Empowering the youth is our responsibility, and the youth will be empowered with more investment on them. –Shehbaz Sharif
9th December 2019: When you hear social accountability, what comes to mind? Well, this is what youth advocates from different parts of Kenya gathered in Nairobi to decipher. More specifically, to map out a clear role for youth advocates around the globe to take leadership in how the ICPD25 Progamme of Action was being implemented in their various countries through a social accountability guide that Y-ACT, Youth in Action together with other partners including OAY, IYAFP and RHNK are developing. The youth advocates were drawn from various organizations including Dandelion Kenya-Nakuru, Dreams Alive Africa-West Pokot, Groots, AFYAHR, Epic Youth Movement, Organization of African Youth (OAY) and AfyAfrika. Also present were representatives from Angaza Youth Initiative-Kilifi, Stretchers Youth Organization-Mombasa, Pwani Youth Network, Binti Africa, INETEC, International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP) and Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK )
The first objective was to validate the social accountability toolkit guide through the youth lens and the second was to build initial awareness on the utility of the first draft guide as well as gain scenarios on possible impact upon completion. Evans, Programs Director at Stretchers Youth Organization in Mombasa County said that ‘Social accountability is important coz this tool and practice will enable both levels of government be responsible in prudent utilization of community resources, hence encouraging highest level of trust and integrity amongst our leaders.’
The advocates felt that young people were not adequately represented in the ICPD25 forum held in Nairobi and that the boy-child was left out of the emerging commitments from ICPD25 and that the president left out a lot of emerging issues which he should have addressed. Catherine, Executive Director of AfyAfrika in Narok County noted that ‘…some of the commitments made by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta such as ending FGM by 2022 are rather unrealistic. I say that because as an FGM survivor, I know how deep rooted the problem is and how difficult it is for it to be rooted out. It will take longer than the two years…’
At the end of the day, the youth advocates learnt how to use social accountability tools to advance evidence-based advocacy and lobbying of commitments in the both the areas of sexual and reproductive health rights as well as gender equality. They also learnt that they need to be strategic, deliberate and specific in their advocacy efforts towards youth-friendly services, and as they urge the government and other relevant stakeholders to address issues affecting youth. Also in the learnings were the purposive planning process which includes:
Y-ACT can’t wait to share the first ever youth friendly social accountability guide for ICPD+25 Programme of Action co-created by and for the youth. Nothing for us, without us!