At the one year celebration anniversary and official opening of the Salone Youth and Adolescent Network on Population and Development (SaLYAN) on Friday, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) Country Resident Barnabas Yisa said his organization is impressed with the activities of SaLYAN.
SaLYAN is a network which aims to advocate for policy development and implementation particularly for youth participation, adolescents and young people’s reproductive health rights as well as fighting against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Speaking at the secretariat of SaLYAN at the National Stadium, Barnabas Yisa said that UNFPA realizes the need to address comprehensively the development of adolescent and youth.He added UNFPA aims to promote the rights of every young woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity and therefore will continue to work with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS) and SaLYAN to promote the development of young people in Sierra Leone.
He adds in response to these needs and in contributing towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Poverty reduction MDG-1; achieving MDG-2 on education; MDG-3 on gender equality; MDG-5 on maternal mortality and MDG-6 on HIV Prevention, UNFPA is engaging young people in their development process.
“We aim at opening opportunities for young people including incorporating youth issues into national development and poverty reduction strategies; expanding access to gender sensitive, life skills –based sexual and reproductive health education; promoting a core package of health services and commodities for young people and encouraging young people’s leadership and participation”, he says.
Barnabas admonished them to continue to engage with the MEYS on policy matters for further inclusion of young people in development.
Giving an update and status of the Youth Secretariat SaLYAN Coordinator Shekou Ansumana Nuni said since its inception, the network has worked closely with the MEYS, UNFPA and other stakeholders towards the ratification, entering into force and the utilization of the African Youth Charter which seeks to give due priority to youth development and empowerment.
He disclosed that in the coming month they shall launch the first ever Youth Express Forum. This is a dialogue platform to showcase the capacities of the young and emerging.
“We are also developing a manual for young people on population and development”, he adds.
Sierra Leone Youth Ambassador Junior Anthony Navo assured SaLYAN of his support and commended UNFPA for supporting youth activities in the country. A lecturer at MMCET Dr Beresford Davies encouraged the youths to engage in meaningful activities in the country.
The ceremony was chaired by the Director of Youths Anthony Koroma.
By Abibatu Kamara