Meaningful youth participation is a key component of our SRHR programs. Youth participation is increasingly recognized as a human right and a critical component of effective strategies to improve SRHR and to achieve international development goals. We cannot deny that the importance of youth participation has been recognized in several international declarations, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the ICPD program of Action, the Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS (UNGASS on HIV and AIDS 2001). In many low- and middle-income countries, young people represent significant proportions of the population and often disproportionately affected by sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR problems).
To explore more on the scenario of young people and their meaningful participation in SRHR programs in Nepal, the Dutch Youth Ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Sanne Thijssen and Advocacy Officer at CHOICE for youth & sexuality Lewis Emmerton visited Nepal.
Within her role as Dutch Youth Ambassador for SRHR, 2016/17, Sanne Thijssen (22) promotes young people’s sexual rights and champions meaningful youth participation in all areas of decision-making; at the local, national and international level. With a background in European Public Health and a Master in Public Policy and Human Development Sanne has spent her time as Ambassador advocating for universal access to youth friendly services and sexual reproductive health and rights in humanitarian settings.
The visit to Nepal is part of a fact-finding trip to learn about the best practices for meaningfully engaging young people in the provision of SRHR services and information. Nepal was selected; given the important role that youth organisations and advocates played following the 2015 earthquakes, providing essential SRHR services, and are interested to see two-years on whether young people are still playing a critical role and to see whether the Nepalese government has incorporated youth projects into their SRHR national policies.
On 29th May, 2017 Sanne and Lewis visit Marie Stopes Nepal’s office and interacted with our youth team. Ms. Sanne shared, “I am really thrilled to know about Rockets & Space program and am eager to meet the team behind the wonderful creatives disseminating SRHR information via Facebook.” Both of them appreciated the work Rockets & Space team has been forwarding towards sustainable development goals to achieve universal access to SRHR addressing the SRHR needs of youth living disabilities, LGBTI youth groups, etc. Sanne and Lewis also visit our youth-friendly service centre Marie Stopes Putalisadak and had interaction with our youth pop-up volunteers and service providers.