In March 2021 Partners in Sexual Health (PSH) embarked on a process of establishing a Movement for Youth-led Organisations in Africa. This initiative was born out of the Because-We-Can (BWC) campaign of 2019.
The BWC campaign was a unique coalition of youth-serving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) organisations and faith-based organisations who came together to develop a joint campaign to promote young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services in 8 Southern African countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, South Africa and Zambia. The campaign’s overall objective was to contribute to positive changes in SRHR and CSE policies and laws and to defend progressive policies and laws from attacks at AU, SADC and national levels in the mentioned Southern African countries. Particularly, the campaign worked to towards ensuring a more effective domestication and monitoring of the Maputo Plan of Action and ESA commitments.
In light of the campaigns success and traction gained across Southern Africa it seemed obvious to expand the campaign into a broader movement specifically for youth-led organisations and taking it beyond the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to other African countries.
The Youth-led Movement will be a platform to provide organisational strengthening, empowerment, leadership and development. It will also be a base for knowledge sharing, support, capacity building, training and advocacy relating to SRHR of young people within member countries.
PSH believes that young leaders are an untapped resource to generate and implement solutions to societal challenges. Our aim is to capacitate young leaders as a COLLECTIVE VOICE with skills and activate their leadership agency in communities and organisations building resilient youth and responsible leaders at a young age.
Call for Expressions of interests
Following a process that started with a Call for Expressions of Interests and first round of Online Applications, 82 organisations across 13 African countries successfully applied. A consultative process followed that gave rise to the co-signing of a Declaration of Membership letter and the completion of a Training Needs Assessment Questionnaire… and we were ready to launch!
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To produce a generation of advocates and leaders that’s inspired by youth activists and youth-led organisations in driving Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights change across the African continent.
To empower and guide youth-led organisations as they advocate for the inclusion of comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights interventions of the youth within their local communities. Through collective action we seek to build an Africa regional movement that meets the SRHR needs of young people.
On the 24th May 2021 PSH together with approximately 55 Youth-led Organisations across Southern, Eastern, Western and Central Africa gathered for the official launch of the Because-We-Can Movement for Youth-led Organisations. Due to the covid-19 pandemic this momentous occasion was held via an online Zoom meeting.
Key at the launch was the presentation of the Strategy Document guiding the Youth-led Movements activities, followed by energetic vibrant discussions by partner members. A number of relevant suggestions were made - leading to clear directives on the way forward.
We have since formed a dedicated Because-We-Can Movement WhatsApp Group for faster communication and quicker turnaround time. The frequent exchange of information in a fast-paced work environment is key to the groups’ success.
Watch This Space! We have only started! Because-We-Can!