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  • Take the lead and own the ESA Commitment as a key joint platform for addressing the needs of young people, supported closely by the RECs, COMESA, EAC and SADC.

  • Prioritize increased access to CSE and SRH services for all girls and boys – in and out of school, regardless of marital or pregnancy status – to address the disturbingly low HIV and AIDS knowledge levels among young people and the challenges they still face in accessing SRH services.

  • Recognize the strategic significance of working across sectors (education, health gender, justice, and youth) to support joint action, while increasing domestic financing for young people’s SRH programmes.

  • Invest in programmes that encourage girls to remain in school; ensure that schools are safe and equitable places for learning; support access to SRH services for young people; enforce legislation to eliminate child marriage; strengthen child protection systems, with an emphasis on legal reform; and strengthen norms and standards that eliminate discrimination based on gender.

  • Prioritize filling the gaps in knowledge and evidence around adolescents’ and young people’s health, education and rights. To ensure that interventions and resources are well targeted, there is a need to strengthen data collection mechanisms at all levels, while that data is definitely dis-aggregated by sex, age economics status, and geographical location.

  • Continue working together towards a common vision of a young African, a global citizen, who is empowered, educated, healthy, resilient, and socially responsible – an autonomous decision-maker who has the capacity to reach their full potential and contribute to the development of their community, country, and the region.

Young People

  • The ESA Commitment belongs to young people. It is critical that the most marginalized and vulnerable are factored into relevant policies and programming related to their health.

  • Programmers and other stakeholders should consider young people as a heterogeneous group with different needs and situations which are taken into account in programming.

  • There is a need to bring to light the changing realities of young people and work with key stakeholders to eliminate barriers to access SRH and HIV services at all levels.

  • There is a need to innovate around the use of different and relevant forms of media (both traditional and digital) to ensure diverse groups of young people are sufficiently connected and continue to be engaged with in the policy-making processes that impact on their lives.

  • New and effective mechanisms need to be found to reach young key populations and marginalized adolescents, for example: those who are living in extreme poverty, married at a young age, sell sex for economic survival, or living with disabilities.

Development Partners and Other Stakeholders

  • Harmonize and coordinate existing programmes targeting young people, such as DREAMS, All In!, and the ESA Commitment to ensure better alignment and more efficient use of resources.

  • Support communities and civil society, including youth-led organizations, to ensure increased access to good quality CSE delivered by well trained teachers and mentors.

  • Support programmes to protect adolescent girls’ rights, in particular delaying age at marriage and childbearing and empowering the most marginalized girls to negotiate the use of contraceptives, including condoms for dual protection against HIV.

  • Support HIV programmes that engage men in identifying ways to reduce violence and empower women.


  • Develop creative strategies for working ‘with’ and ‘through’ i.e. working with young people to reach their parents; partnership and engagement with religious leaders for programmes; and engaging in dialogue around key religious principles.

  • Develop and implement programmes that encourage communities to promote the delay of marriage and pregnancy, including by addressing cultural barriers, traditional laws, and other actions that promote early marriage and pregnancy.

  • Mobilize communities to promote egalitarian gender norms, engage men and boys, and end gender-based, sexual, and intimate partner violence.

  • Empower parents and guardians to talk to young people about sexuality, their responsibilities, and their rights as early as possible using accurate and appropriate language that they can understand.

  • Engage religious and traditional leaders so that they are supportive of all young people, accessing good quality CSE and SRH services.

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