Empowering youth, promoting social change! South Africa is faced with a challenge of youth inclusion when it comes to issues of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. In recognition of the importance of meaningful and effective youth participation in the SRHR agenda, Siyakwazi Youth Network was formed.
Youth as civil society activists have the power to be significant agents of positive change. The network will produce a generation of youth advocates and leaders in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRH&R). The Siyakwazi Youth Network is an initiative by Partners in Sexual Health (PSH) in partnership with National Population Unit (NPU) & Provincial Population Units: located in the national and provincial Departments of Social Development (PPU) and National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
The Network will improve the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights outcomes of young people and meaningfully engage as active citizens, particularly in decision-making relating to SRHR. The focus will be on creating a platform for dialogue by young people in SRHR in order to increase their understanding of SRHR issues and have a collective voice.
This will lead to Youth’s representation at all key processes in order to influence policy direction and provide leadership on key SRHR issues. It will also develop and capacitate a group of young leaders within the field of SRHR from all 9 provinces in South Africa, who are able to critically analyse and interrogate policies and engage on SRHR advocacy matters at policy level in their respective provinces.
In addition, the Siyakwazi Youth Network will create and sustain mentorship and coaching for the participants during training in the execution of provincial specific advocacy plans and initiatives. These activities will be conducted at different tiers namely: national, provincial, districts and municipal levels, in order to share experiences between provinces and support regional integration.
Siyakwazi Youth Network is in line with the objectives of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)’s Operational Strategy on Youth and with the UN System- wide Action Plan on Youth (SWAP).
At National level, Siyakwazi Youth Network supports the National Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Framework Strategy adopted by Cabinet in February 2015. It is also in line with the action plans of the PSH.
It is within this framework that we are proud to host the pre-launch of the network at Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Clarens, Free State, Free State on 14th November 2015.