Youth Volunteerism: Lessons from IPPF’s South Asia Region by Priya Kath

8th May 2017
Priya Kath

Ms. Priya Kath, a vibrant Youth Action Movement (YAM) advocate and representative from IPPF’s South Asia Region (IPPF-SARO) recently attended the IPPF Africa Region Volunteerism and Governance workshop from 27 - 29 March 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop was attended by volunteers and staff from English-speaking Member Associations (MAs) in the IPPF Africa Region, who included; MA Chairpersons, Youth Action Movement (YAM) representatives , Executive Directors (EDs) and MA Governance Focal Point Persons.

Created in 2005, the Youth Action Movement (YAM) is the youth arm of IPPFAR volunteer’s body based within the Member Associations (MAs), which catalyzes youth participation. The YAM plays a key role in identifying priority areas and needs for young people to be fed into the MA plans as well as the regional plans. This process enhances consultation and involvement of the youth. The structure further enables young people to advocate and be recognized, and empower them to be equal partners in programmatic decision making and resource allocation at all levels.

In her presentation to participants, which focused on youth volunteerism, recruitment, engagement and retention, as well as youth – adult transition in IPPF, Ms. Kath, highlighted the importance of volunteerism among young people in various development causes, more so those touching on the sexual reproductive health and rights of young people.

“The experience gained from the various opportunities one is exposed to as a youth volunteer is invaluable. For example, they are able to attend various national and international health forums where their knowledge on SRHR is increased. As YAM volunteers, they are also able to network with other like-minded individuals and organizations. At a personal level, the IPPF experience has built my capacity as a youth SRHR advocate immensely,” she said.


Ms. Kath also lauded the Federation for its enviable practice of including young people in its governance and leadership structures.

“Youth are involved in decision-making levels at the Member Associations, and are also eligible to become SARYN members. Two representatives from each MA (20%) makes 18 SARYN members. Elected members are also able to represent youth at the top echelons of management; the Regional Executive Committee (EXCO) and Governing Council (GC).”

Sharing her own experiences, Ms. Kath said she joined the movement as a youth volunteer eight years ago at the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), where she then went on to be elected as a Youth Representative for IPPF’s South Asia Region (SARO). Ms. Kath currently serves as the alternate youth representative at the Governing Council. Being above 25 years, Ms. Kath has further been elected to a higher position, where she serves as an adult volunteer in the SARO Board.

She encouraged young people from Africa to join the Youth Africa Movement in their local Member Associations, for purposes of gaining the wide range of benefits that come with this and also to continue contributing to the IPPF goals and objective in support of the marginalized and vulnerable in our society.

Story by Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, IPPF Africa Region.

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