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SIT, Kosovo – Empowering Youth for a Healthier Future

We firmly believe that everyone has the fundamental right to lead a free and fulfilling sexual and reproductive life. Our mission is centred around ensuring that individuals, regardless of their social background, have access to accurate information and comprehensive health services, empowering them to make informed choices regarding their sexual and reproductive health. To achieve this, we are dedicated to breaking down the barriers that hinder young people from obtaining the necessary services and information they deserve. Through our advocacy efforts and the collaboration of our team of passionate youth activists, we strive to create a world where everyone’s sexual and reproductive rights are respected. 

A concrete example of our commitment to this cause was the regional meeting held in Tirana, Albania. The event brought together young advocates, members, and partners of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) under the initiative known as “Youth Voices, Youth Choices.” Participants from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and our team from Kosovo joined forces to address the pressing issues surrounding sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the region. With a primary focus on advocacy and campaigning, the gathering aimed to collaboratively envision a post-COVID-19 future that prioritises the well-being of youth in the Western Balkans. The meeting provided a platform for young people from the Western Balkans to amplify their voices, demanding improved access to care and education related to SRHR. Productive discussions took place, involving various stakeholders such as representatives from the Ministry of Health, SRHR field experts, and civil society organisations from Kosovo. These discussions revolved around identifying policies and practices that can strengthen health systems and foster better SRHR outcomes. 

A significant highlight of the event was the engagement with representatives of the Albanian Assembly. Young participants had the opportunity to emphasise the need for enhanced SRHR services and information, underscoring the importance of comprehensive care and education tailored specifically to the unique needs of young people. The dialogue with those in positions of power enabled young individuals to contribute to policy-making processes, emphasising the importance of policies being shaped by listening to the needs of young people and giving them a voice throughout the decision-making process. 

This regional meeting served as a critical milestone for youth advocacy, showcasing the influence and impact that young people can have in shaping policies. By amplifying their voices and advocating for their needs, young advocates played an instrumental role in designing a post-COVID-19 future that prioritises the well-being of youth. “Youth Voices, Youth Choices” exemplified the power of youth empowerment and demonstrated the potential for positive change when young individuals are provided with the necessary space and support to make their voices heard. In conclusion, the regional meeting served as a pivotal moment for youth advocacy in the Western Balkans, clearly illustrating the significant role young people play in shaping policies and driving change.

By amplifying their voices and advocating for comprehensive SRHR services and education, young advocates made a lasting contribution to the ongoing efforts of IPPF European Network Members and Partners in promoting the well-being and rights of individuals in relation to sexual and reproductive health. This event underscored the importance of collaborative efforts and youth engagement in creating a more inclusive and responsive future for young people, ultimately highlighting the transformative potential that arises when young voices are prioritised and empowered.

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