Southern Africa: Young people are the future

Southern Africa: Young people are the future

Date: June 15, 2017
  • SHARE:


Johannesburg, 16 June: The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Gender Protocol Alliance will this month of June launch the Young Women Alliance (YWA) network. The launch is meant to coincide with the commemoration of the Day of the African Child on June 16.

The YWA will be made up of young women representatives from all the 15 Alliance networks and their mandate is to profile urgent issues affecting young women in SADC region. The network is expected to lead Alliance campaigns on women’s economic empowerment and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Alliance Chair, Emma Kaliya commended the addition of a young women’s cluster to the SADC Gender Alliance network as the region’s Post 2015 agenda recognise the youth as a key player in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She said, “The younger generation will inject young blood into the Alliance and fully optimise the new media to amply the voice of the Alliance in developmental issues globally”.

The launch of the network on Youth day is significant as the network seeks to draw inspiration from the Soweto students who on June 16 1976 rose against the Apartheid system in South Africa.

The events that followed played a significant role in the transformation of the socio-political landscape in South Africa and have inspired generations of youths across the continent to take a lead in pursuing equality, freedom, and justice.

The formation of the YWA serves a reminder that while the majority of today’s youths were born in a politically free Africa, the struggle against repression, inequality, corruption, and poverty continues.

With an estimated 60% of the continent population under 25 years of age and more than half of them being young women it is important that that they are included in regional gender equality processes.

Research carried out in the region shows that in most cases they are the ones forced by circumstances to bear the brunt of high levels of unemployment, gender based violence, infectious diseases and lack of access to basic public services such as education, health and human security.

Just last week the South African media reported that more than 2000 young women between the ages of 15 and 24 get infected with HIV every week. This trend is not only in South Africa but across the continent where young girls make the majority of those infected with HIV.

Currently civil society organisations are busy lobbying African Union (AU) leaders meeting later this month in Addis Ababa to put on their agenda the plight of 51 million girls throughout the continent who are out of school. The summit will run under the theme; “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth”.

These two examples serve as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by many young women in the continent. With little progress having been registered in improving the lives of young people across the continent during the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), the need to put the youth at the centre of the continent’s development agenda is increasingly becoming urgent.

The Alliance acknowledges that while the SDGs outlines the boldest framework to date in addressing the various challenges facing today’s youth, their success cannot be guaranteed unless our countries place great importance in transforming the lives of their young people.

(For more information on this press release contact the Alliance Advocacy and Network Building Coordinator, Lucia Makamure on   or call +27 (0) 710358896 +27 (0 )11 029 0006/ 011 028 2410


Comment on Southern Africa: Young people are the future

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *