In commemoration of International Youth Day, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s (GHAI) latest episode of Advocacy in Action celebrated youth advocates around the world who are working to build a healthier future.
We were honored to speak with:
- Rukaya Alrubaye, National Youth Ambassador for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
- Jasmina Čekrić, project manager at PROI in Bosnia and Herzegovina and tobacco control advocate
- Sana’a Khasawneh, project manager at YOURS (Youth for Road Safety) and ambassador for the European Year for Youth 2022
- Priscilla Asamani, Convener of the Youth Sub-Platform on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s in Ghana
This year’s International Youth Day highlighted intergenerational solidarity. Advocacy in Action host Mena El-Turky asked guests what youth advocates need and want from older advocates and political decision-makers. In short, trust and opportunity are essential to youth advocacy. Young people can be highly effective advocates, but they must have an accessible entry point to do so and be meaningfully involved in the policymaking and implementation process.
Rukaya’s Alrubaye’s advocacy journey began with a volunteer opportunity in high school. Since taking that first step, she has gained a wealth of advocacy experience, connections with other advocates, and “more insight into my life and the power of using my voice.”
Jasmina Čekrić uses her voice to uplift other youth advocates. In her experience, youth advocates have had to struggle to be acknowledged, and as a result she has learned to mentor other youth advocates, “I’m guided by 4 principles: listening, offering guidance, providing tools and resources, and leading by example.”
Sana’a Khasawneh brought up the need to strengthen the capacity of youth advocates, as they will step into leadership roles and need to be prepared. Building sustainable youth engagement in policy processes requires treating young advocates as legitimate stakeholders whose opinions are genuinely valued. This also means including young people in every policy area.
Priscilla Asamani touched on the interest youth advocates in Ghana have for budget accountability. Tracking the flow of government funds is an issue that affects all of government. Youth advocacy is critical for every policy area, as even issues that are not considered a typical “young person’s issue” eventually affect the entire population.
Youth advocates around the world and across policy areas are leading the way to a healthier future. We stand proudly alongside them.
Listen to the full episode of Advocacy in Action here and follow us on Twitter to be notified of upcoming episodes.