Zimbabwe + 7 more

The Safeguard Young People Programme: Three years on - Addressing the urgent needs of youth across Southern Africa

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Safeguard young people programe (2014-2016)

Addressing the urgent needs of youth across Southern Africa

Africa’s youth population is growing rapidly, bringing immense opportunities for economic growth and prosperity. Yet, they face many risks as they navigate adolescence – unemployment, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and genderbased violence. The life skills that many youth lack mean they are unable to negotiate healthy, equitable relationships to plan their families and their futures.

We are at a critical crossroads – if we do not invest now in our young people, they face an uncertain future. Bold action from governments and leaders is critical to address their needs, include them in decision-making, and empower them to become change-makers in their own communities.

UNFPA’s flagship programme, Safeguard Young People (SYP), responds to the urgent needs of millions of young people, charting a new way forward for Southern Africa.

At the heart of the programme is the belief that young people need to be supported holistically in their own diverse and often complex environments so they can truly realize their full potential. This means the programme works at regional, national and local levels.
And it works with governments, traditional leaders, civil society, parents, teachers, nurses and – most importantly – youth themselves.

The SYP Programme uses innovative approaches to achieve better sexual and reproductive health outcomes for adolescents and young people at national scale, making it the first of its kind in the region.

Three years since it was launched, the evidence shows that the programme has changed the lives of many young people. From its contribution to the development of historic laws and policy amendments, to its captivating digital and traditional communication approaches; from foundational relationships built with parents and traditional leaders, to tireless efforts in improving health and education standards – the programme had an extensive impact on communities across the eight countries.