This weekend 150 young leaders from around the world was gathered in Mali, by the UNAIDS as part of the strategy to invest in a NEW GENERATION LEADERSHIP. Why?
These are the most pressing arguments for letting young people lead the fight against hiv:
- Young people (15-24) make up one fifth of the world population, and 40 % of the new hiv infections among adults.
- Young people have the capacity to get to know their epidemic and to respond to it.
- Only todays youth really understand the reality of being young today.
- Young people make choises concerning their present and future sexual and reproductive health, they need to have the ownership of their options and choises.
- Young people will make their own strategy and speak to their peers, much better and more efficient than any adult concerned about youth will be able to.
However, we still have a long way to go and young leadership needs to be promoted and fought for at the UN High level meeting in june. Some main challenges are these:
- National decision makers are yet to create seats at the table for meaningful participation of youth in the respons to the hiv epidemic.
- International desicion makers need to secure enough political will and funding, to invest in young people and the fight for UNAIDS’ vision of an ”hiv free generation”.
- Decision makers and young people need to be open for cooperating. Young people need to be recognized and provided with information in a language the can understand, but young people must also make demands and be willing to work within the existing structures of decision making.
- Young people are diverse and dynamic as a group (all groups in society at large are also groups among the youth) and they are easily influenced by changes around them.
- Young people within the most affected population (men who have sex with men, sexworkers, drug users etc.) are still facing criminalization and stigmatization.
I am ready to fight, are you?
Endorse the Call to Action, agreed upon by young leaders from around the world in Bamako this weekend! Go to: www.whatabouthiv.org/