Young people, youth leaders and SRHR experts added their voices and recommendations to the review of the revised National Youth Policy draft document in regards to the SRHR content.
The platform to engage young people was provided through the National Youth Council of Malawi – http://www.nycommw.org/ with funding from Southern AIDS Trust ; with a focus on SRHR for adolescents and youth as this is a thematic area within the policy.
young people participated in this process through a live public debate on Zodiack broadcasting station – text messages from the general public were also part of it. following this a youth leaders meeting from various districts and at different levels in youth work facilitated effective but broaden consultation – from youth that the policy will serve but also as implementors of SRHR programmes on the ground. Also youth voices were collected through various social media discussions. The consultations finished with an expert meeting which included key government Ministries, NGO’s , partners, and youth SRHR experts.
Key issues raised were :
lack of comprehensive information on SRHR, limited parental involvement in ASRHR, provider attitudes and biases to adolescents and youth – youth are discouraged to use and seek contraceptives methods, youth friendly health services sites must go beyond the provision of condoms and provide wide range of commodities to its clients, lack of negotiating powers among girls, limited accessible youth friendly health services
Key issues to be included in the policy –
Commodity security and resources for SRHR and HIV services adolescent health as a budget line item with the health budget in the National budget.
Comprehensive accessible youth friendly SRHR information to be emphasized, gender based violence in relation to SRHR issues, Government to support the design, establishment, implementation of a comprehensive adolescent and youth SRHR national program, strengthen youth friendly health services and provision of these services, Youth living with HIV , youth with disabilities and VMMC.
The policy needs to reflect the role that the community and the chiefs should play including parental counseling on issues of SRHR and HIV. It should also re-position early on adolescents in access and being reached with SRHR programs
Harmonise other policies as sometimes contradict each other on SRHR – Education policy vs contraceptive distribution and other services within the schools.
Other key stakeholders in the process were Ministry of Youth, ministry of Health – directorate of reproductive health.