On a mission: Youth For Change at the first African Girl Summit

Youth For Change have spent the last few days in Lukasa, Zambia, at the first African Girl Summit. They've been working tirelessly to advocate youth involvement and demonstrate the added value young people bring to the fight to end child marriage & female genital mutilation (FGM). Hirut from Youth For Change Ethiopia reflects on their achievements...

As we prepared for the first African Girl Summit, to be hosted by Zambia from November 27-28 2015, little did we know what the days would have lined up for us. As youth advocates our objective was to make sure that our voices and concerns were heard by decision makers at the international, national and community level.

Panelists at the 'Voices of Youth' side event

Panelists at the 'Voices of Youth' side event

Youth For Change visit DFID Zambia project

Youth For Change visit DFID Zambia project

To do this we needed to guarantee space and platforms to speak up, and also undertake the tiring work of chasing down influential people and making sure that they understand the importance of involving young people to end child and early forced marriage, FGM and other harmful traditional practices (HTPs).

We had so many people approaching us to applaud what we do, and emphasise the need to scale Youth For Change to other geographies.
The Voices of Youth Side event at #AGS2015

The Voices of Youth Side event at #AGS2015

When I sit and think what we have done in the last 5 days, I can’t help but smile on how much we’ve accomplished. As Youth For Change, we’ve had the opportunity to tell our stories, both on and off-stage. We met with potential partners (INGOs, ministers and youth organization) that are eager to work with us. We had so many people approaching us to applaud what we do, and emphasise the need to scale Youth For Change to other geographies.

But I think the highlight of this summit for me was today. At the ‘Voices of Youth’ side-event, young activists lit a fire in the room when we boldly requested our involvement in the issues that affect our lives.

Our very own panellist Kiram made a compelling speech on how he has been, and will always be an advocate for the gender equality, using his skills in media to end child marriage & FGM.

After a huge round of applause, individuals and organizations pledged their commitment to include and engage young people in their programmes. Young people in the room also pledged to work with their communities to put an end to HTPs and raise their voice to inequality

The session ended with an amazing performance from Sista Fa that got everyone off their chairs and on to the stage - it was a fantastic end to a fantastic week of youth empowerment.

As Youth For Change, we leave Zambia even more motivated to continue fighting against child marriage & FGM, and supporting young people to take a leading role in changing the world.

See more of the action from the African Girl Summit on social media under the hashtag #AGS2015.

Catch up on all of our blogs from #AGS2015 here.