The African Union (AU), through the Department of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (ESTI), in collaboration with UNESCO, IPPF, UNFPA, and WHO, launched and broadcasted the Continental Strategy on Education for Health and Well-being of Young People during the Global Forum for Adolescents led by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health on 11th October 2023. The forum is the largest-ever gathering focused on adolescent well-being and is expected to engage over 1 million young people in 2023. The groundbreaking Continental Strategy addresses Africa's adolescents' and young people's critical education and health needs.
The AU EHW Strategy aims to enhance the physical, mental, and reproductive health of young people while contributing to the achievement of education goals. By recognizing the profound connection between health and education, this strategy provides a solid framework for African nations. It ensures that young people not only gain vital knowledge but also acquire life skills, values, attitudes, and agency necessary for improved health, well-being, and learning.
The EHW Strategy holds immense importance for adolescents and young people in Africa, as it encompasses a holistic approach to their well-being. Recognizing the connection between health and education, the strategy addresses pressing health challenges, such as drug and substance use; malnutrition, infectious disease; early pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, and gender-based violence, which hinder both the health and educational prospects of Africa's adolescents and young people.
The AU EHW Strategy represents an opportunity to build a more cohesive approach to health promotion that strengthens priorities and builds on policies and commitments already in place across member states. The strategy places a strong emphasis on youth engagement, empowering them not only with knowledge but also with the tools to make healthy choices.
It aligns seamlessly with the AU's broader Agenda 2063, envisioning a prosperous and peaceful Africa with a strong focus on education, health, and the well-being of all citizens. It also aligns with existing international commitments such as the Eastern and Southern Africa Ministerial Commitment (ESA Commitment) and the West and Central Africa Commitment for Educated, Healthy and Thriving Adolescents and Young People (WCA Commitment).
By educating today's young people, the strategy lays the foundation for nurturing informed, empowered, and resilient future leaders who will drive Africa's progress. The strategy has garnered a unified commitment from Member States, regional bodies, civil society, and various stakeholders, essential for successful implementation. Together they rallied to support the AU EHW Strategy for a healthier, more prosperous future for Africa's youth.
For further information:
• View the launch video
• Read the Continental Strategy on Education for Health and Well-being of Young People in Africa