Youth participation and leadership

UNFPA Rwanda actively empowers and engages young people in its work and advocates for full participation of young people in order to reach their full potential. Since 2016 UNFPA Rwanda supported the establishment of African Youth and Adolescents Network (AfriYAN) Rwanda chapter which brings together 21 youth led organizations. AfriYAN Rwanda chapter and other partners have been at the helm of advocating for the revision of laws that hinder young people in accessing adolescent sexual and reproductive health.

UNFPA Rwanda actively empowers and engages young people in its work and advocates for full participation of young people in order to reach their full potential. Since 2016 UNFPA Rwanda supported the establishment of African Youth and Adolescents Network (AfriYAN) Rwanda chapter which brings together 21 youth led organizations. AfriYAN Rwanda chapter and other partners have been at the helm of advocating for the revision of laws that hinder young people in accessing adolescent sexual and reproductive health. UNFPA Rwanda has been actively empowering AfriYAN Rwanda chapter through capacity building workshops on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health, engaging young people in the ASRH technical working group to advocate for ASRH&R of young people.

UNFPA Rwanda is employing innovation in delivering the 8th Country Program 2018 – 2023. In order to enhance youth participation and leadership, UNFPA Rwanda has employed the Innovation Accelerator (iAccelerator) which is a mentorship-driven acceleration programme, that aims at promoting an entrepreneurial spirit among young people, and encourages them to think critically and creatively on issues related to sexual and reproductive health.

The iAccelerator Rwanda was launched at the end of 2016 a. In Rwanda the iaccelerator initiative is implemented by Imbuto Foundation with guidance and support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country office (CO), and in partnership with Knowledge Lab (K-Lab)-the premier innovative and incubation hub in Rwanda. Building on past efforts and successes and on recommendations from a survey conducted among the 19 social enterprises developed under the iAccelerator programme in the region, UNFPA ESARO has devised a mechanism to provide ongoing virtual support to social enterprises in order to help them scale up their operations. UNFPA Country Office has worked alongside Imbuto Foundation to identify and engage potential partners for innovation in the country to meet the needs of the social enterprises who were selected in the iAccelerator Phase 1, and supported the launch of a virtual mentorship programme.

With the proliferation of mobile technology, and its popularity among young people, mobile phones offer a novel and accessible platform for a discreet, on-demand service providing Sexual Reproductive Health. UNFPA Rwanda is supporting the government of Rwanda to use M4RH (Mobile for Reproductive Health) through the use of mobile technology to diffuse information on adolescent sexual and reproductive health which will be a catalyst in the reduction of unintended pregnancies, HIV infections and other STI’s.

In spite of this success, there is still a great need to engage young people at all levels in addressing health issues that affect them. Young people are not yet actively participating in decision making of programs that affect their lives. In order for young people to participate in programs that affect them there is a need to empower them and avail opportunities that will allow them to fully participate in decisions that affect their lives and strengthen their capacity to advance human rights, gender and development issues such as health, education and employment.

In order to achieve full participation of young people, UNFPA focuses on engaging all young people from all segments of society in a more inclusive manner without leaving anyone behind.