Youth policy advocacy

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Well, about HIV/AIDs advocacy, the experience I have was working on a Youth Resource Centers Project in two communities in the oil producing area of Nigeria for the years 2003-2004. Three issues were identified as major youth challenges in these communities and so UNICEF in collaboration with my office (Ministry of Youth Development) decided to do something about it, the issues identified were HIV/AIDs, Human Trafficking and Youth Violence. The end product was the development of two Model Youth Resource Centes in each of the communities. The actual advocacy on HIV/AIDS occurred during the project development process, and we advocated to various stakeholders, including the youth, community members, faith based organizations, government etc.

The advocacy plan was designed in such a manner to suit the target group; for the government officials, we paid visits and discussed the issues we have identified as problems and informed them about the intervention project we have designed, we also sought their input and support. A project steering committee with representatives of government and civil society was the end product of the visits to government.

For the young people, a number of youth were also selected and trained to be part of the process and they participated in a number of focused groups discussion with other young people and community members, during the project process. They were also involved in developing of youth friendly messages for Information Education and Communication materials on HIV/AIDs, Human Trafficking and Violence, some young people were also on the Need Assessment team, which was part of the information gathering process.

A number of community members(civil society, faith based organization and other members of the communities ) had representatives on a project community committee which we also established as part of the process, these community members were also informed on the issues of concern and their input and support sought.

At the end of the process, we had gathered information on HIV/AIDs, Human Trafficking, and violence, from the perspective of all stakeholders in the communities, and we had their input to complete the intervention project design. After the advocacy process, construction work on the Youth resource centers began, incorporating most of the suggestion and input arising for the advocacy process

In summary, today the two model youth resource centers in Benin-City , Edo state and Amukpe Sapele, Delta State of Nigeria have been completed and serve as centres were youth friendly information on HIV/AIDs is available. Life skills training and livelihood skills training also take place at the centers as a way of keeping the youth engaged to discourage them from being involved in violence and Human Trafficking. The management of the centers has also been handed over to the communities.

On Education, we have identified the need to mainstream entrepreneurship education into the school curriculum. Presently, a mainstreaming plan has been developed incorporating all issues that are challenges to young people, entrepreneurship education inclusive. However, like I stated in my input on advocacy yesterday, implementation is a challenge. For now, representatives of other government agencies that are relevant to the youth mainstreaming process have been sensitized during a 5day long sensitization/training session. However, the Ministry of Youth Development is working on these challenges.

Shining Star (talk)22:25, 18 February 2011

Thanks for elaborating on your advocacy experiences. I note that your advocacy campaigns led to development of youth resource centres - an excellent way of utilising advocacy to realise an outcome. It is important that as we plan around an advocacy strategy we anticipate what we wish to realise as an end product.

Nmunala (talk)22:47, 18 February 2011