Today, IPPF Africa Region joins fellow pan-Africans in celebrating the ‘Africa Day’. This is a day marked on 25 May each year to commemorate the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which later became the African Union. The day provides an opportunity to recite the political and socio-economic achievements of African governments and African citizens.
This year’s theme is dubbed: Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want. According to the African Union, ‘The purpose of commemorating Africa Day with the youths is to serve as a platform for showcasing Africa’s talent through the arts, culture, heritage, innovation and entrepreneurship, while at the same time making available the space for networking among the youths and invited stakeholders.’
The IPPF Africa Region has a vibrant youth volunteer network known as the Youth Action Movement (YAM), whose activities include creating awareness on sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) information and services to their peers. Among the key approaches they use to do so is through music, art, song, dance, poetry, skits and other such performances, which are popular among young people. The YAM members creatively blend in SRHR messages within their performances, which help their peers easily understand important information being shared. Often, this leads to an uptake in young people’s access to youth-friendly centers in the IPPF Member Associations in their countries, from where they get more information and services pertaining to their sexual and reproductive health.
Notably, this year’s commemoration, just like last year, comes amidst the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, and which has led to loss of lives over the world, including in Africa. However, unlike last year, this year’s Africa Day celebrations come at a time when there is hope, owing to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is purposed to significantly reduce people’s adverse effects to coronavirus. Many African governments have demonstrated great efforts in ensuring as many of their citizens receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
On this day, we celebrate the various strides that African governments have made in developing and implementing policies geared towards the improvement of the livelihoods, health and well-being of the African people.