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YOUTH EMPOWERMENT - STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPMENT, DR ONABANJO

11 September 2018
UNFPA Regional Director Calls for Investment in Youth

 

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund Regional Director for East and Southern Africa who is also the Regional United Nations Sustainable Development Group Country Focal point for Lesotho Dr Julitta Onabanjo has called for empowerment of youth as a strategy to attain development.

Speaking during the signing of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2019-2023) between the United Nations and the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho in Maseru, Lesotho on 29/08/2018, Dr Onabanjo said Lesotho has a youthful population and investing in young people would better its chances of attaining development goals. 
She stated, “the quality of education for them gets more essential as they need skills that allow them to create meaningful jobs for themselves and others.” 

"We should ensure that young people have the information, skills, empowerment and assertiveness to protect themselves against teenage pregnancy and be able to make informed decisions," said the Regional Director.

“For UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, we are a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights agency and our mission and mandate in line with the Sustainable Development Goals to focus on three major areas; Ending preventable maternal deaths, Ending unmet need for family planning and Ending Gender Based Violence and harmful practices like child marriage. All these areas are significant to Lesotho, compounded by the HIV crisis that continues to remain a real health threat to Lesotho.”

She commended the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, saying, “It has been excellent to see how the Government has shown commitment to maternal health and to child health and how it has made specific commitment to young people and to their priorities because we do believe that indeed Africa’s youth population is what will help drive development of our continent, Lesotho included.”

Speaking about health services, she stated, “I have heard an opportunity to see health workers and their compassion and commitment to ensuring proper quality and high performance Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV integration.”

She added, “We have also seen Adolescent Health Corners that allow young people to engage and share their needs. I met two wonderful young people who tried to explain some of the challenges that they face particularly in accessing information but also the whole myths and misconceptions around contraception and therefore why their use is low and sometimes that leads to unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.”

While in Lesotho, Dr Onabanjo also visited the Maputsoe SDA Clinic offering Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV services and Butha-Buthe hospital where she was shown, among others, the Electronic Logistics Management Information System (e-LMIS).