Wednesday, October 29

A WEEK AT THE UN MEETING WITH AFRICAN PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVES

pic source: AAI
Meeting with some African Permanent Representatives (PRs) to the United Nations (UN) in New York (NY) was quite empowering and enriching. As a youth leader, having been involved with the post2015 process for over 20 months and having also been working at grassroots with young people for community good; I found our experience as youth task force, meeting with PRs in NY very relevant and timely. Especially as, very soon world leaders will be negotiating the adoption of the next development goals, and also since most at times there are hardly such opportunities for grassroots activists like myself to engage and share lessons with our leaders, particularly those in NY. 
A couple of days before my departure for NY, I had this weird thought; a very discouraging and mixed feeling on whether the PRs would want to meet us.  Behold, I was astonished when I finally met with some of them: their warmth reception and encouraging words was very touching. I was also moved when they promised sharing their expertise, exchanging relevant information as well as keeping us informed on the post2015 review process.
As I reflect on my experience, I remember the meeting with Benin PR H.E Ambassador Jean-Francis R. ZINSOU, how he spoke so passionately about African youth and why he strongly supports a standalone goal on youth in the post2015, as well as the prioritisation of investment in young people’s health.  At that moment, I recall it was an ‘aha’ for me. Also when the PRs of Liberia, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa, all reiterated on the need for youth active engagement and prioritisation throughout the post2015. Above all were their emphasis on issues around accountability, financing and implementation strategy for the SDGs. The fact that they saw the need and acknowledged that youth role is extremely important in the setting up of the next 15 years development plan, so far was the best thing I needed to hear.  And also the fact that in their remarks, they also identify the link and support for universal access to comprehensive sexuality education and services for youth and adolescents in the SDGs.
In cumulation, I felt proud and deeply honoured to have being part of such a diverse and amazing group of young people, committed in promoting change.  And thanks to Ford Foundation , AAI and partners for all the support. 
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The 12 AYTF