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Part I

Recent global frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Family Planning 2020 promise to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health, family planning, and education on gender equality, including elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls and harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). Meaningful youth participation and increased support for youth-led accountability is essential for these commitments to be achieved.

Half the world’s population is currently under 30 and nine in ten of these young people live in developing countries. Never before has there been such a large generation of young people ready and able to deliver change in their communities. If we are to ensure the policies aimed at changing this are enacted, we must engage and mobilise the enormous potential of the global youth population to make these promises a reality.

In 2018/2019 Restless Development and UNFPA ESARO worked with young people and development stakeholders from across East and Southern Africa to design a framework to better support them and the important work they do, specifically at local and national level where much of the youth-led accountability takes place.

Part II

Informed by the contributions from young people from across East and Southern Africa, we have built a youth-led accountability model aimed at amplifying young voices to better fulfil their sexual reproductive health and rights and achieve greater gender equality in the region.

The model has been developed in response to key recommendations on how to deliver effective youth-led accountability work, as outlined in Part 1, Section 5: ‘How to strengthen youth-led accountability for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Gender Equality,’ and includes a practical step-by-step guide for young people wanting to hold decision makers to account.

A dual-purpose model, it serves to engage young people directly in planning their own accountability projects, while also providing a replicable model for development practitioners and government entities on how to run effective youth-led accountability programmes, as guided by young people themselves.

Part III

This 'unofficial' handbook on youth leadership, participation and accountability is based on feedback from young people and development practitioners who have shared their reflections and experiences from the world of sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender, and HIV & AIDS advocacy. The handbook is dedicated to their triumphs and challenges in the quest to ensure that young people can fully and meaningfully participate in different advocacy spaces.

Each section is packed full of practical advice, helpful tips and tools, and perspectives that will encourage even the most experienced advocates to stop and think about their approaches to advocacy and engaging young people.