The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and the development Research and Projects Centre, dRPC, under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health At Scale (PACFaH@Scale), organised a three-day summit to discuss adolescent reproductive health and family planning as part of the first Universities Sustainable Development Goals Summit going on at Ahmadu Bello University.
The summit, which is led by the 2019 GoalKeepers in Nigeria, has brought over 1000 young students across universities in Nigeria. Organised in partnership with the (Centre for Development and Advanced Learning (CENDAL), the GoalKeepers described the drive to create awareness among the youth on reproductive health and family planning as key to attaining the SDG goal 3.
Led by Micheal Turnwait, Saied Tafida, and Yusha’u Abubakar, the Goalkeepers said the rights of the adolescent and the youth to access quality healthcare services, including family planning, is oftentimes challenging.
”Young people often cannot make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health” Mr Turnwait said.
He added that providing access to comprehensive sexual education, services to prevent, diagnose and treat sexually transmitted diseases and counselling for family planning as provided under the United Nations population fund is becoming difficult to young Nigerians.
”Empowering people to know and exercise their rights – including the right to delay marriage and the right to refuse unwanted sexual advances – is crucial for Nigerian youth,” he added.
While calling for Nigeria to accord the right to young people aged 15- 30 years old platforms to advocate for sexual and reproductive rights, Yusha’u Abubakar said inclusion and participation is essential if these rights are to be valuable and available to the youth.
”I want Nigeria to review the national youth reproductive policy to give more powers, inclusion and participation to the youth so as to empower them to make their decisions,” he added.
In his contribution on the panel, Saeid Tafida, who is also a 2019 Goalkeeper, explained that in 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 goals for sustainable development to achieve a better world by 2030. According to him, the goalkeepers became a global effort, led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to accelerate progress towards the global goals using powerful partnerships to hold governments accountable and to bring a new generation of leaders to address the world’s major challenges.
”This is the partnership we are witnessing today. And I call on all of you to take any action, here, today, to agree to make a change in your community that will impact on the lives of your people as from now,” he urged the participants.
Highlights of the summit were the declaration of the 3-day gathering by the Executive Director of the Centre for Development and Advanced Learning, Suleiman Mukhtar, who urged the participants to work together to ensure a world where peace, prosperity, wellbeing, justice and all rights are protected.