I am a Senegalese lawyer by training and head of the Gender and Human Rights Office of the National Youth Alliance for Reproductive Health and Family Planning. Our organisation is a very active civil society organisation (CSO) at national and local level, which is why we were invited to be involved when the Senegal Civil Society Engagement strategy for the GFF was validated.
The CSO GFF engagement workshop in Senegal, run by E4A-MamaYe, was an opportunity to bring together French-speaking CSOs to share knowledge around the GFF process, and to share the experience of Senegal with regard to the involvement of CSOs in the GFF and the national coalition. This workshop allowed us to better understand the GFF, its expectations regarding inclusion, transparency and mutual accountability: a necessary step towards better ownership of the GFF by stakeholders and communities.
Most importantly, the workshop also gave us the chance to highlight the obstacles to youth participation: the role of young people, especially youth led CSOs, in the implementation and monitoring of the GFF is not yet clear or specific. Language barriers pose an additional challenge, placing limits on the involvement of young people, specifically for young Francophones. Indeed, accessing relevant information about the GFF and its associated processes in a timely manner proves difficult for francophone countries and their civil societies.
We still want to know what the expectations of the GFF are with regard to young people. What are the short and long-term outcomes that the GFF seeks to achieve in relation to youth participation? The answers to these questions will allow CSOs and young people to make concrete, creative, proposals on their participation and involvement. Access to information, especially in a timely manner, will allow us to ensure our priorities are captured in country and local plans.
Going forward, I want to have process and outcome indicators on the involvement of young people in the GFF.
This will make it possible to involve young people throughout the process, but also to capitalise on their contribution in the process. For an impact-oriented commitment of youth, we also need a training programme to equip young people with technical skills and build capacity on the themes of the GFF, such as the budgeting process, monitoring, evaluation, and fundraising.
The mock citizens’ hearing we took part in during the workshop was a great learning experience. We put ourselves in the shoes of the authorities and populations and it showed the importance for public authorities and all stakeholders to adopt an inclusive approach that involves communities down at to the local level to ensure maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health improvements.
This workshop informed us of the importance of consultation between key actors at the national level, to really see through what mechanisms the principle of accountability will be put into practice and how these mechanisms will be systematized.