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With a demographically youthful population, young people are the present and the future of South Africa – their health and development are fundamental to improvements in public health and socio-economic development in the country. Statistics South Africa asserts that the youth (aged 18–34) constitute almost a third of the population (17,84 million) in South Africa, with 9,04 million males and 8,80 million females. While young people represent enormous potential they are also at the centre of a number of health problems that have significant impact across the life-course and that are linked together in terms of cause and effect, including: problems related to sexual and reproductive health, HIV (a predominantly sexually transmitted disease in the context of South Africa), nutritional and mental health problems, and health-related behaviours, such as alcohol and drug use and violence.

This is the reason UNFPA South Africa established a Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) in 2013 to demonstrate UNFPAs commitment to young people’s empowerment and actualizing of rights, including their right to participate in decisions that affect their lives and to express their views and opinions. The YAP gives young leaders a voice and helps to guide UNFPA’s priority-setting in this core area of its mandate. UNFPA empowers young people and youth-serving organizations to participate in the design of youth-friendly policies, advocating and educating young people on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and designing programmes from a results-based perspective. Furthermore, the establishment of the YAP demonstrates a shift away from working for young people, to working in partnership with young people to ensure youth-friendly approaches and action.

Engaging youth meaningfully in the design and development of interventions, programmes, and policies increases their effectiveness; builds their knowledge, skills, and leadership; and enhances the capacity of organizations and entities to advocate for and advance youth development. The UNFPA Youth Advisory Panel serves as a platform through which young people’s needs can be addressed, their voice can be amplified, and their engagement can be advanced.

Aligning with UNFPA’s 5th Country Programme, we are recruiting new YAP 2021- 2024. The objectives of the of Youth Advisory Panel:

  • Facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge-sharing about best practices and lessons learned from youth policies and programmes as well as on major opportunities and challenges for moving the youth development agenda forward including gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights;
  • Represent the voices of youth, advocate for and facilitate the meaningful engagement of young people by various youth development role players in policy and programme development forums;
  • Enable greater understanding among UNFPA, government, youth groups and youth-serving partners on UNFPA’s policies and programmes, and how adolescent and youth concerns can be more effectively addressed in various political and socio-cultural contexts;
  • Advise UNFPA and its partners and government on how to ensure youth participation in the development of its policies, programmes and activities across the areas of its mandate;
  • Participate and engage the Provincial Coordination Forum on the youth development agenda including gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights;
  • Identify emerging issues in young people’s reproductive health and rights (including gender issues, cultural practices, etc.)
  • Convey information and messages on critical youth issues (gender equality, SRH, HIV, human rights) from provincial and national forums back to constituencies and communities. The expected result from having the Youth Advisory Panel is overall improvement in the youth-friendliness and responsiveness of UNFPA, CSO partners and the government to young people’s rights and needs. 

So, if you are a dynamic young person between the ages of 15 and 24?

  • Have actively initiated youth development projects in your community?
  • Are affiliated to and have strong networks with youth serving organisations in your community?
  • Have demonstrated leadership and commitment to advocate for youth rights on national and global platforms?

Then you could be in line to be selected as a member of the UNFPA Youth Advisory Panel programme.

*The new cohort must reside and have active projects in one of the following locations:

  • KZN: Uthukela district and Ethekwini metro;
  • Eastern Cape: OR Tambo district & Nelson Mandela Bay metro;
  • Limpopo: Waterberg district.

A limited number of applicants will be selected from the other  provinces.

Send CV and letter of support from your youth serving organisation endorsing your application and concise CV to: by 31 May 2021