Hassan Mkema, a 22-year-old student in Economics at Zanzibar University, recently had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion at the MenEngage Africa SRHR Symposium. In an engaging session, he shared his personal journey as a young advocate dedicated to advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). With unwavering determination, Hassan reaffirmed his commitment to fostering a healthier, more informed future for everyone, with a particular focus on the well-being of young individuals.
"I would like to share with you my journey to becoming a champion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). It all began when I was chosen as an O3 Ambassador for UNESCO's 'Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future' programme.
You see, I had this burning desire to make a positive impact on my community, especially in Zanzibar. I am committed to improving the well-being of young people, and the O3 Ambassador opportunity was my golden ticket.
The project opened doors for me that I never knew existed. It provided me with knowledge, skills, and resources to truly make a difference in the lives of young people like me. Here's how my journey unfolded:
First, I delved into Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). The O3 Project gave me the tools to understand SRHR thoroughly, and I absorbed this knowledge like a sponge. It was like a lightbulb moment for me.
The project also empowered me and instilled a sense of personal responsibility for my own health and the health of those around me. I decided to take it upon myself to protect my health and actively encourage others to do the same.
One of my biggest achievements is to using social media to advocate for SRHR. I turned platforms like Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp into a force for change. I provide clear, concise, and engaging information, which drew the interest of many young people who wanted to understand and discuss these critical topics.
Reducing stigma and discrimination became another focus. I am able to break down stereotypes and share positive examples, creating a more understanding and accepting environment for gender and identity diversity.
On various online platforms, I actively participate in open dialogue and shared my experiences. Through comments and thoughtful questions, I ensured that meaningful conversations were taking place.
My journey is far from over. I dream of achieving good health, furthering my education and career opportunities, fostering fulfilling relationships, and making a lasting, positive contribution to my society. The knowledge and empowerment I've gained through my journey as an O3 Ambassador give me the confidence that I'm on the right path to realizing these dreams while making a lasting impact on the world of SRHR.
So, that's my story – a journey from a young individual with a passion for change to a champion of SRHR. I'm here to encourage you to take charge of your own path, learn, advocate, and make a difference in your community, just as I have. Together, we can create a healthier, more informed future for all young people."
Learn more :
Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future' programme https://www.unesco.org/en/health-education/o3-programme