You are here

Ratidzai Ndlovu the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Nigeria said that the youth are effective drivers of change when they are empowered and given the right opportunities. She was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the UNFPA youth participatory forum in Abuja, Nigeria. This forum was convened for meaningful engagement with young people to promote dialogue, participation and ownership of UNFPA programing on adolescent and sexual reproductive health issues.

Ratidzai Ndhlovu went on to say “our objective as an organization is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. At the core of this mandate is the active participation of youth in youth centered activities. The youth platform created today, with members representing the six geo-political zones in the country will be catalysts to achieving this goal”.

The youth participatory forum will serve as an interface between UNFPA and young people to ensure that their priorities are reflected in UNFPA programmes of interventions and that they become advocates for comprehensive sexuality education for adolescents and the vulnerable young people. Some of the issues being advocated for include end to early marriage, unintended/unwanted pregnancy through the use of contraceptives or family planning services, and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STI) including HIV/AIDS.

Members of the forum were taken through the mandate areas of UNFPA and were trained in the active planning, implementation and monitoring of youth related interventions. It is believed that engaging young people in such processes would strengthen their ability to advance development issues and improve their skills to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive needs

Yemurai, a prolific international youth advisory expert was a trainer at the event. He reiterated the importance of establishing a UNFPA youth forum in Nigeria and gave useful tips to members on how to fully maximize the platform give to them to make a difference in the country.