Why youth need a place at the GFF table

Our blog series on youth advocates engaged in the GFF continues with Massita, a sexual and reproductive health ambassador from Burkina Faso. During the first E4A-MamaYe GFF CSO Senegal workshop in October 2018, Massita emphasised the importance of youth's presence in global conversations about RMNCAH.

My name is Massita Sanon and I am a Youth Ambassador for the Reproductive Health and Family Planning Network (JASRPF) in Burkina Faso. The JASRPF network, created in 2015, is an initiative of the Civil Society for Family Planning (CS4FP) project, which brings together young people working in civil society coalitions for family planning across West Africa. Since its creation in July 2015, the network has supported youth ambassadors to conduct outreach activities on sexual and reproductive health rights on social media and in the field. My role as a Youth Ambassador is to support the Technical Group on Health and Reproduction, with advice and input on children and adolescent issues.

My commitment to the GFF came naturally: I am already a young volunteer in reproductive health and family planning. Projects aiming to improve health systems are always of interest to me. When I learnt that the GFF has the potential to strengthen health systems already in place, I immediately understood the importance of getting involved to represent the youth agenda.

I represented youth from Burkina Faso at the E4A-MamaYe CSO GFF engagement workshop in Dakar. I shared our country’s experience of the GFF with all participants and learnt from the experiences of other countries.

I learnt a lot at this workshop. The practical work sessions really amazed me! They allowed all participants to understand the subject in depth, especially around accountability of the GFF. A number of solutions to the challenges of finding funding for GFF-related activities were proposed, which proved very interesting and useful to us, as CSO representatives. The lack of clear information on the GFF has always been an obstacle to our commitment and this is why this workshop was so welcome:

[The workshop] allowed us to gain a better understanding of the concepts behind the GFF.

As a young person, I want to ensure that young people are effectively involved at all stages of the process. To achieve this, it is very important to train young people in advocacy and leadership, and to involve them in the conversations. Informing youth about the GFF and the potential it has, will allow for better engagement. We do not want to just be a subject on the table in GFF discussions, we want to be at the table - discussing the issues that matter to us!

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