Presidency of South Africa develops commitment for adolescents
The FIA Foundation has led advocacy aiming to secure political commitment on priorities for adolescents, which has resulted in support from the Presidency of South Africa.
The Foundation has been collaborating with South African partners and youth leaders to support and coordinate the development of a national commitment on adolescent well-being and youth SDG priorities.
The partners had been working with a range of Ministries and national agencies including the National Department of Health, the Department of Basic Education, Department of Social Development, Department for Women Youth and Persons with Disabilities and the National Youth Development Agency.
Key priorities to be included in a national commitment had been identified including adolescent health services, sexual reproductive health, action on gender based violence, HIV-AIDS, youth employment and road safety.
On 4 August 2023, following intensive work to coordinate with government departments over several months, the Presidency of South Africa agreed to finalise the commitment, with the objective of launching it at the SDG Summit at the UN in September.
Major partners that had been engaging with the South African Government together with the FIA Foundation, include the SRHR Africa Trust, UNFPA South Africa, and the Accelerate Hub – a joint initiative of Oxford and Cape Town Universities focused on adolescent SDG priorities.
FIA Foundation Deputy Director Avi Silverman participated in the South African Presidency’s planning session for the national commitment. He said: “We had aimed to get support at the highest level of government for this commitment which is hoped to strengthen and accelerate action on major priorities for adolescents and young people. After intensive work in South Africa this year, what we now have is a hugely significant step forward from the Office of the President. We are looking forward to continuing the work with the Presidency towards the SDG Summit in September and the Global Forum for Adolescents which follows it.”
The commitment is part of the 1.8 Billion campaign for adolescent well-being coordinated by the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) hosted at WHO. Levi Singh, youth leader and coordinator of the SRHR Africa Trust and member of the PMNCH Adolescent and Youth Constituency has been leading the development of the commitment, working closely with the South African government.
Also taking part in the Presidency meetings was the FIA Foundation’s partner ChildSafe South Africa. With support from the FIA Foundation, and in collaboration with UNICEF and AA South Africa, ChildSafe has been implementing programmes in South Africa addressing road traffic injury which is a leading health burden for adolescents and young people in the country. ChildSafe CEO Zaitoon Rabaney gave powerful testimony to the Presidency on the impact of road traffic injury on young people, and the need for safe road infrastructure particularly in the poorest communities.