On July 14, Y+ Global held a leadership and advocacy training session for eight youth advocates from East and Southern Africa with the purpose of enhancing their skills in self-care advocacy. The goal is to empower them to participate in local advocacy efforts to promote the importance of self-care and increase the use of self-care interventions throughout the region.
The training was led by Y+ Global for the You(th) Care consoritum, a four-year project supported by Aidsfonds to ensure that vulnerable adolescents and young people in Kenya, Zambia, and Tanzania benefit from a more supportive policy and community environment and strengthened health systems. The consortium was formed to help enable young people to practice self-care to promote and maintain their SRHR, access to family planning and prevent HIV and AIDS.
For many young people, the quote ‘we are the most effective advocates for our own health and well-being and that of our peers. We know the barriers and solutions to accessing health services,’ are often repeated, heard and etched in our advocacy. Some of these solutions, such as comprehensive sexuality education, self-care, mental health and well-being, HIV criminalisation and more may not be popular in some contexts. However, we push the conversation, even when it is uncomfortable because it is important that we speak to our realities in order to propel change.
“This training is a fantastic opportunity to inspire and pass down knowledge to the next generation of HIV youth leaders so they can adapt and take the meaningful work forward.”
Priscilla Ama AddoCommunications and Advocacy Graduate Trainee at Y+ Global
The training sessions were based on the Ready to Advocate Guide, created by the READY+ program. The guide covers the fundamentals of advocacy, including topics like why you want to be an advocate and what issues you are passionate about. It also offers a thorough framework for developing effective advocacy strategies.
The facilitators of the training were all Y+ Global trainees, including Faith Thipe, Programmes Graduate Trainee, Ivy Jebet, Programmes Graduate Trainee and Priscilla Ama Addo, Communications and Advocacy Graduate Trainee. The Y+ Global trainee program was founded in 2023 to enhance the skills and knowledge of young advocates within the organisation. The program follows a mentorship approach, focusing on building specific skills and knowledge in the area of their interest.
“I found this training to be extremely beneficial for my current job. I gained a lot of valuable insights that will come in handy for improving my communication and negotiation abilities. I also learned how to create targeted advocacy plans and, most importantly, how to build stronger relationships and foster collaboration.”
A youth participant
During the training, participants delved into three critical areas: advocacy skills and strategies, advocacy campaign planning, and leadership development. The sessions were designed to equip participants with knowledge of different advocacy strategies, how to create and implement advocacy campaigns, as well as how to monitor, measure, and evaluate their impact. The training emphasised that advocacy is not just about creating awareness of an issue but also about seeking change in the policies, practices, systems, structures, decisions, and attitudes that perpetuate discrimination, exclusion, or injustice. The participants were also given a brief introduction to leadership, including the different types of leadership, its foundations, and the importance of effective leadership.
“As a young advocate for HIV, facilitating this leadership training allowed me to share my knowledge with my peers and contribute to the building of youth leadership. The experience also provided an opportunity for personal growth and learning.”
Ivy JebetProgrammes Graduate Trainee at Y+ Global