Young people from India join YouVaani ahead of PMNCH Global Forum for Adolescents conference

New Delhi (India), October 10: Adolescents and youth from across India joined YouVaani, the annual youth leaders gathering organised by the YP Foundation in New Delhi. These young people bring voices of more than 60,000 adolescents and young people’s voices as campaigners, and partners who have come together to advocate for much-needed investment and support for young people’s health and well-being. The demands/responses collected from adolescents and youth are part of the PMNCH’s 1.8 Billion Young People for Change Campaign and further feed into the drafting of Agenda for Action for Adolescents (AAA) to be launched during the Global Forum for Adolescents (GFA), scheduled for 11-12 October 2023. The Global Forum for Adolescents (GFA), the world’s largest-ever gathering for adolescent well-being is being organized by PMNCH, the largest global platform advocating for women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health and well-being, hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), with an aim to make sure that the world unites and takes the young people seriously, and that their well-being and health.

As the youngest country in the world, India has more than 365 million youth in the age group of 15 to 29 years which constitutes more than 34 percent of the total population of India. The Global Strategy (2016-2030) has accorded significant attention to adolescents, emphasising that prioritising their health is vital to achieving the SDG agenda. SDG 3 aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Joining the adolescents and youth from across India at the YouVaani event in New Delhi, hosted by The YP Foundation, were representatives from the government, multilateral agencies, CSOs and other youth networks. Key among them were Dr. Zoya Ali Rizvi, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Ajay Khera, Country Representative, Engender Health, Ankita Singh, UNFPA India and other civil society partners. “When we focus our policy efforts on young people, we are taking care of the health of the nation. Investing in young people creates informed adolescents and adults,” said Dr Rizvi at YouVaani. 

The second half of YouVaani was segmented into four different action-oriented workshops with different thematic experts. In one workshop that was focusing on films and representation of gender roles, the youth advocates related it to how public campaigning is important for normative change. 

The letters to fellow activists centered around creating well-being networks amongst youth advocates. 

More than 40 youth advocates came together with posters and slogans celebrating choice, consent, relationships and equality.  The YouVaani museum showcased at the event, highlighting the journey of 1.8 Billion campaign of youth mobilisers across the country was the centre of attraction for the participants. Riya (Ash) Sharma, a 19-year-old youth leader remarked, “Let’s not make meaningful youth engagment as inclusively ‘exclusive’. Let us not stop at seat at the table but ensure that we are mindful of diverse representation of young people and their meaningful participation.“ 

YouVaani event hosted by The YP Foundation, a young feminist led organisation, is one of more than a 100 events taking place across the world, bringing together youth and adolescents, advocates, and global decision-makers, culminating in the world’s biggest global virtual event for adolescents: The Global Forum for Adolescents. This free digital event will unite the voices of 1 million young people to rally for new policies, more investment, and greater accountability for action. Communicating to the world what young people really want through the 1.8 Billion Young People for Change campaign. The aim is to secure political and financial commitments toward improved adolescent health and well-being. 

At the Global Forum for Adolescents, PMNCH will unveil the Agenda for Action for Adolescents, informed by the findings from the What Young People Want survey, the largest-ever survey into what young people want for their health and well-being. So far, over 1 million young people globally have taken part, and results in real-time are available through the What Young People Want Digital Dashboard, enabling users to analyse data and trends by topic, gender, age, and country. The dashboard is an open-access public tool for students, young change-makers, national policymakers, and journalists seeking to understand and address youth demands at national and global levels. The dashboard’s data is directly collected from survey responses and not sourced from official country statistics or data sets.

“The Global Forum for Adolescents is a key milestone for the 1.8 Billion Young People for Change campaign, bringing together youth and adolescents, advocates, global leaders, and decision-makers at a pivotal moment for kickstarting policy shifts and program re-design at the country level,” commented Helga Fogstad, Executive Director, PMNCH. “Adolescence is a critical stage of development with positive outcomes not only for adolescents but for people of all ages. Ensuring adolescents’ well-being is critical to the achievement of a sustainable future for all, requiring cross-sectoral approaches that respond to the multi-faceted nature of their development. Effort spent to ensure adolescent well-being today, especially for females, will yield a triple dividend for adolescents now, in their future lives, and for generations to come.”

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