In 2013, UNFPA South Africa established a Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) to demonstrate its commitment to young people’s empowerment. UNFPA empowers young people and youth-serving organizations to participate in the design of youth-friendly policies, advocate and educate young people on Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights.The YAP gives young people a voice and helps to guide UNFPA’s priority-setting in this core area of its mandate. The establishment of the YAP demonstrates a shift away from working for young people to working in partnership with young people.
In 2015, UNFPA expanded its reach and recruited additional YAP members from two provinces; KwaZulu- Natal and Eastern Cape, in an attempt to strengthen partnerships with young people and youth networks in the two UNFPA- supported provinces. Aiming to increase youth participation and promote the UNFPA advocacy agenda, it is against this background that UNFPA Country office, with the support of the Regional Office, conducted a four-day Advocacy workshop in December 2015.
The workshop was designed to increase the knowledge and skills of YAP members in using Advocacy Strategies and Tools to influence policy makers. The workshop focused on strengthening YAP members’ social media activities and agenda. In addition, the training allowed YAP members to prioritise key actions for advocacy around the youth development agenda and UNFPA priorities within the ICPD agenda.
The advocacy workshop also served as platform to induct and introduce new YAP members, thereby ensuring that a structured platform for incoming YAP members is set out. Through the delivery of well organised advocacy workshop there was consensus among the participants that the working relationships, coordination and collegiality were strengthened during the four day workshop.