You are here

UNFPA Botswana held its inaugural meeting to establish a Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) in actualizing its commitment to empower young people to participate in decisions that affect their lives, express their views and opinions and advise UNFPA on best ways to recognize and promote youth rights and needs within in policies and programmes. The meeting was held in Francistown from the 23-25 November 2015.

It is expected that the group will help ensure that UNFPA's national initiatives are youth-friendly and adequately address young people's concerns, particularly regarding their sexual and reproductive lives, HIV/AIDS and gender issues. The strategic Vision of YAP Botswana will be to advocate UNFPA mandate by meaningful youth participation for program and policy development.

The panel comprised of 22 young women and men, aged between 13 and 22 years old, from different districts in Botswana. The YAP gives young people a voice and helps to guide UNFPA’s priority-setting in the core area of our mandate, and involve young people and youth-serving organizations in advising UNFPA in the design of youth-friendly policies and programmes from a results-based perspective. The YAP demonstrates a shift away from working for young people, to working in partnership with young people to ensure youth-friendly approaches and action.

When giving the opening remarks the Assistant Representative Ms Mareledi Segotso guided the panelists that youth programming is more effective when it’s guided by the voice of the youth. The main mission of the panel is the work through its members to create an enabling environment for the promotion of an effective participation of adolescent and youth in the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and fight against  gender related inequalities and inequities and for the health rights.

The briefing meeting was focused on an overview of young people inclusion's in the discussion on improving sexual and reproductive health services within the country, challenges such as teenage pregnancy, HIV prevalence rates among young people, condom acceptability, lack of disaggregated data for the youth and adolescent category and how YAP members can strengthen their advocacy around these issues.