Following a recent four-day training workshop for family planning youth champions conducted by DSW, 26 youth from eight counties in Kenya are now better equipped to advocate for more and better funds for family planning from the public sector. The training workshop covered topic areas critical for family planning advocacy, including understanding family planning concepts, the budget-making process, the public participation framework, media for advocacy, and community mobilisation.
Critical role of Family planning youth champions
According to our national team coordinator in charge of advocacy Peter Ngure, the family planning youth champions that emerge from these workshops are a critical component of community ownership of their welfare, local issues, and dealing with devolved funds: “For Kenya to fully develop, we need greater investments in young people, reproductive health and family planning.
“Youth champions will go a long way in ensuring that county governments prioritise youth sexual and reproductive health issues, and help break the stigma associated with young people seeking family planning services. The champions are also critical in ensuring that county budgets are directed towards the critical areas of development with a focus on the youth who are the largest population group in Kenya.” He added.
Family Planning youth champions: empowering to advocate
Santa Kagendo, a trainee and family planning youth champion from Kenya’s central region said, that the workshop was an eye opener for her because she now understands that as a family planning youth champion and advocate, her voice is needed to ensure the increase of the family planning budget in her county: “I have never attended a budget hearing, but now I am more informed and I now know the importance of participating in budgetary processes as a family planning youth champion and advocate.”
Another trainee, Bandika Omar from Kilifi county, in Kenya’s coastal region, said that the training helped him understand how to debate and influence budget processes from an informed perspective, as opposed to the more basic ways of making noise and pushing for an agenda without a purpose.
“It [the training] empowered me to reason and work with genuine purpose for the best,” said Bandika. Recent data shows that Kenyan youth are in dire need of information about their sexuality, with early and unplanned pregnancies and new HIV infection rates on the rise in the country.
Family planning youth champions key to budget advocacy
Budget advocacy using family planning youth champions is an important part of our work in Kenya, and the other countries in Eastern Africa in which we work. Together with our family planning youth champions, we are working to contribute to increased and improved funding by county governments in eight Kenyan counties (West Pokot, Kilifi, Laikipia, Meru, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyandarua and Uasin Gishu). In doing so, we aim to mobilise more and better funds from key European donors, as well as from East African governments where we work, to support family planning.
Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW) promotes universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in low- and middle-income countries. By undertaking SRHR advocacy, developing initiatives, and engaging in capacity development and family planning projects, we improve the health of women and girls living in poverty and empower the youth of today to lead healthy and self-determined lives.