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Investing in Youth Leadership

Refresher training of health care workers on intensified hospital based TB case detection activities for Kwaiebibirim and Denkyembour Districts, Ghana. Photo: Rui Pires

Investing in youth as partners and leaders in the development agenda is imperative.  Young people make up approximately 30% of the population in developing countries and continue to expand. Experts estimate that in 2025, there will be 72 million more youth than there were in 2006. Though their environments and access to healthcare and resources are not uniform, the young people of today can use their experiences to influence their peers, communities, and future generations to live healthy lives and contribute to community well-being. Investments in young people do not stop with the individual. The World Bank conducted a study in 2008 that showed that investments in youth go far beyond the individual. When youth are not active participants in their society, it was found that the GDP of their countries declines.

LMG is working with young leaders to help leverage their voices to create change in policies and practices that are barriers to their access of health care, specifically around FP/RH. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Youth Alliance on Family Planning (IYAFP), and collaboration on youth leadership workshops with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), LMG is supporting young people’s leadership potential, capacities, and abilities to create a cadre of young health leaders able to address health issues that directly and uniquely affect them and continue on to have careers impact in the health sector. LMG also has created a “Youth Leader Portal” on LeaderNet that provides a more formal and structured platform for youth leaders from around the world to share leadership and management strategies, challenges, and ideas with each other. LeaderNet also offers an opportunity for youth leaders to interact with over 9,000 LeaderNet members that have established careers in the health sector and regularly participate in seminars and discussions on a wide range of leadership and health topics.

Check out LMG’s youth leadership workshop at the International Conference on Family Planning in November, 2013, and LMG’s upcoming youth leadership workshop at the World Conference on Youth.