This Wednesday, August 12, is International Youth Day; the date designated by the United Nations to recognize the influence young people have on society and to raise awareness of youth issues. Currently, there are over 1.8 billion young people in the world that are not only patients, clients, and beneficiaries, but providers and leaders who can contribute to a healthier future for all.
Supporting the next generation of health leaders has always been a key component of the Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project activities, technical assistance, and expertise. Our work with International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Member Associations, like Reproductive Health Uganda, have helped to improve access and use of family planning and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services among marginalized youth populations.
In addition to improving access to SRH services for young people, the LMG Project and IPPF launched the Youth Leadership eCourse this week to help young people improve their leadership skills, wherever they may be. Housed at YouthLeadGlobal–a hub that provides online learning opportunities, a community of practice, and resources for up and coming leaders–the eCourse is tailored to young leaders working to improve health outcomes in their communities. Members of the Youth Action Movement, IPPF’s youth arm, contributed directly to the development of the eCourse, ensuring that it responds directly to the leadership challenges young people face.
The LMG Project supports young people with IPPF by integrating leadership training into their upcoming peer coaching and outreach activities that will launch next month, in Kenya, Ghana, and Uganda.
Tying in with the anticipated adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September, this year’s Youth Day theme is youth civic engagement. One important way to engage youth is by listening to them and elevating their voices. The LMG Project is promoting the impressive work of young leaders through the Young Leaders in Action video series as well as through social media. Last Thursday, August 6, the inaugural #AskLMG Twitter Q&A Series kicked off by discussing youth leadership for family planning and reproductive health. Kokou Djagadou, from IPPF, and I spent an hour fielding questions from Twitter users. Over the course of the conversation, we answered questions across a diverse array of youth issues, here are a few examples:
— Sarah Lindsay (@shlindsa) August 6, 2015