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#WomanUp2018: 8th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights (ACSHR)

The Siyakwazi Youth Network and Partners in Sexual Health (PSH) attended and made valuable contributions at the 8th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights (ACSHR) at the Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton, Johannesburg, from 14 and 16 February 2018.

On 12th and 13th February 2018 a Youth Pre-Conference took place that saw 150 youth from across the continent gather to deliberate on emerging trends, innovations and best practices in the sexual health and rights arena.

In keeping with the conference theme of “Advancing the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women and Girls in Africa”, plenary sessions explored significant issues such as harnessing the demographic dividend in Africa through investment in women and girls and the links between sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV, specifically with regards to access to information and services.

In a first for the ACSHR Conference, Youth Lab in collaboration with Geekulcha – a local network of skilled student techies – gathered 30 bright young minds at the Sandton Convention Centre for a Hackathon between the 14th and 16th February 2018. The goal was to “hack” sexual and reproductive health and rights solutions for women and girls in Africa. The #WomanUp Hackathon was powered by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and ran concurrently with the main conference at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Breakaway sessions at the main conference, organised along three tracks: impact, equality and access, involved presentations and robust discussions on emerging trends in delivering SRHR services and the Hackathon is one of the innovative ways in which the conference advanced the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in Africa.

Organised every two years by the African Federation for Sexual Health and Rights (AFSHR), the overall aim of the ACSHR is to provide a platform for strengthening existing efforts towards promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa, as well as showcasing and appraising best and emerging policies and practices.

The 2018 Conference was organised through collaborative efforts by a range of strategic partners and stakeholders that included: the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) East and Southern Africa Office (ESARO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), Sex Rights Africa Network, Urgent Action Fund Africa, the South African National AIDS Council, etc.

Among the high level delegates scheduled to attend the conference was Hon. Jeff Radebe, Minister responsible for Youth in the South African Presidency, who offered closing remarks.

Using the #WomanUp, the 2018 Forum seeks to place issues specifically relating to women and girls higher up on the sexual and reproductive health agenda in Africa; and to encourage women and men across all spheres of society to step up with and for women.

Click HERE to view the photo album for the ACSHR Conference on our Facebook page.

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