By Edward Makuzva
Youth Aspire Development Trust (YADT) recently held a public speaking competition with 10 colleges in Chitungwiza with a support from Her Voice funding so as to capacitate adolescents on sexual and reproductive health rights .
The public speaking competition focused on Adolescent health, Gender Based violence, TB, Malaria and HIV and AIDS and also a dialogue on Global fund processes and effective Adolescents Girls and Young Women (AGYW) advocacy by young people especially adolescent girls.
The purpose of the event was a platform for adolescents’ girls and young women to engage policy makers, MPs and local councillors who are influential in policy formulation.
Youth Aspire Director Wesley Nyabaya speaking in an interview after the event highlighted some key main issues that were aired out by the students which included on best ways to enhance adolescent girls and young women knowledge on national Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) policies and accountability mechanism in their work on Adolescent Health issues both developmental and rights-based framework.
Nyabaya said the objectives of the competitions is to build the capacity of women’s rights advocates to engage with the Global Fund processes from a gender equality perspective, as well as to capacitate junior councillors with knowledge and skills on effective advocacy on Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Nyabaya added Youth Aspire through the support of Her Voice fund seeks to engage local MPs push the agenda of young people. Adolescents and youth are often perceived only as beneficiaries. However, we are also change makers and key partners in ensuring our countries’ commitments to meeting our needs are fulfilled.
“We hope this event will lead to planning and conducting youth led accountability efforts, especially as they relate to the commitments made by their governments to improve access and use of sexual reproductive health services among adolescents and youth. We call upon our government to partner and support young people in these efforts” Nyabaya also emphasised.
The competition was won by Herentals College followed by Buoyancy College in second position and Strategos College in third place and a total of 100 students and 50 stakeholders attended the event.
The event was graced by local leadership and representatives of the City Health Department, Ministry of Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, District Education, the District Administration Office and the Ministry of Women affairs representatives.