On 1 April 2016, UNFPA, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, hosted a planning workshop at the Burger’s Park hotel in Pretoria to facilitate the planning of the Youth Satellite session at the 2016 International Aids Conference (IAC) due to take place from 18 – 22 July 2016 in Durban, South Africa. Serving as a platform for participants to engage in dialogue for planning the 120-minute satellite session, entitled “Young People’s Leadership in Ending AIDS and achieving Universal Sexual and Reproductive Health by 2030”, the planning workshop brought together young people representing youth networks from both South Africa and the East and Southern Africa region. Special representation was ensured from young people living with HIV, young key populations, young people with disabilities, and young people who are survivors of sexual violence and child marriage.
The key networks that were represented at the planning workshop session included: DREAMS Youth Ambassadors, UNFPA Youth Advisory Panel, Africa Young Positives, and Africa Youth and Adolescents Network for Population and Development (AfriYAN). In order to contribute and engage in dialogue, participants from Lesotho, Namibia, and Rwanda joined the plenary discussion session via satellite. UNFPA (South Africa and ESARO) provided the technical leadership, session development coordination and the logistics needed for organising the session, while Johnson & Johnson provided both the funding and technical guidance. Facilitators from FHI360 (a nonprofit human development organisation) moderated the workshop.
The participants’ response to the workshop was overall positive. The young people participated actively in all sessions, and showed a keen interest in this initiative, which would ensure that their voices are heard at the IAC 2016. There was active engagement in small group sessions, as well as in the big group plenary discussions. The participants were able to identify key issues that they felt should be addressed during the Youth Satellite Session at the IAC 2016. The outcome of the planning workshop was the development of a roadmap (with timelines) for the planning of the session in the lead-up to the conference.
“In response to a need for young peoples’ voices to be heard, we, UNFPA are looking forward to this exciting partnership with Johnson & Johnson and Young People at International Aids Conference in Durban this year.” Dr Esther Muia