20-year-old Hayathe Ayeva is the President of the Youth Action Movement (YAM) of the Togolese Association for Family Welfare (ATBEF) -the Member Association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in the country. A college student who is passionate about communication and writing, Hayathe has won several public speaking competitions. She identifies herself as ‘a proud social activist, woman defender of Human Rights, committed to the Sexual and Reproductive Health of adolescents and young people’.
Hayathe is passionate about leadership, and has held various leadership roles in her community since the age of 10. Before joining the YAM at the age of 12 years, she was a member of several associations including the Light Club of Plan International Togo, the German Club, the theatre group and the UNESCO Club at her school, where she was also the founding president of the Anti-AIDS Club.
As part of YAM’s activities, Hayathe works with her peers to support ATBEF's advocacy work on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) issues, especially among the youth. According to Hayathe, the main health SRHR challenges facing young people in Togo include prohibitive traditions that consider sexuality issues as taboo, the lack of spaces dedicated to youth activities, long distances to youth-friendly service centers, and difficult access to SRHR information including family planning.
To address some of these challenges, ATBEF supports young people by availing their premises for YAM activities. In these youth-friendly centers, they can access various documents and services. Hayathe is very active in ATBEF's activities.
"I have participated in several ATBEF campaigns and projects where I have raised SRHR awareness targeting young people on social media platforms through my pages. I was also involved in the development of the novel mobile application ‘InfoAdoJeune’, a platform that helps young people access credible information on Sexual and Reproductive Health during the COVID-19 period.
Hayathe is also part of the implementation team for the project on "Effective youth involvement in the mid-term review, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of TOGO's 2017-2022 National Budgeted Action Plan for Reproductive Health/Family Planning (PANB)”.
As a young female leader and SRHR champion, Hayathe faces various challenges, more so those related to social and financial support.
"To address these challenges, I try to increase everyone's understanding of the value of my involvement. For activities that require costs, I try to manage with my own money and those of my relatives because I am committed to serving my community without expecting anything in return.”
Despite women's involvement in all sectors around the world, Hayathe notes several obstacles to women's access to leadership positions.
“They include society’s view that tends to place men above women -and the resultant women's lack of self-confidence, forced marriages and early pregnancies, family and marital responsibilities that impede them from fully pursuing their ambitions.“
To overcome these obstacles, Hayathe believes that "governments must promote gender equality and appoint more women to positions of responsibility. This will ensure they are represented at all levels and in organizational structures. More honor should be accorded to women in order to encourage others to cultivate the culture of excellence.”
Hayathe's primary motivation for women's leadership is to uplift the voice of voiceless youth, to reach out to vulnerable and marginalized populations, and to share quality sexual and reproductive health information.
"I am proud of the positive impact of my actions on young people in my community, which I note through their encouragement and suggestions,” she concludes.
Read this article in French here.
Hayathe on social networks:
Facebook: Hayathe AYEVA
Facebook page (personal blog): Hayathe AYEVA