The Global Financing Facility (GFF) was launched in 2015 with the goal of improving sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition (SRMNCAH-N) in 36 low- and lower-middle-income countries. To achieve this goal, the GFF supports the development and implementation of national health plans by providing technical assistance and catalytic financing to participating governments that respond to country-led investment cases that mobilize domestic resources. The GFF also funds civil society organizations (CSOs) to engage with their governments and other stakeholders to ensure that the needs of women, children, adolescents and marginalized groups are addressed, and to support and monitor the government’s implementation of the national plans.
The Importance of Youth Participation
Youth constitute a large proportion of the population in many countries where the GFF provides support. Seventy percent of the population in both Nigeria — Africa’s most populous country — and Côte d’Ivoire, is below age 30. Given the impact these massive youth bulges have on health systems, it is essential that youth are recognized as key stakeholders and directly participate in the development and implementation of health plans and investment cases.
Establishing the Global Youth Platform
In 2021, with the support of the GFF NGO Host at PAI, youth from across Africa worked together to lay the foundation for the Global Youth Platform (GYP) — a structure for coordinating youth in global- and national-level GFF processes. Two co-chairs — one Anglophone and one Francophone — were elected and tasked with operationalizing the platform and leading it to achieve its objectives. The GFF NGO Host at PAI provided a catalytic grant to Association de Soutien à l’Autopromotion Sanitaire Urbaine (ASAPSU), the Francophone chair, to facilitate the development of a platform strategy, create resources to enhance knowledge of the GFF’s SRMNCAH-N processes and build the capacity of youth advocates.
To improve the advocacy and social accountability technical capacity of youth-led organizations (YLOs) in GFF-supported countries, the GYP and ASAPSU organized a two-day capacity strengthening workshop for Francophone YLOs. Held online and in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on June 29 and 30, this workshop provided youth organizations and advocates with the knowledge and tools to access GFF funding and maximize their impact in their communities. The workshop focused on:
- Building an understanding of the opportunities and tools available for improving the capacity of YLOs and CSOs in GFF countries. (Day 1)
- Engaging young people in monitoring the investment case’s key indicators on adolescents’ and young people’s sexual and reproductive health needs in order to lead social mobilization and accountability efforts. (Day 2)
By strengthening their understanding of the GFF, its tools, opportunities, resources and how it can help them in their daily work, the workshop focused on enabling youth organizations to develop stronger project proposals, mobilize resources and implement effective interventions in the fields of health and nutrition.
The workshop also served as a platform for collaboration and exchange among YLOs across Francophone Africa. All workshop activities promoted networking and the sharing of experiences and best practices to strengthen the collective capacity of youth organizations to influence health and nutrition policies and promote sustainable solutions to improve the health and nutrition of women, children, adolescents and young people.
The meeting was attended by YLO representatives from across the continent, including Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. La Fédération Nationale des Organisations de Santé de Côte d’Ivoire (FENOSCI) represented more than 300 CSOs working on health in Côte d’Ivoire in person, while the GFF Liaison Officers for Mauritania attended the workshop virtually.
After the workshop, participating YLOs identified supporting the GFF’s Deliver the Future resource mobilization campaign as a key follow-up activity. To achieve its goal of mobilizing an additional $800 million, the GFF needs all stakeholders — including youth leaders and advocates — to make the investment case and ensure sustained support for their work.
In the coming weeks, the GYP will produce, release and share videos from the GYP’s YLO and CSO members showcasing the impact of their work to support the Deliver the Future campaign, disseminate a workshop report and produce and publish its first-ever annual report.