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My 1st International Advocacy Experience

About ECOSOC Youth Forum

The sixth annual Youth Forum of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was held on 30-31 January 2017 in New York City, around the theme of “the role of youth in poverty eradication and promoting prosperity in a changing world.” The Youth Forum is an important platform for youth advocates and youth organizations to contribute to policy discussions at the UN, and engage in dialogue with Member States about how young people can play an active and participatory role in development, and contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda worldwide.

ACT! 2030, an initiative led by UNAIDS, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and The PACT, was prominently showcased throughout the Forum as a trailblazer for youth-led, data driven accountability on the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Political Declaration on HIV, with seven young people from Bulgaria, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Philippines, Uganda, and Zimbabwe attending alongside representatives from UNAIDS and IPPF.

My objective and responsibilities for the forum was to actively participate and engage with the young people in the forum; as I aim to network and also share what we as ACT! 2030 are doing in Kenya with regards to SRHR.

I was also interested in engaging with the Kenya delegation on the plans on the NVR of the SDGs, which was to be presented in the HLPF in July, I also aimed to share and promote innovative approaches and initiatives for advancing the youth development agenda at national, regional and global levels with a view to promoting global (multilateral) solutions to the global challenge of “shared prosperity” in various initiatives in Kenya.

Attending the ECOSOC Youth Forum contributed to my own personal goals, as I engaged with young people, policy influencers and makers, leaders, ministries and also head of states in the Forum.

This was very key to me as I advance on my own career goals in the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Programs as it Immensely contributes to our ACT!2030 Kenya national advocacy roadmap for 2017, as we aim to assess the quality of youth friendly facilities in Kenya through lobbying and advocacy, as we also build the capacity of young people to influence accountability on delivery of youth friendly services, the youth forum presented an exciting opportunity of providing a platform for us to continue engaging at a global platform through dialogues with young people, key policy influencers and makers, governments and head of states on the need of  increasing budgets for health ministries,


This was my second time flying, felt very excited as I was travelling to New York City in the USA (which I thought I would never get to), after my trip to New Delhi in India attending the Global ACT!2015 Youth Leaders’ Summit on Data-Driven Accountability and the 2030 Agenda

The conference was so informative, as I was able to actively and decisively participate in the ECOSOC Youth Forum, share as well as, meet a lot of people in the forum who were equally proactive in youth development work, as this was my first international advocacy experience, thus I was able to learn how to engage with head global young  leaders and young professionals who have been implementing various evidenced based programs in the community and also had a chance to interact with ministers and also head of states.

Most of the panels were very awesome, as the panelist were able to give feedback on some of the most pressing issues that young people and the world at large face, but some of the conversations to me were already planned out, such that questions asked had an already typed answer by the person giving feedback…personally, I would have preferred having live questions and getting live answers.

Something interesting to me as a young person to be in the UN Headquarters for the first time;

  • How global leaders, as well head of states and ministers gather around and have young people from the whole world to engage with to offer solutions to most of the most pressing problems globally, I had a specific interest on how young people can be actively involved in Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Programs #SRHR and be able to solve their country specific issues. For ACT! 2030 Kenyan Alliance in 2017, we are focusing on accessing the quality of youth friendly health services in Kenya, I believe from the forum, I learnt a lot on this as well as gathered contacts which we can use as the Kenya alliance to make sure that we have quality, accessible and affordable youth friendly health services.

Some of the quotes and inspirations from the whole Youth Forum that I carried home;

Young people are the greatest resources in this 21st Century, young people should actively and decisively solve the present issues with the new and innovative ideas identified, they should strongly challenge the opposition from the leaders who don’t believe in them.


Key Learning and Outcomes;

Young people are the NOW leaders, we should be proactive in identifying various issue in our communities and finding sustainable solutions to be able to solve the present issues that are affecting us. A personal Quote that I go with; “If it is to be it is up to me”

I was actively involved, this assisted me in knowing how to identify an issue and also decisively champion for it as the team was very supportive and very active throughout the forum.  (as we were able to identify key moments and also how to engage)

Participating meaningfully is key in platforms that get the views of young people…. as we a level advocacy experiences as audience speakers..   also share countries

I was also able to learn a lot on what is being done on SRHR in various countries and how this can be incorporated into our national level work with other young people, CSOs and member states

Some of the key things that I accomplished at the forum were;

Meeting representatives of my Permanent Missions to the United Nations, discussing how young people can participate in National Voluntary Review processes in the lead-up to the HLPF in July, and building collaborative relationships, this was very key to me as I took part in my Mission Dialogue meeting which aimed to inform on the laid plans on the National Voluntary review of the SDGS, and also aimed to show case what ACT!2030 Kenya is doing; what policy issue is focused in this year and also our past achievements. Young people from Uganda and Zimbabwe also met with their missions.

SDG Break out session on Goal 3; I was able to share my own personal moments of how ACT! 2030 has been able to create opportunities; for instance being part of the Global Youth Summit in India, (which was my first International trip) both at the country level and also internationally level, this touched on whether young people fully participate in solving their own issues.

I had an interview at UN Radio, this was in both Swahili and English, and it aimed to create awareness on what as ACT! 2030 is doing in most of the countries, and with a particular focus to Kenya. The following is the link to the interview; http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/kiswahili/2017/02/sera-kandamizi-za-afya-zarejesha-vijana-nyuma/#.WJYAHfl97IV


I was also part of the UNFPA Strategic Plan – Youth Consultation; I believe I learn a lot on what UNFPA is going to do in accordance to their plan and most of the points that we gave out.

I was also able network with various people in the forum; I met with the Kenya Delegation (which was from the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender); with this contact in place, I will be able to be part of most committees in the country that address youth issues and to be specific Health. Some of the other development organizations include; UNDP, Choice for youth and Sexuality, WHO

This was my first international advocacy experience after taking part in the Global Youth Summit in India organized by IPPF and UNAIDs. From the conference I believe that I am now be able to strongly and comfortably address the SDGs in political way so as to be heard by our leaders. Thank you very much J

More information can be found here www.act2030.org


Alvin Mwangi Irungu

#YOUTH2030 #EWEC4YOUTH #FUNDUNFPA @act2030 #Youth4SDGs  @yasleaders @alvinmwangi254 @UNECOSOC