RIGHT. EVIDENCE. ACTION – EVA’s Improving young people’s SRH Knowledge in Nigeria
Research has shown that adolescents and young people (AYP) in Nigeria are still facing issues of poor access to quality healthcare including sexual and reproductive health & rights services. Young key populations face even greater challenges accessing these services for fear of stigma or harassment. It is imperative for adolescents and young people to have the requisite skills needed in advocating for their issues, presenting a window for meaningful participation in policy and decision-making spaces.
The Rights, Evidence, Action (REA) is a cooperation between CHOICE and RNW Media (Love Matters) and funded by Amplify Change, which aims to improve the lives of young people by enabling them to understand and claim their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The REA program entered its 4th year in 2020 with Education as a Vaccine (EVA) as one of the implementing partners in Nigeria.
Using youth-friendly approaches, EVA seeks to improve the policy environment that upholds the rights of adolescents and young people to sexual and reproductive health information and services. In implementing this project, we strengthened the capacity of adolescents and young people aged 15 – 29 years, to advocate for their SRHR
issues and human rights. We understand that it is important for young people to have the knowledge and skills required in conducting rights-based and evidence-based advocacy, which was provided through our technology platforms, and physical and virtual training.
In the course of the project, we developed a comprehensive advocacy training curriculum for young people, with modules for sexual and gender diversity, media advocacy, and policy advocacy which was used to train 11 youth advocates, equipping them with advocacy skills. Ensuring young people are meaningfully engaged in policy and budgetary processes, 11 young people were supported to develop a scorecard to assess the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 11 states in Nigeria, while 10 youth advocates were supported to conduct media advocacy during the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the UN General Assembly, and 16 Days of Activism. EVA was also represented at the 4th Annual Scientific Conference on Youth & Adolescent SRHR by the Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK), where Ikenna Ugwumba, the REA focal person for EVA presented an abstract titled; Improving Advocacy Capacity of Adolescents and Young People: A Rights and Evidence-Based Approach. As part of advocacy efforts on the international scene, EVA joined CHOICE and other partners in making two submissions to the UN Special Procedures Mechanism and joined the Nigerian REA consortium in delivering a joint statement to the government of Nigeria at the 45th UN Human Rights Council.
More than 128,041 people have been reached with SRHR and human rights information via EVA’s technology platforms, with an inclusion of 15 youth-friendly facilities uploaded on our LINK-Up App – an app that helps young people and young key populations to locate youth-friendly healthcare facilities. The trained youth advocates that
were trained conducted media advocacy via social and traditional media with a reach of over 16 million audiences getting information on young people’s issues and the need for meaningful engagement of young people. The scorecard highlighted gaps in the implementation of the SDGs at the sub-national level, suggesting recommendations for governments at all levels in addressing the needs of young people and other vulnerable groups.
Teniola Bamigbola, a youth advocate engaged in the project had this to say after one of the training; “the advocacy training helped me to better understand how important gender inclusion is”. Ayodele Oluwatobi, a youth advocate that worked on the development of the SDGs scorecard said; “I now know how scorecards can be applied to hold governments accountable”.
Written by: Ikenna Ugwumba