Break Free! – Young people advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights
Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) cannot be missed in the healthy development of young people. But many young people have to find their way without the right information and facilities. In addition, girls in particular are confronted with harmful gender norms and customs that prevent them from having a say in important decisions in their lives. It Break Free! program aims to strengthen youth SRHR and promote gender equality in nine African countries, with the aim of combating child marriage and teenage pregnancy.
Break Free! is a five-year program (2021-2025) implement by FAWE, Plan International and SRHR Africa Trust (SAT) , in strategic partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We also work closely with the Zimbabwean organization Rozaria Memorial Trust and the KIT Royal Tropical Institute. The program is being implemented in nine African countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Sudan and Zambia. With the help of locally based civil society organizations and youth groups, we are committed to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.
Cooperation with African partners and young people
It Break Free! program is a collaboration between the internationally operating Plan International and the African organizations SAT and FAWE. These three organizations together form the Break Free! consortium, which jointly developed and implemented the program.
Youth participation is also central to the Break Free! program. It is the young people who, with the support of civil society organisations, set their own goals. In the countries where Break Free! When implemented, sexual and reproductive health care is often very limited and health professionals and teachers struggle to talk about sexuality. There is also a lack of the necessary facilities; for example, contraceptives are often difficult to obtain. In addition, poverty, weak legislation and poor implementation have an impact on the health and rights of young people. Via Break Free!youth activists organize activities aimed at improving sexual and reproductive health care, education for girls and the implementation of effective legislation.
Three objectives of Break Free!
The program supports young people and civil society organizations to better organize themselves, to speak out and to participate in influencing legislation and decision-making processes.
The three main objectives of the program are:
- Strengthening SRHR of young people. This means that young people are provided with correct information about SRHR and that they can make use of suitable facilities and health care services ;
- Promoting better decision-making and effective implementation of laws and policies that meet the needs of young people;
- And provide good and safe education for girls at risk of child marriage and teenage pregnancy. The longer a girl stays in school, the less likely she is to marry before age 18 and have children during her teenage years.
- A social movement . We support (in creating) a network of advocates and the mobilization of young people, civil society organisations, religious or civic leaders and authorities. By joining forces, we can lobby more effectively on a larger scale, from local to international level.
- Lobbying and information campaigns. Young people campaign to promote positive change in gender equality, girls’ education and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The young people themselves indicate what they want to campaign about and what their needs are.
- Strengthen civil society organizations in lobbying and advocacy skills, policy, legislative processes and accountability mechanisms.
- Access to policy makers We put young people and civil society organizations in direct contact with policy makers and agencies at local, national and international levels, including the Regional Economic Communities and the African Union.
- Research into SRHR-related issues. The research results serve as supporting material for lobbying and information campaigns and actions.
- Stimulate the exchange of knowledge. We can increase the impact of the program by exchanging knowledge with the various organizations.