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generation of leaders vital for change
April 19, 2011
It is envisaged
that a new breed of young leaders should act as change agents for
the AIDS response and sexual health of young people, according to
the IPPF Africa regional office, the Restless Development, the Commonwealth
youth program and the UNAIDS Secretariat.
of New Generation Leadership is to advocate effectively for providing
new avenues, opportunities and space for emerging young leaders
including those who are living with HIV, to demand and support efforts
to achieve universal access for HIV prevention, treatment, care
and support as well as achieving broader development goals by 2015.
Leadership is about Youth-led development and development of young
people by young people supported with other partners.
for New Generation Leadership is grounded on the realization that
development planning and programming for young people should not
only be youth focused, but youth led. It must not only be led by
people who purport to act on behalf of young people, but people
with legitimate representation.
There are 1.8
billion young people aged between 10 to 24 worldwide and with an
estimated 5 million young people aged between 15 to 24 years living
with HIV hence they remain at the centre of the AIDS response and
working towards Millennium Development Goals.
The civil society
organizations and UNAIDS say that New Generation Leadership should
be considered as the means for the empowerment of young people driven
and supported by young people, drawing upon their energy, creativity
and skills to create positive change.
They say that
young people can and will be able to act as change agents if they
have the correct and comprehensive information, have the right opportunity
and space for meaningful participation and will be able to adapt
these information into a form that can be easily related to by their
Africa still bears an inordinate share of the global HIV burden,
accounting for 11.3 million people living with HIV in Southern Africa
people in 15 of the most severely affected countries in the region,
incidence of HIV infection declined by more than 25 percent in an
estimated 22 countries as these young people have adopted safer
A myriad of
socio-economic and geo-political factors have emanated with the
advent of HIV that have largely contributed towards the slow attainment
of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in many countries in Sub
Among the key
factors are issues of lost human capital, redirection of national
resources from national development agenda towards addressing the
impact of AIDS, increased costs of health care, increased sexual
and gender based violence especially against young people and women
The MDGs outline
a comprehensive and ambitious plan to end extreme poverty and hunger,
ensure that all boys and girls complete primary school, promote
gender equality, improve the health of children and mothers, reverse
the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and protect the environment.
The ultimate objective of this agreement is to make the world a
better place for all by the year 2015.
It is a fact
that young people are central to the attainment of MDGs, New Generation
Leadership is crucial because it provides a framework and platform
for meaningful youth participation and engagement in decision making
at all levels, governance, service delivery, leadership and management.
said that it was now time to adopt the "No Youth No Change"
attitude and capitalize on the existing youth movement for the AIDS
response by providing space for young people to demand their sexual
rights, services and better age and sex disaggregated data for informed
decision making by advocating with the policy makers and other stakeholders.
efforts have been made towards reducing new HIV infections among
young people and ensuring access to HIV treatment and care and support.
However, very few programs have been notably youth-centred and youth
still getting newly affected by HIV and all indications, however
point to the fact that, given the genuine opportunity to contribute,
young people can and have risen above the challenge and made swift
but sustainable impact.
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