“Young Leaders Must be Informed” -- Youth Leadership in the Post-2015 Development Framework

Sarah Lindsay

Senior Technical Officer

Attendees at the World Youth Conference side event. Photo: Sarah Lindsay/MSH Staff

Photo: Sarah Lindsay/MSH Staff

On Wednesday evening at the World Youth Conference in Sri Lanka, youth delegates, many of them aspiring leaders in the health sector, attended the LMG Project’s side event, Building Youth Leadership for Family Planning and Global Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, co-facilitated by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

The main question raised during the session: What can we do to create fellow leaders and advocates for global health governance in the post-2015 agenda?

Namakando Simamuna, co-facilitator and IPPF representative said, “We must inform someone before they are equipped to lead. If they don’t know the facts, they can’t advocate and hold people accountable.”  Citing an example in Zambia where the government promised to double their spending on reproductive health, it was discovered, on further research, that there had been no money spent the year before so effectively nothing to double and nothing for young leaders to hold the government accountable for their decisions. Upon hearing this and other examples, participants were in agreement that leaders must be well informed to make the greatest impact and must also be targeted in their goal settings.

Currently, there is a global call for increased youth participation and leadership, but there was a consensus among participants at the side event that we cannot just lead blindly. Young leaders are hungry to make a difference and be influential in the post-2015 framework, and with increased leadership and management training can amplify their actions to a larger scale. By being well-informed and well-prepared, youth leaders can be better advocates for youth issues in the post-2015 dialogue.