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Meet the Young Future-Planners of West Africa

Romaric a youth ambassador

Romaric Ouitona, president of Youth Ambassadors in Benin, speaks to his peers at a youth center that offers family planning services and education in Dangbo, Benin. Photo by Trevor Snapp for IntraHealth International.

They’re informed, determined, and looking ahead for the good of their peers—and their countries. 

They want to help girls stay in school. To take control of their own futures. To make sure other young people don’t make the same mistakes or have to live the same nightmares they did.

There are a lot of reasons why almost 100 young activists from across West Africa have become family planning youth ambassadors, but they all have something in common: they’re part of the biggest generation of young people in human history. And they know that having a healthy, prosperous future means they need to start planning now.

What makes West Africa’s family planning youth ambassadors tick? They told us.

These ambassadors are trained to lead family planning and reproductive health advocacy campaigns across the nine francophone West African countries that make up the Ouagadougou Partnership, a coalition that’s working to give 2.2 million more people in the region access to family planning by 2020. They reach out to school-aged kids and young adults, and advocate to their countries’ decision-makers to make their priorities heard.

And they’re shaping their countries’ futures in the process.

Intrigued? So were we. We wanted to know what makes West Africa’s family planning youth ambassadors tick. And they told us.

Say hello to:

Want to meet more trailblazers like these? Stay tuned to our Future Planners series—and meet more of the people behind health care—on IntraHealth’s Picture It. And join the conversation on International #YouthDay, August 12, 2017.

IntraHealth International’s CS4FP Plus project engages young people across the nine francophone West Africa Ouagadougou Partnership countries as Family Planning Youth Ambassadors. So far, it’s trained 92 youth ambassadors. The CS4FP Plus initiative is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Dutch Embassy. And IntraHealth International serves as the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit primarily funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Abou Maimouna Diallo, future planner

"Being a youth ambassador has changed my life," Abou Diallo says. "I’ve become more and more the person I dream of being. Young people and adults come to me now for information on reproductive health and family planning." Photo courtesy of Abou Diallo.

Nina Kone, future planner

Fatouma Nina Koné shares information with young people in Burkina Faso about different contraceptive methods during debates over tea, shows on stage, and awareness-raising sessions in schools. Photo courtesy of Nina Koné.

Romaric Ouitona, future planner

“I’ve learned so much about how associations in my country work, and about leadership,” Romaric Ouitona says. Photo courtesy of Romaric Ouitona.

Aoussi Yandi, future planner

Aoussi Yandi is proud that girls come to her for advice on contraception, and that she's seeing fewer pregnancies in schools. “The future is us,” she says. “To be a leader tomorrow, we must protect certain things." Photo courtesy of Aoussi Yandi.

Ibrahim Kané, future planner

“I became a youth ambassador to help girls in my country continue their studies,” Ibrahim Kané says. “I want family planning to be applied everywhere.” Photo courtesy of Ibrahim Kané.