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Conference highlights youth advocacy for sexual and reproductive health rights

By Maria Weldali - May 29,2023 - Last updated at May 29,2023

Speakers during the second day of the ‘We Lead towards realisation of SRHRs and resilience’ conference on Monday (Photo by Maria Weldali)

AMMAN — The second day of the “We Lead towards realisation of SRHRs and resilience,” conference delved into youth engagement and advocacy efforts to openly promote sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR).

The session, titled “Meaningful Youth Participation”, explored the challenges facing youth in accessing leadership and decision-making positions, also discussing opportunities for youth to advance progress on SRHR and be a part of positive change. 

The session also addressed the importance of advocating for sexual and reproductive rights through a youth-focused lens.

Speaking during the session, founder of Liwan Youth Space, Rana Al Taher said that young people continue to face a number of challenges that hinder their full involvement when it comes to SRHR. “Among those barriers are embarrassment, stigma and shame to talk about or even access sexual and reproductive health information,” she said.

To ensure young people’s effective inclusion and empowerment, it is essential to delegate more autonomy to young people to make decisions relating to their sexual and reproductive rights, she added.

True youth engagement is achieved when “their ideas, perspectives, skills and strengths are integrated and power structures are shifted,” said Moufeeda Haider, gender and youth expert and the collective coordinator at Restless Development.

“Digital platforms are an innovative and powerful tool through which young generations could boost their sexual and reproductive health rights advocacy,” commented Hala Mahfouz, a young Jordanian advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities.

Speakers at the session recommended creating open, inclusive and safe environments for youth to participate in strengthening and upholding SRHR policies.

Recommendations also included the adoption of a clear strategy to develop and support sustainable youth engagement with SRHR-related topics.

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