Youth Champions Standing Up for Young People’s Issues- Team Up
Imanet Fatumah 26, is a Youth Champion and Youth Empowerment Centre (YEC) leader for Malangala Sub County, Mityana District. She was trained by the Action 4 Health Uganda (A4HU) under TeamUp program on key topics including leadership and governance, advocacy, family planning, HIV prevention and monitoring and reporting.
As a Youth Champion, Imanet actively engages with parents, stakeholders, community leaders, district leaders, and technical teams on issues affecting young people in her community which she notes has led to young people’s inclusion in local and district level decision making processes.
“We are included in the budget planning processes in the sectors of health, agriculture, and water. In all these forums, we engage, monitor and advocate for young people’s increased allocation in SRH, access to finance and safe and clean water,” Imanet said.
“My capacity as a Youth Champion has been strengthened due to the trainings I continuously receive from Action 4 Health Uganda in advocacy (civic engagement), SRH, negotiations, Leadership, and Management,” Imanet said.
As a young person, Imanet knows too well the challenges young people go through to cope with life demands and encourages them to advance and demand for their rights.
“Being a Youth Champion has been a great opportunity for me to engage with other like-minded youth to discuss alongside the decision-makers (leaders) in the sectors on various health and socially related issues affecting young people across the country.”
Adding, “If we don’t stand up to raise issues concerning us as young people, who then will?” Imanet wondered.
Imanet also works to address myths and misconceptions about HIV, family planning services and sexually transmitted infections, and to be a voice for young people’s concerns. And because of this role, she notes that more and more young people are opening up to her and other peers to discuss and share issues affecting them.
“When young people in our area have a challenge, they now find confidence and comfort to open up to the YEC leaders or Youth Champions to help them,” Imanet Fatumah, says.
This community based approach is one of the ways that A4HU through the TeamUp program is helping bridge the information and support gap needed to empower young people to live with dignity.