In a bid to address the needs of today’s young people and harness their potential, the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) coordinator, Dr. Aminu Magashi, emphasised the significance of empowering youth in decision-making and advocacy during the 2023 Global Forum for Adolescents held in Abuja, themed “With For Adolescents. Our future is Now”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the world is currently experiencing the highest number of young people in history, with 1.8 billion adolescents and youth aged 10-24. However, these young individuals risk not realizing their full potential if policies and investments do not align with their needs.
Garba, a staunch advocate for Adolescent and Young Persons’ well-being and development, stressed the importance of integrating youth and adolescent voices into the heart of decision-making processes concerning their health, well-being, empowerment, resilience, education, skills and connection with society and the environment.
AHBN has established a significant Adolescent and Youth Engagement Working Group comprising over 200 young individuals. These youths are being nurtured, mentored, and strategically positioned in spaces where their voices can make a difference.
AHBN adopts a collaborative and inclusive approach to support the implementation of existing policies and the creation of new ones. The organisation said it believes in a Collaborative Advocacy Action Plan for Women, Children and Adolescents, which seeks to pool collective efforts for positive change.
Through this initiative, AHBN aims to empower young people to actively participate in decision-making processes and advocate for their rights. Furthermore, AHBN is fully committed to the finalisation and validation of the reproductive, maternal, child, adolescent, elderly and newborn health (RMCAEH+N) strategy, which places a specific emphasis on the well-being of adolescents and young people.
The RMCAEH+N strategy focuses on comprehensive healthcare for all age groups and is designed to ensure successful implementation with support and assistance from AHBN.
The executive director of Gem Hub Initiative, Mrs. Oyeyemi Pitan highlighted the necessity of investing in the health and well-being of adolescents and underscored the commitment to creating a brighter and healthier future for the nation. She stressed the importance of collaboration among stakeholders and the active participation of adolescents to enhance adolescent health.
The library prefect at Government Secondary School Kuje, Master Ayogu Somtochuwku expressed his desire to have his voice heard and make a difference. He viewed his participation as an opportunity to share his thoughts and opinions not only with his peers but also with decision-makers who can use this information to advocate for change in the country.
The event featured more than 100 young people who voiced their demands and dreams in a report titled “What Young People Want in the Country”. Among the attendees were students from Government Secondary School Kuje, Britarch Schools Lugbe, among others.
Meanwhile, the Global Forum for Adolescents, the world’s largest gathering for adolescent well-being, is scheduled for October 11-13, 2023. This historic event will bring together adolescents, advocates, and global leaders for days of discussion, dialogue, and action aimed at championing the well-being of young people.