SAfAIDS under the Sustainable Communities of Real Excellence (SCORE) programme launched the Young People’s Leadership Academy (YPLA) in 2015 following the successful pilot of the Young Women’s Leadership (YWL) programme in the last 5 years. YPLA aims to strengthen transformational leadership capacities for young people to be able to make informed sexual and reproductive health (SRH) choices at individual and family levels; consolidate their educational and economic status; and advocate for their SRH rights to protect them and their peers from HIV and sexual gender based violence (SGBV) and improve their SRH outcomes. YPLA has over 90 alumni members who are actively involved in the development of their communities in their respective countries through their work in advocacy, education, sports, arts, economic empowerment of vulnerable young people and women and legal assistance among others.
Today we feature a few alumni’s work focusing on the development of the African Child;
- Buumba Malambo (Zambia)- founder of the Buumbalambo Foundation and Mwana Apunzilie Scholarship Fund. Both initiatives work to sponsor orphans and vulnerable children in disadvantged communities in Zambia to go to school. The initiatives currently sponsor over 550 children all across Zambia.
- Beatrice Savadye (Zimbabwe)- founder of the Real Open Opportunities for Transformation Support (ROOTS). ROOTS work includes a mentorship programme targeting young women, a sanitary wear campaign for vulnerable girls and young women, as well as a vibrant campaign to end child marriages.
- Retselisitsoe Fothoane (Lesotho)- launched the Mosotho Girls Club in Mazenod, Maseru. She uses this platform to educate adolescent girls on SRHR and HIV in an effort to reduce teen pregnancies and rates of new HIV infection among adolescent girls in her community.
- Fred Nyondo (Malawi)- developed a Sexual Gender Based Violence training manual for communities in Lilongwe, which is being used by community youth clubs to advocate for the protection of girls and women from (SGBV).
Initially, YPLA was designed for young people aged between 18-24 years, however the Academy is increasing its reach and efforts to invest in the transformational leadership development of a responsible cadre of young people who are well rounded leaders with the capacity to make a difference in their communities and countries in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The Academy will be conducting leadership classes for school-going young adolescents aged 16-19 years from August 2017. SAfAIDS YPLA joins the rest of Africa in celebrating the Day of the Africa Child 2017 under the theme, “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity.” Below, we share the SAfAIDS Executive Director’s remarks on the YPLA;
SAfAIDS Executive Director and Founder of YPLA, Mrs Lois B. Chingandu
“The SAfAIDS Leadership Programme came after the realization that there is a leadership gap amongst adolescent girls and young women, especially in areas of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH), Gender and HIV. The academy is therefore building young people who are empowered, educated, healthy, resilient and socially responsible.
Our desire is to have young people who are autonomous decision makers, with the capacity to reach their full potential and in the process contributing to the development of their community, their country and the region.We believe that there is power in numbers. Building this group of regional young leaders will result in them working towards a common goal through advocating for common issues.
What we have witnessed through this group is the emergence of young people who are moving from tokenism to become real champions. They are now working towards launching a regional advocacy movement, with special focus on SRH and gender equality. Africa must therefore brace itself to see these young leaders in action. As SAfAIDS, we will continue to work tirelessly to unleash more young people whom Africa can be proud of.”
Happy Day of the African Child from the YPLA team!