DSW staff Samuel Gathondu at a training event with young people in Nairobi. DSW empowers the youth in Kenya to create demand for and access to health information, services and supplies for the youth, including access to youth friendly family planning services

On World Contraception Day 2018, Santa Kagendo, a young woman from Meru County was granted one minute to address the governor of Meru county at the launch event of the Meru County Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan.

Her task?  To deliver an important message on behalf of the youth – that the youth of Meru County need access to youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning services.

In that one minute, Ms. Kagendo delivered her message to Governor Kiraitu Murungi and 200 other guests who included county ministers and county legislators.

She urged Governor Kiraitu Murungi to ensure that the funding commitments required to provide the youth with youth friendly services are met.

But Ms. Kagendo was not always confident, knowledgeable and in the right spaces to speak with decision makers about her needs and those of her fellow youth.

She is one of the 400 youth DSW has trained and supported since 2016 to advocate for the family planning needs of the youth in Kenya.

“DSW has built my capacity on issues of advocacy through the trainings (sic) that I was involved in. The IEC materials constantly provided by the organization, have also enabled me to be a good advocate for family planning. Working with DSW has also exposed me to interactions with county officials and leaders,” Ms. Kagendo said about DSW’s role in supporting her become a better family planning advocate.

Other young people in decision making spaces

Other than Ms. Kagendo, three other youth trained and supported by DSW have also claimed their space in key policy and decision making bodies which make decisions on health and family planning investments in Kenya.

Kevin Kocheli (Trans Nzoia County), Felix Magut (Nandi County), and Andrew Wachelon (West Pokot County) will sit in the County Budget and Economic Forums (CBEFs) in their counties for the next five years.

The county budget and economic forum is designed to function as a financial and economic management think-tank for county government in Kenya. The forums are used by the county governor to identify county priorities and budget for them. These priorities include family planning investments.

Since 2016, DSW has trained and supported 400 young people from 11 counties in Kenya to advocate for their family planning needs in the creation and implementation of policy at county and national levels. Santa, Kevin, Felix and Andrew are four of these young people.

Through advocacy, DSW aims to work with stakeholders, including the youth, to mobilize more and better funds from the county governments and the national government for family planning services, especially for young people.

Have you also heard about our Right by Her Campaign? We are working hard to make women’s rights a reality across Africa, focusing on four key areas: SRHR, HIV & AIDS, harmful practices, and gender-based violence. Together with our partners, and our donor the EU, we research the status of inequality, advocate for change, raise awareness, and build the capacity of civil society. To learn more about this project visit: www.rightbyher.org