Women Deliver, Young Leaders Program

Women Deliver logoLMG Project Top Model 2015 Youth Leadership Program badgeLocation: USA

Mission: Women Deliver is a global advocate for the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women, with a particular focus on maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights. Women Deliver believes that young people are powerful spokespeople for their own needs and agents of change who can transform policies, programs, and communities for the better.

The Young Leaders Program (YLP) elevates the incredible potential and passion of young advocates by providing opportunities for Young Leaders to build their capacity and skills, while finding national and global platforms for them to share their voices and experiences. Given the right tools, young people can shift the global health paradigm to be more responsive to the needs of adolescents and youth.

Focus Areas: Advocacy

Program Overview:

  • Women Deliver’s philosophy is that young people are experts in their field and of their communities; the inclusion of young people's voices and their active participation is crucial in local, national, and global decision making. The YLP seeks to ensurethat adolescents and young people are involved and provided with the information, services, and opportunities needed to live to their full potential.
  • The YLP has engaged 400 youth advocates under the age of 30 to date, representing more than 100 countries, supplementing and strengthening their work through online learning communities, high-level networking and speaking opportunities, seed grants, and scholarships to attend and participate in the tri-annual Women Deliver Conference. The sequence of YLP opportunities is iterative and has led to increases in youth leadership and meaningful youth participation at the local, regional, and international levels.
    • Women Deliver developed two 8-week online-learning “E-Courses;” the first focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), advocacy, and communications, and the second on project design and proposal development. Young Leaders work closely with dedicated facilitators and discuss their work and challenges with each other.
    • Through its “Speakers’ Bureau,” Women Deliver hosts public speaking and media workshops for Young Leaders and also identifies national and global speaking opportunities for Young Leaders (providing them the necessary financial and logistical support, and working with them to prepare their statements and speeches) at high-level advocacy events and global conferences.
    • Women Deliver provides seed grants for Young Leaders to implement their own unique advocacy projects in their communities and counties. Seed grants (up to $5,000 for a six-month long project) are competitive and awarded through a robust application and selection process.
    • All Young Leaders receive a full scholarship to attend the Women Deliver Conference and Youth Pre-Conference.

Impact:

  • Women Deliver has observed an increase in the capacity of Young Leaders in RMNCAH advocacy. At the conclusion of the YLP’s first E-Course in 2015, 100% of survey respondents stated the course developed their ability to think critically about SRHR issues, and 4% stated that they would recommend the course to others.
  • Young Leaders demonstrate increased engagement with key target audiences (private sector, civil society organizations, media, global institutions, etc.) on advocacy issues. Women Deliver has provided hundreds of opportunities to Young Leaders to raise their voices and has assisted other organizations in including young people on their boards and task forces. Women Deliver has placed or recommended Young Leaders to serve on boards and to speak at high-level events:
    • A Young Leader holds a Board of Director position with The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (PMNCH); another is a member of Women Deliver’s own Board of Directors.
    • Young Leaders have recently participated in or were featured speakers at the following events and more in 2015: United Nations General Assembly; Financing for Development meeting; Adolescent Health Consultation co-hosted by UNFPA and UNAIDS; UN commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth; World Health Assembly; Commission on Population and Development; Commission on the Status of Women.
    • Women Deliver’s Conferences and Youth Pre-Conferences offer opportunities to Young Leaders to meaningfully engage at a global level. In 2013, Young Leaders met with Melinda Gates to discuss their work as young advocates and how to improve the health and wellbeing of girls and women. This led to Gates’ inclusion of a specific Young Leader on her list of “Most Inspiring Women and Girls I met this year.”
  • Through their seed grant projects, Young Leaders have implemented successful projects that have contributed to their communities and countries.
    • A Young Leader leveraged SMS technology to remove barriers hindering adolescent girls from accessing reproductive health information and services in rural Northern Tanzania. A total of 4,310 mobile phone SMS messages were sent.
    • Another Young Leader’s influenced national laws on abolishing child marriage in Zimbabwe by organizing a national consultation with Members of Parliament, civil society organizations, and other youth, which resulted in a Member of Parliament proposing a change to the Customary Marriage Act which, if adopted, would officially outlaw child marriage.

Learn More: www.womendeliver.org/deliver-for-youth/

Photo: Leanne Gray

Photo: Leanne Gray