.

E2A and the Ouagadougou Partnership Youth Think Tank

The collaboration between E2A and the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit for the organization of the May 10-11 regional meeting in Ouagadougou grew from ongoing collaboration through the Ouagadougou Partnership Youth Think Tank, a group of young people and technical experts representing partners involved in AYSRH programming in the Ouagadougou Partnership countries. The Think Tank is focused on strengthening youth leadership and engagement in AYSRH policy processes and programs (including CIP development, revision, and implementation), as well as ensuring that evidence-based AYSRH practices are prioritized in the region. As a global project, E2A’s role in the group has been to co-chair the Think Tank’s working group on evidence based AYSRH practices and to serve as a member of the working group on youth participation. As a member of these two groups, E2A brings technical leadership to support governments, youth leaders, civil society, and international partners to advance evidence-based AYSRH practices, including strengthening youth leadership and participation.

University leadership in Niger and Kenya

Niger ULC peer leader in community
ULC peer leader works in rural Nigerien community to reach youth.

In January 2017, E2A disseminated important evidence from implementing and documenting effective models for delivering youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health service at universities. E2A worked with two universities—Abdou Moumouni University in Niger and Kenyatta University in Kenya—to strengthen university-based, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services and enhance demand for those services among students (and in Niger, youth in rural communities as well). The model applied at Abdou Moumouni engaged students as peer leaders who led behavior-change activities with their university peers and youth in communities to spark dialogue, reflection, and action toward improving their sexual and reproductive health. That approach is being scaled up to three additional universities in Niger. At Kenyatta, E2A engaged student peer leaders in interviews to inform the research findings on quality of AYSRH services and context for delivering those services to students.

Want to know more?

Youth participation at the 2017 Global Summit on Family Planning

Five youth leaders comprise the “West African Youth Advisory Group” that will participate in the upcoming Global Summit for Family Planning in London. Four of those five youth leaders had previously participated in E2A-supported workshops and programs to improve their youth leadership capacity. Those four youth leaders—all Ouagadougou Partnership Youth Ambassadors—are:

  • Edouard Keita of Mali; Edouard participated in the online training on Thinking Outside of the Separate Space and in the May 2017 regional meeting in Ouagadougou.
  • Isidore Kuessan of Togo; Isidore participated in a national AYSRH workshop in September 2015 led by AgirPF and E2A with the objective of improving national AYSRH programs.
  • Innocent Ibrahima of Niger; Innocent participated in E2A’s University Leadership from Change (ULC) program in Niger, from 2014-2016, and is a founding member of student-led NGO that formed from ULC to continue the work of the program.
  • Hadja Idrissa Bah of Guinea; Hadja participated in the May 2017 regional meeting in Ouagadougou.

E2A looks forward to continuing to engage with these youth leaders and their meaningful participation at the Summit.