Youth Ambassador for Family Planning in Nigeria Recognized by Abia State Advocacy Core Group
Contributor: Obasesam Edet
The Challenge Initiative (TCI) is committed to engaging young people because:
- It is their right. Adolescents and youth have the right to actively and meaningfully participate in all matters that affect their lives.
- It strengthens the capacities of youth. Meaningful youth engagement empowers young people with enhanced skills, knowledge, self-esteem, connectedness, belonging and a sense of value and purpose.
- It improves programs. Young people are experts on their own needs and lives. Meaningful engagement of adolescents and youth can increase program reach and effectiveness for increased contraceptive uptake and better results.
- It leads to healthier, more just and egalitarian communities. Engaging youth can contribute to improvements in health policies and services, and in turn improved health and broader societal outcomes, for adolescents now, in their future lives and for future generations.
In Nigeria, training and mentoring young people to dispel myths and misperceptions among their peers about sexual and reproductive health (SRH) topics and refer them to contraceptive and health services is critical. This is because young people often listen to and trust their peers.
And it is important to recognize young people for their contributions to SRH programming, so recently, the Abia state Advocacy Core Group (ACG) identified and decorated a youth ambassador for family planning. Grace Dorcas Onyekachi was recognized for her outstanding efforts to leverage her strengthens and platforms to engage and speak with her peers about SRH matters.
Grace shared her excitement for getting involved in TCI:
I am a songwriter, a vocalist and a presenter, presently working with an online media firm known as ABN. My passion for youth grew as I became much older, based on life experiences. I realized how vulnerable most youth are in their lack of knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and decision-making about the future. That inspired me to create a program called ‘Youth Rendezvous.’ In this program, we discuss issues that have to do with social behavior, sexual and reproductive health and gender equality.
Also, I’ve had talk shows with invited guests where we talk about family planning in my health program known as ‘family health matters.’ Meeting TCI enlightened me more on the need of youth to be educated about family planning and that prompted me to integrate that into my youth program. At my pace, I have had talk sessions with young moms in my community on the need for family planning, and I intend to do more, by extending to other communities as time goes by.
My plan for the future is reaching out to teenagers at secondary school level, sensitizing them about family planning, and to do that, I need readable materials that can convey the message at their level of understanding. I also wish to create a social media page specifically for family planning.”
Check out TCI’s Youth Participation and Engagement approach to learn about more ways in which TCI has operationalized meaningful youth engagement across its supported geographies.