In honor of International Youth Day (IYD), the “Ivorian Youth Voices on Contraception” project has been officially launched with the support of Bayer HealthCare country office in Côte d’Ivoire. During a panel entitled “Youth panel on family planning and dividend demographic” organized to commemorate IYD, the project was officially introduced to young people and local partners.

The panel was attended by the Ministry of Health, the National Office of Population, UNFPA, representatives from civil society organizations, and young people. The panel created an opportunity to call for young people’s civic engagement, particularly in contraception, and to advocate for meaningful youth participation in family planning programs. The project’s objectives, activities, and expected outcomes were presented to stakeholders in order to encourage young people to participate through sharing of their experiences, opinions, and the change they want to see in their community as they related to sexual health and contraception. The project will consist of collecting videos, photos, and messages about sexual and reproductive health and contraception. I will run from August to October 2015 in Côte d’Ivoire and West and Central Africa. These material will be used to create film and catalogue that will be shared on the project website.

I call on fellow young people to tell me their thoughts and add their voices to the advocacy efforts aimed at ensuring access to contraception services and commodities for adolescents and young people through this survey. Even in this early stage of the project, young people have responded and have much to say. As one young woman said, “For me, youth engagement and promotion of contraception methods for young people can improve our personal development.”

Prior to the IYD event, I had promoted the WCD Ambassadors Project through social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook. Now that the official website has launched, I hope word of this project spreads and I hear many more strong youth voices.

About World Contraception Day:

In support of World Contraception Day and Women Deliver’s Young Leaders Program, Women Deliver and Bayer will work in partnership on a three-year World Contraception Day (WCD) Ambassadors Project. The project equips young people with the skills they need to collect and share digital stories about young people’s SRHR and access to contraception in their home countries. The project includes a storytelling and digital media training, a seed grant, and advocacy opportunities for the Ambassadors to showcase their work at the international level.