News

Seeding Empowered Future Generations through “Youth Hubs”

28 August 2017
23 year old Sarah Mubanga [R] leads HIV information dissemination in rural Zambia. “The hub to me is more than a place of work, it’s a family that inspires me and encourages me to do more for my community” says Sarah, who regularly visits the hub. Photo: Global Platform Zambia

The hub to me is more than a place of work, it’s a family that inspires me and encourages me to do more for my community

Growing up, Sarah aspired to make a positive contribution to her community. Today, as a member of a Youth Hub established in Zambia as part of 10 Global Platforms worldwide, she is realizing this ambition.

“The hub to me is more than a place of work, it’s a family that inspires me and encourages me to do more for my community” says Sarah, who regularly visits the hub.

In late 2016, UNFPA entered into partnership with the Action Aid Global Platform Zambia, hosting a Youth Hub in Lusaka, with the aim of building social and economic assets of youth, especially adolescent girls', and to subsequently empower them with opportunities and platforms to demonstrate effective participation in national and regional development processes.

Underscoring contributions towards fulfilling young people’s potentials, Country Manager Maggie Thomas highlights that “Global Platforms are a worldwide network of locally managed, vibrant youth hubs offering a physical space for youth to meet, discuss and campaign together. Our mandate aims at equipping Zambian youth with the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to drive social, political and economic change”, she says.

And highlighting the significance of investing in young people’s health and development at the launch of the Youth Hub, UNFPA Zambia Representative Dr. Mary Otieno underscored that “young people are powerful agents of change when they are educated and empowered to participate in decision-making”.

A unique solution for youth empowerment

The Youth Hub is a very supportive space with programs that always teach and challenge you to make the most of your youthfulness, to positively impact your community and country at large!

Young people in Zambia, like many others in developing countries, continue to face diverse development challenges that limit their future potentials, including limited access to skills building opportunities; sexual and reproductive health information and services; civic engagement, participation and inclusion opportunities, among others.

As a platform that provides capacity development; youth interaction around sexual and reproductive health and other civic related issues; as well as a space to freely discuss and cross-pollinate ideas while linking with other platforms across the globe, the Youth Hub has become a very popular hang-out for many young people in Lusaka.

 “It is a very supportive space with programs that always teach and challenge you to make the most of your youthfulness, to positively impact your community and country at large!” says Gerry Sikazwe who is among over 2,000 young people who have visited the hub.

Recognizing the opportunity presented through Youth Hubs to advance youth empowerment in line with the East and Southern Africa Regional Safeguard Young People Programme (SYP), UNFPA Zambia continues to sustain and expand its partnership with Action Aid Youth Hub.

Potential for scaling up innovative youth-led social change

Since its launch in 2016, the successful establishment of an active hub for young people has facilitated over 40 trainings for more than 1,200 youths and mobilized more than 392,000 young people through online and offline outreach activities.

UNFPA and Action Aid have seen the increase in participation turn into impact through empowered youth activism for social change. Youth engaged through the hub are now able to debate sexual reproductive health and governance issues through youth dialogue, Men chats and Feminist Fridays to mention but a few.

The youth hub has been recognized and used by the UN Youth Partnership Platform in Zambia, Government institutions including the Ministry of Youth and international organizations as a safe place for youth empowerment activities in Lusaka and strengthening youth engagement in the country.

As part of the Safeguard Young People Regional Programme and within its 8th Country Programme of Cooperation with the Government of Zambia, UNFPA Zambia continues to pilot innovative, evidence-based and youth-led initiatives aimed at supporting ongoing national efforts to fulfill the future potentials of young people in Zambia, towards the achievement of Zambia’s vision 2030 and SDGs in Zambia.