by Daniel Tobon Garcia (Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights)
Two year have passed since different youth-led and youth-serving organizations working on HIV and SRHR, with a focus on youth, came together in Tunisia under the lead of the UNAIDS youth team. The PACT was formed as a network within the HIV, SRHR and youth movement that are capable of working together and with adult and institutional allies to put an end to the AIDS epidemic and to ensure all Young people can excercise their sexual and reproductive rights.
The last August 10-12, The PACT met in Bangkok, Thailand for its Annual Strategy Meeting. Representatives of the organizations with leadership positions within The PACT, two more representatives of The PACT organizations, the UNAIDS youth officer, and key partners got to see their faces and discuss important issues about the coalition after a year of hard work: the progress thus far, the successes and failures, the way of working, and next steps, among other topics.
The meeting started with the never missed excercises for introductions and ice-breakers but immediately got into business with an introductory session to review the coalition’s mandate and objectives, its structure and way of working. As expected, the action plans of the five different working streams of The PACT were reviewed in detail, which allowed a space to debate in depth the successes and failures, the challenges, concerns, spaces for improvement and next stepts – A summary of these discussions is provided below.
Finally, participants debated about actions that need to be taken to ensure The PACT can fulfill its mandate and be more effective and inclusive. A review of the membership and the proceedings regarding current and aspiring members, will be conducted with the aim of opening a call for new members. Additionally, participants agreed on some action points to improve the way of working of the coalition.
On the last day of the meeting, UNAIDS’s regional youth team joined the meeting and discussions were centered both on how the regional team can suppor the work of The PACT and how The PACT can support the regional team. This, considering that the five strategic goals of The PACT can well be harmonized with the plans of the regional youth team and the activities that they need to execute. Some of the key conclusions from the discussions is that regional youth focal points of UNAIDS need to cooperate with PACT organizations from different regions to create and/or strengthen regional networks of youth organizations in the movement. This will work both ways and will in turn impact positively the youth SRHR movement. Additionally, The PACT is looking into opening soon a call for new members. So, stay tuned because we are eager for new faces!
Some of the compromises for next steps of each working stream are:
Y-PEER will welcome IPPF as co-leads in Goal No. 2. The action plan will be revisited and another call for new members will be made. Co-leads will focus on coordinating actions to integrate HIV into SRH services trying to now go beyond the great work made in relation to CSE.
Y+, lead of Goal No. 1. Will revisit the action plan to ensure that all the activities the members have executed and the processes they are involved in are reflected in the action plan.
Additionallly, a call for new members will be sent out and more attention will be put on improving the communications with the rest of the membership.
Youth LEAD, lead of Goal No. 4 will continue working to expand the the trainings for youth organizations to influence Global Fund processes at the country level. The working group piloted 3 workshops where it validated its use. Additionallly, the working group has kept involved in different Global Fund processes, including the Partnership’s Fora and the upcoming new strategy of the Fund.
JYAN, lead of Goal No. 3 walked through some of the challenges faced by not having an active membership. Some of the activities are already being undertaken by partners like UNDP so the working group will liaise with them to not duplicate work and focus on the activities that can yield more benefit. The group will be finalizing the Legal Barriers Advocacy Pack and then will focus on getting funding for trainings and support in key countries.
IFMSA, lead of Goal No. 5, briefed all about the new funding secured for the phase 4 of ACT!2015 and the upcoming activities. The secured funding will be used to promote youth-led and data-driven accountability, especially in relation to CSE and Youth-friendly health services, in the 10 countries that have already received funding in previous phases of ACT!2015 and will be able to expand to 12 countries; fundraising efforts will continue to be made to expand to more countries.
Immediate actions include finalization of a contract with IPPF who will be managing the funds for national actions, finalization and diffusion of ToRs for priority activities which include the development of training curriculums, trainings and technical support to countries.