Youth Platform Against Gender-Based Violence

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Putting girls back to school and mobilizing the quality participation of young people in public center of decision-making

Snapshot

Team: Association of Multi-Purpose Relays

Country: Senegal

City: Thies

Start: 27/08/2021

End: 31/12/2024 (exp.)

SDGs: 3, 4, 5, 10

Background

Association of Multi-Purpose Relays is an umbrella association uniting eleven civil society groups of young people, working as a team. The young people of the Association are working in partnership with adults to facilitate experience sharing, including through mentorship programmes.

In Thiès, theAssociation teamed up after observing that there is insufficient participation of young people in tackling the issues of territorial development, so the young people took this initiative to encourage and motivate local youth to actively engage in decision-making on community level.

With the reproductive health being one of the key issues in the community, with girls dropping out of school, the Association was formed as a coalition of local youth to bring together the concerned and proactive young people and instigate behavioural change through communication of accurate information and awareness raising activities, targeting adolescents and youth between 10 and 24 years of age.

Partners

The Association was able to establish partnerships with the city of Thiès and 3 municipalities. They also work with the community development and youth services.  

It's part of our culture to leave no one behind. I think this approach [involving youth in local governance] allowed us to succeed in putting everyone on an equal footing.

Papa Makha Nguer, youth leader, Association of Multi-Purpose Relays Tweet

In practice, the team developed action plans that are put forward for a discussion between partners to see the ways and means that must be taken to succeed, realizing that stiving to achieve lasting impact, nothing can be done without the municipal governments being onboard with the initiative.

Description of the intervention

Youth platform is a series of workshops around the topics of concern including gender-based violence, early marriages, unplanned pregnancies, violence within and between communities, reproductive health, engagement in decision-making, LGBT inclusion, and developing leadership skills. 

Each topic is being worked on by a group of young people of the Association, with the necessary participation of young women and girls. The activities revolve around communicating the accurate information, awareness raising workshops and home visits.

At the needs assessment stage prior to the establishment of the platform, there was involvement of the actors from the sectors of health, education, youth, community development at the table, with the importance of the initiative being emphasized by all actors. It was highlighted that to work with young people, it is important for an organization to forge bonds and establish trust, which can give a youth-led association originated from the community an upper hand.

As part of its effort to increase youth participation in local governance, the Association made pleas to local authorities during budget orientation meetings to involve young people in decision-making. This was the first-time young people participated in decision-making with local authorities. 

At the sectoral level, the platform targets schools and healthcare facilities to ensure that the necessary data is being collected and the affected adolescents and youth are reached. we work with adult children who are in school and with those who are in the community environment. 

At the community level, the youth community development team is responsible for outreach to young people and children who dropped out of school with no schooling.

The goal is to create an effective platform of communication between all involved stakeholders, including primary and secondary education institutions, healthcare providers, adolescents and young people, and municipalities, which is meant to facilitate intergenerational dialogue and developing of leadership skills among youth.

Community mobilization enables the whole society to reap the benefits, and enjoy the results achieved by different organizations... We use our experience to help youth associations work together with the community, making the community resilient, enabling i to create solutions and innovations. They create local dynamics and we try to reinforce them in cooperation with the organizations.

Ndeye Fatou Ngom, student in environmental science, founder and president of AALAM, - an organization working for environmental education (Youth 2030 Cities focus group discussion, February 2022). Tweet

Key achievements

The project is still in its early implementation stage, but some of the outcomes have already emerged.

  • Young people have invited and participated for the first time in decision-making with local authorities.
  • The young people from Thies were educated about reproductive health, GBV and other community issues.
  • The platform showed promise to expand its mandate to direct young people employment legal opportunities and educated them about certain technological aspects.
  • After raising awareness workshops, there have been a change in perceptions concerning reproductive health among young people, especially girls, participated in the sessions.

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