The 4th edition of the Southern African Region Students’ Youth Consortium (SARSYC) conference slated for the 24th to the 26th of August 2022 will be held in Malawi under the theme: “Re-shaping, Re-planning, Re-committing to the Youth Agenda in Southern Africa.
This year’s theme calls for governments, development partners and all stakeholders to seriously introspect on commitments made towards safeguarding the aspirations of the young people in their respective countries. There are several regional and international commitments that members’ states pledged to safeguard young people socio-economic interests including access to basic education under the Sustainable Development Goal number four (4) as well as health services for the youths. In the wake of Covid-19, among other emerging health challenges, young people’s access to educational and health services has been negatively impacted on a large scale. Schools were at one point closed forcing authorities to introduce the online education system which was by and large discriminatory especially for rural learners.
Accessing public health services have been a difficult experience for the young people due to the advent of Covid-19 hence, the call for re-shaping, re-planning, and re-committing to young people’s interests.
The economic hardships young people experience in the SADC region continues to impact their access to both education and health services. The conference is therefore aiming to persuade governments and development partners to take stock of the commitments they made towards safeguarding the interests of the young people and revise strategies and mechanism to suit 21st century demands.
The conference l further aims to evaluate the regional policy frameworks for purposes of advocating for refined and revised policies to meet young people’s today aspirations. The conference is providing a chance for governments, UN agencies, youth-serving civil society organizations, and other development partners to raise awareness about current provisions, strategies, and action plans concentrating on young people’s health, education, and well-being in Southern Africa.
The Consortium noticed a decline in meaningful engagement with regional policy frameworks aimed at addressing the SRHR and educational requirements of young people, hence the platform addressed this gap. A decline in engagement has a negative impact on SADC SRHR Strategy, SADC Youth Protocol, East and Southern Africa Ministerial Commitment on Education, Health, and Wellbeing of Adolescents and Young People, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Therefore, there is need to re-plan and reorient stakeholders and governments to take on board young people’s aspirations particularly in health and education. SARSYC has grown beyond being just a young people’s platform of engagement alone but to a movement of think tanks rationally holding governments to account. SARSYC therefore aims to build result oriented and responsive networks that serve young people’s agenda.