Youth are the driving force that can help achieve SDG3

In this last piece from our youth blog series, Magnifique, a doctor specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology, explains why youth must be involved in the GFF if we are to meet the challenging deadline of 2030 for Sustainable Development Goal 3.

My name is Magnifique Irakoze, I live in Rwanda, and I am a maternity doctor at Kigali University Hospital. I am currently pursuing my training in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and I teach menstrual hygiene management in the rural areas of Nyanza in Rwanda. I am also Vice-President of the African Youth and Adolescence Network on Population and Development (AfriYAN-Rwanda), and I recently had the honor of being elected Vice-President of the Global Trainee Association for Obstetrics and Gynecology (WATOG).

My engagement with the Global Financing Facility (GFF) started recently - a few months before the CSO GFF engagement workshop in Senegal. After a colleague told me about the GFF, I started doing my own research on this financing mechanism and realized the important role that civil society needs to play in this process.

As a maternity doctor, I’m on the frontline in bringing about improvements on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. Yet, I hadn’t quite realised how great the challenge of Sustainable Development Goal 3 is to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.

I worked as an advocate for maternal health, but I had never contemplated the urgency of the fact that only 12 years remain if we are to reduce maternal and child mortality before 2030 (SDG3.1 and SDG3.2). My experience attending the GFF workshop in Dakar helped me understand the ideas that guided the creation of the GFF and how investing in the health and nutrition of women, children and adolescents is essential for countries to achieve SDG3.

Learning about the importance of aligning civil society actions with countries' investment plans was galvanizing and finding ways for CSOs to improve their involvement in the implementation of the GFF is challenging yet exciting.

As a youth representative, I wish to increase the involvement of youth engagement initiatives in the implementation of investment cases at both national and local levels.

The multi-disciplinary approach of this mechanism is paramount to its success, as is a special consideration for young people’s needs and expectations. The GFF should enable young innovators and creators to reflect and contribute to the interest of the community. We can only hold our leaders accountable if we are truly involved in the process.

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