Addis Ababa, 12 August 2021 – In commemoration of the International Youth Day, The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region, through its Sub-Office to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa hosted a virtual panel discussion on Youth, Gender Equality and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights in Transforming African Food Systems on 12 August 2021.
The virtual panel discussion focused on the role of youth in advocacy towards gender equality and sustainable healthy food systems. The event also aimed at sharing recommendations to support young people's meaningful engagement in advocacy on inclusive food systems for the realization of sexual reproductive health rights on the African continent.
Africa has the youngest population in the world with more than 400 million people between the ages of 15 and 35 years, which requires increased investment in economic and social development factors to improve the Development Index of its countries.
This year’s International Youth Day, celebrated under the theme: “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, offers an opportunity to reflect on the interlinkages between sexual reproductive health and rights and nutrition, and on the intersectional aspects of food systems in the context of gender.
“The International Youth Day helps bring attention to our issues. Young people are increasingly interested in sexual reproductive health and rights and understand, now more than ever, the importance of sexual health knowledge”, said Ms. Rosa Ayong, moderator of the panel discussion and a youth member of the IPPF Global Board of Trustees.
The virtual round table panelists included Mr. Kassoum Coulibaly, President of the Global Institute for Women’s Empowerment Group, who spoke about the role of young people in promoting an inclusive food system.
‘’The International Youth Day, is a moment to evaluate our progress, empower young girls and boys, and strengthen their leadership role in the world's transformation with a gender equality vision," said Mr. Coulibaly.
Panelists also included Ms. Chantal Umuhoza, who addressed the intersectional aspects of food systems in the context of gender and age, and Mr. Joshua Atabinore Akharigeya, who highlighted the impact of sexual reproductive health and rights on the food value chain from production to marketing.
“Discussing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights within the context of food value chain is ever critical. A healthy community ensures productivity and success across the food value chain, and in return, individuals and communities are economically empowered to access quality sexual reproductive health and rights services, seek justice and reduce their vulnerabilities - especially for girls and women - against sexual and gender-based violence”, said Mr. Akharigeya.
Keynote speaker and Deputy Director of the UN World Food Program African Union Global Office, Ms. Magdalena Moshi, said that “actions should be taken by all stakeholders, to promote and advocate for the consumption of wholesome, nutrient dense foods for the realisation of sexual reproductive health, particularly for the female youth, as consumers".
The discussions enabled youth participants to learn about their role in promoting an inclusive food system by advocating for sexual health rights through regional advocacy policies and frameworks.
Giving youth a voice is a prerequisite for Africa’s transformation. Expanding opportunities for youth, women, and girls is an obligation that is essential in realizing everyone’s right to food security, nutrition, and sexual reproductive health.
-Mahmoud Garga, Lead Specialist - Strategic Communication, Media Relations and Digital Campaigning, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFARO) – email: [email protected] -Phone +254 704 626 920
Maryanne Wanyama, Communications Office, IPPFARO, Nairobi (Kenya) - Email: [email protected] – Phone: +254 707 952 990
ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR)
The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and the leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 39 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.