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How do we engage young people on SRHR in Francophone Africa?

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4 May 2023

The EU-funded programme, Ado Avance Ensemble, will reach out to 500,000 adolescents and 300,000 young people, under the age of 25,  in 5 countries in West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, and Togo. We asked four young people from the programme’s Youth Actions Movement what their role is and why it’s important that their sexual and reproductive health and rights are met.

The programme has young people at its heart and since its inception young people have been closely involved in sharing information with their peers in their different communities, raising awareness of sexual and reproductive health rights and facilitating their access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Odilonne Méola Yahouedeou, a member of the Youth Action Movement from Benin, explains her role in the programme: ‘I represent my peers to address specific needs of young people in our communities.’

“Improving access to sexuality education is a crucial mission in Benin, given the socio-cultural context.”

This programme will benefit young people in West Africa by increasing their access to quality information on sexuality to enable them to thrive. It will also provide them with access to spaces for discussion and decision-making to contribute to and influence decision-making in support of SRHR.

Paul Amany Philippe N’guessan, President of the Youth Action Movement in Ivory Coast highlighted the many innovations of the programme. One of them is the focus on out-of-school girls, a target group that is often neglected. Another innovative approach is that we will facilitate safe spaces that give young people the opportunity to share their experiences with each other. Also an important part of the programme will be to connect young people directly with decision-makers and young people .

“Involving young people at all stages will allow their specific needs to be taken into account as well as their proposals, addressing effectively the issues that they face.”

Didier Floriant Fotsing, Président of Mouvement d’Action Jeunes/CAMNAFAW Centre, Cameroon added: “Through Ado Avance Ensemble young people from the five different countries will be able to learn from each other’s experiences, this is unique for us.”

“It is truly a programme for young people and by young people.”

Stephanie Ado Avance Ensemble

When asked how the programme will benefit the young population of West Africa,  Stéphanie Reine Thiombiano, President of the Youth Action Movement in Burkina Faso said:

”Through activities for young people in five countries simultaneously, I strongly believe that Ado Avance Ensemble will strengthen the capacities of adolescents and young people in and out of school.”

Stéphanie made specific reference to the capacities of adolescents and young people in terms of SRHR, advocacy, and the creation of an environment conducive to the respect of their rights.

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