The imperative we have to invest in young people is imprinted in my heart and mind, partly because I am the mother of an adolescent girl and more because the future of our world depends on it. This week, we’re observing International Youth Day. I am joining my colleagues tackling global challenges such as climate change to say it’s not just leaving a better world for the youth but investing in youth for a better world. I see the palpable need for this all around me, being based in southern Africa, where the investment in young people is needed — in their education, their health, their futures — especially if we are to reap the return of the demographic dividend. Wherever you are, I hope you’re spending time listening to young people as they talk about what they see as their pathways to their futures and what resources they need to make their way.
Ensuring that adolescents and young people have access to the information and services they need to plan their futures is a priority for FP2030 commitments, and to that end, we developed this resource that commitment makers can use to guide their youth-centered commitment development. As our colleagues write, “The next eight years represent an unprecedented opportunity to bring about the transformational change that is needed to achieve both the Sustainable Development Goals and the vision of FP2030.” But that will happen only if we invest SMART-ly in adolescents and youth.
I’m feeling particularly energized by my recent visits to colleagues in Namibia, Kenya, and Botswana. It was a wonderful chance to visit with so many partners who work tirelessly to ensure we are pushing farther and farther to ensure that people who want to use family planning can do so. I was particularly inspired by our meeting with Dr. Veronica Theron, the head of the Office of the First Lady of Namibia, about their work to advance young people’s sexual and reproductive health through intergenerational dialogues with religious leaders, parents, and young people themselves. We also heard Dr. Albert Ndwiga, FP Program Manager at the Kenya Minister of Health, reiterate the government’s commitment to and support of the FP2030 partnership. He noted Kenya’s recent FP2030 commitment, launched in November, will be anchored within the country’s new family planning policy (which is currently under development) and will accelerate plans to increase domestic financing for commodities. In Botswana, where I found a huge presence of young people employed at the UNFPA offices, we met with tireless advocates at the forefront of reducing the country’s high teenage pregnancy rate and HIV prevalence. It gave me hope that the future is indeed youth.
I am delighted to see the progress occurring in our movement across development silos, cooperation from Ministries of Economic Planning and Development, Finance, and Health working together, regional economic blocks and government agencies talking about investing in people, and more. I’m looking forward to continuing to work alongside all of you to build a world where everyone, everywhere can make decisions about their own reproductive futures. We can transform our countries only when we invest in people, and the transformative power of family planning will accelerate both human and economic development.
Dr. Samukeliso Dube
International Youth Day is August 11
Countless papers, opinion pieces, and studies begin by stating that the current generation of adolescents is the largest in human history — and growing. In 2019, there were about 1.2 billion adolescents aged 15-24, and the adolescent population is expected to peak at nearly 1.4 billion by 2065, should it maintain the present trajectory. While the challenges for a youthful country are many, there are also opportunities, provided governments and the private sector invest adequately in the education, employment, and health of young people. Find out what works.
FP2030 is currently hiring for a Chief of Staff. FP2030 is also seeking a video team to work with for our presence at the International Conference on Family Planning. Learn more about this opportunity on our website.
Update from the Performance Monitoring and Evidence Working Group
FP2030’s Performance Monitoring and Evidence (PME) Working Group met in person in June 2022 for the first time since the onset of the COVID19 pandemic. One of the main meeting objectives centered on the future of family planning measurement improvement efforts, and featured small group conversations aimed at identifying key areas of work for the PME Working Group and family planning measurement partners. Learn more.
In Other News
Lessons Learned in Gender Transformative Health Programming discusses the effectiveness of gender transformative programming: what program elements are key, what questions have arisen about implementation, and lessons and recommendations for implementers, advocates, and donors.
Collective Action to Reduce Gender-Based Violence, Foundational Elements for Gender-Based Violence Programming in Development is a great resource for anyone overseeing the design and implementation of projects that address GBV, either standalone or integrated.
Evaluation of a Gender-Synchronized Family Planning Intervention for Married Couples in Rural India presents findings from the CHARM2 project that engaged men and women and increased contraceptive use and couples communication.
Comprehensive Policy Processes, an updated HIP brief, focuses on the enabling environment of family planning. Like all HIP briefs, it contains evidence and tips from implementation experience as well as tools and resources.
A new policy brief by the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, Global Fertility Rates and the Role of Infertility, explores the social causes and consequences of infertility, and strategies to address infertility in different contexts. Increasing knowledge about infertility and combatting stigma, improving access to infertility care, and supporting policies which make it easier for people to parent are critical to address infertility and sustain fertility rates.
A new report by UNFPA, Motherhood in Childhood: The Untold Story, examines trends in adolescent childbearing using techniques that focus on the most vulnerable girls, such as child mothers, girls with repeat adolescent childbearing, and births that occur in dangerously quick succession. In using these new measures, it uncovers the untold story of more than 50 years of adolescent childbearing in the world’s low- and middle-income countries.
The Self-care Trailblazer Group recently released a Self-care for UHC Advocacy Toolkit. Advocates, health workers, resource mobilizers, communications professionals, and others can use these six tools to share the importance of self-care with donors, policymakers, global influencers, and other key stakeholders who have the power to influence UHC policies, programming, funding, and support for self-care. The Toolkit is available in English, French, and Spanish.
USAID has updated its Youth in Development Policy for 2022. The goal of the USAID Youth in Development policy is to increase the meaningful participation of youth within their communities, schools, organizations, economies, peer groups, and families, enhancing their skills, providing opportunities, and fostering healthy relationships so they may build on their collective leadership.
Mark Your Calendars
Expanding Inclusion In Asia
An intersectional lens on FP/RH services for People With Disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and LGBTQI+ communities
Aug 11th 7am ET
Family Planning in the UHC Agenda, Part 2:
The Nooks and Crannies of UHC Policy Implementation: Where Does FP Fit in?
Aug 23rd 7:30am EST