The Heart of the Matter

From silence to finding solutions

Meet Beatrice Nyamwenge Okech, Partnerships and Communications Advisor at YIELD Hub.

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Tags: CSE, Heart of the Matter, Meaningful and inclusive youth participation, SRHR, The Heart of the Matter

Embrace the reality of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, today! That’s the powerful message behind The Heart of the Matter, our ICPD+30 shadow report. This comprehensive document tells us the stories of youth activists from around the globe.

In the lead-up to the CPD57, where the ICPD Programme of Action will be reviewed, Rutgers talked to five young changemakers about their advocacy and what SRHR issues are at the heart of the matter for them.

Beatrice Okech, a dynamic multi-hyphenate from Kenya, embodies a genuine commitment to catalysing positive change through her diverse skill set. With a robust background in policy advocacy and youth-led initiatives, Beatrice specialises in the intricate art of movement building, adeptly conceptualising advocacy campaigns, and overseeing complex projects. Beatrice’s mastery of words is a cornerstone in her mission to empower young voices through technology, ensuring that critical issues relevant to the youth are heard and effectively addressed. 

At the heart of Beatrice’s advocacy lies a steadfast commitment to gender equality and championing the sexual and reproductive health rights of young people. Currently serving as the Advocacy and Campaigns Manager at Transform Health, Beatrice channels her passion into tangible, meaningful change. She’s also served as the Partnerships and Communications Advisor at the YIELD Hub. In these roles, she navigates the intersection of advocacy, campaigning, and youth empowerment, orchestrating initiatives that resonate with the lived experiences of young individuals and contribute to a more equitable and inclusive future. 


“I would like to say to young people that your voice matters in ways that you may not see or in ways that you may not realise.”

Beatrice walks through hallways and sits down in a chair. The text over this shot reads ‘Beatrice Nyamwenge Okech – Partnerships and Communications Advisor at YIELD Hub – Kenya’.

“Hello there, I’m Beatrice Okech, but everyone calls me Bea, and I’m based in Nairobi, Kenya.”

What made you get into advocating for better access to SRHR?

“I got into advocating for better SRHR based on the lived experience in my community. Issues around sexual and reproductive health are not very spoken about, especially by young people. It’s preferred that you don’t talk about such issues. You’re not essentially supposed to be having sex, for instance, before marriage. But that’s not the actual truth of, or the reality. A lot of young people, you know, are engaging in sex, but they don’t have the information, they don’t have the resources.”

What change in SRHR do you want to see most?

“One of the biggest changes that I want to see in the SRHR space is a normalisation of comprehensive sexuality education. I would love to see it in all, you know, school curriculums all over the world. Because I feel like that would be a great step forward in terms of solving a lot of the challenges that young people face.”

What do you need from governments and policy makers to realise this?

“One thing that I would expect or need from governments and policy makers is for them to, you know, move with the tides. The voices of young people right now are not really being listened to and I think that’s where a lot of the solutions are. Because we have the answers, you know, we’re experiencing these issues in real time and I think we are best placed to curate solutions and actually contribute to policymaking that changes our lives.”

When it comes to #EmbraceOurRights, what SRHR right has been ignored too long for you?

“I would like to embrace the right to safe abortion. It’s a very controversial topic in many spaces, but it really does, just boils down to choice. So by having a safe abortion, by normalising abortion within our healthcare systems, we’re ensuring that people are empowered to make that choice for themselves. And they’re doing it in a way that protects their lives and their welfare.”

What do you want to say to other young people on the importance of speaking out for SHRH?

“I would like to say to young people that your voice matters in ways that you may not see or in ways that you may not realise. I would like to see more young people really take advantage of, you know, the space that we’re in and using the tools of our time to really fight for the issues that matter to us.”

About the CPD57

At the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD57), Rutgers and colleagues worldwide will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action. With various emerging issues globally, such as climate change and health crises, its more timely then ever to turbocharge our efforts to ensure the ICPD agenda is implemented. For young people today and future generations, we need the commitments of United Nations member states to the ICPD agenda, thereby contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.

About The Heart of the Matter

Our report, The Heart of the Matter: Embrace the reality of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights today, gives a comprehensive insight into the reality of young people’s SRHR and how well governments are implementing their commitments made in 2019. It covers 16 countries and 4 regions and echoes the voices of young people. This report will provide perspective and a direction for change for advocates and decision-makers.

Download your copy



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