Today, the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) joins the rest of the world in marking the International Youth Day under the theme ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’. We asked some members of the Youth Action Movement (YAM), a youth arm of IPPFAR’s volunteer body to share their reflections on youth engagement. This is a conversation with Mariahelena Furtado, YAM President in our Member Association in Cape Verde, Association Capverdienne pour la Protection de la Famille (VERDEFAM)
In your opinion, what does meaningful youth engagement mean and why is it important?
Youth engagement is about according young people the opportunities and spaces they need to contribute to positive change in the society. It is about transformation, about believing in the changes you want for the society. Engaging young people is important as it affirms the fact that young people have a place in the world as a social actors.
How have IPPFAR and your Member Association fostered youth involvement?
IPPFAR and VERDEFAM train their young volunteers to participate in various opportunities at the community, national and regional levels. Young people’s voices are included in project planning and management. We also receive intensive training on different issues, and we are included in all activities of the organization (VERDEFAM).
How can young people become more involved in decision-making processes?
In order to make decisions, young people must be committed to their role in society. They should actively participate in the activities of the organization, while at the same time bearing in mind the positive changes they want to see. Young people must further demonstrate capacity and confidence in their ideas for them to be accepted.