Amref Youth Advisory Group (AYAG) representatives are actively engaged in Amref programme design, planning, and implementation. In early 2019, they traveled to Arbaminch in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR), one of the implementation sites for the Access, Service, and Utilization of Reproductive Health (ASURE) project.
ASURE, funded by the European Union, is a five-year (2015-2020) project being implemented by Amref Health Africa in three zones of the SNNPR: Gamo Gofa, Wolaita and Segen Zones. The project aims to enhance the access and utilization of comprehensive sexual and reproductive (SRH) health services and information for hard to reach women and young people.
Amref supports the construction and/or renovation of youth-friendly spaces (YFS) within health facilities to ensure convenience and privacy to youth, and trains health workers to build their capacity to address youth needs. YFS are strategically designed, and well-equipped to provide both clinical and social support to youth.
During their visit, AYAG delegates were impressed by the positive outcomes they witnessed, including the service provision of health extension workers trained to provide SRH services to young people within YFS. This inspired them more to actively participate in youth focused program design and support implementation at all stages of the program. Bitania Lulu, chair of the AYAG, described the ASURE project as unique in its approach to serving adolescents and youth at the Youth Friendly Service corners, and its inclusion of university and school clubs to inform and empower youth about their health and rights.
AYAG delegates had the opportunity to speak with young people gathered at Arbaminch Youth Centre and inspire them to play a leading role in advocating for their own health and development. Bitania shared her experience visiting the ASURE project site with staff at Amref Health Africa Italy, who provide administrative support to the ASURE project, during her visit to Italy. “It is interesting to see that beyond its efforts to improve access to SRH services for young people, the project, closely working with the community and local NGOs, managed to truly empower women, which led to the creation of “Women Self Help Groups”, a coalition of proactive and empowered women (of local communities), who do their own business and generate income,” Bitania remarked.
Amref Health Africa teams up with African communities to create lasting health change.