Pre-Conference: February 10-11, 2020

The Youth Pre-Conference of the 9 the ACSHR is aimed at creating a space for young people from across Africa to gather together, for dialogue and agenda shaping to enable them speak with one voice regarding the specific issues affecting them. The theme of the pre-conference will be similar to that of the main conference themes: “Accountability; voices; breaking the cycle; leave no one behind; innovation and technology”.

9th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights: Nairobi, Kenya

“Advancing the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women and Girls in Urban Informal Settlements (Slums Communities)”


The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) marked a watershed in the global quest to advance access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for all. The ICPD Programme of Action (POA) reflected a remarkable global consensus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as the basis for both individual well-being and social development. It asserted that everyone counts, that the focus of development policy and actions must be the improvement of individual lives, and that the measure of progress should be the extent to which we tackle inequalities.
Globally, there has been uneven progress in improving access to SRHR, with Africa making the least progress and in some cases experiencing significant roll back of gains. Despite several laudable policy and programme initiatives by the African Union (AU) and member states to fast-track universal access to SRHR information and services, many people in the region continue to be left behind. Several factors account for this: conflicts and resultant humanitarian crisis, traditional beliefs and practices, religious barriers, poverty, ignorance, poor program implementation, uneven distribution of and poor access to services, gender, norms etc.

Africa has also continued to witness rapid population growth and sustained rural-urban migration. The region is urbanizing at a rate of 3.5% per year – the fastest urban growth rate in the world today. Africa’s 1.1 billion citizens will likely double in number by 2050, and more than 80% of that increase will occur in cities. By 2025, 100 African cities will have more than one million residents, and by 2050, 1.339 billion Africans will be city dwellers, corresponding to 21% of the world's projected urban population. Urban slum dwellers are predisposed to a higher vulnerability due to several issues including the lack of security of tenure; poor sanitation; weak or no access to clean water; inadequate supply of basic services, space, privacy; and the general precarious quality of slum constructions. In most urban slum communities, unwholesome gendered and cultural practices are rampant which further worsen the vulnerability of the dwellers. Statistics indicate that the lack of access to sexual and reproductive health and services results in unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and a general unmet need for contraceptives. Africa is the world region with the highest number of abortion-related deaths. In 2014, at least 9% of maternal deaths (or 16,000 deaths) in Africa were from unsafe abortion. Further, it is reported that in 2017, about 58 million women of reproductive age in Africa recorded an unmet need for modern contraception—that is, they want to avoid a pregnancy but are either not practicing contraception or are using traditional methods, which are less effective than modern methods.

The Africa Youth population, 15 to 35 years, is projected to more than double from 407 Million to 975 Million by 2060. With young people occupying more than 30% of the population, they form the continents greatest asset for its development due to their productivity and innovation.

However this will only be realized if the young people are in good health and have reliable access to health services.

The Africa Youth Trends, a study by the AAYMCA, shows that 72% of young people surveyed preferred living in the urban areas. Increased urbanization and consequently sluminization not only poses a development challenge but also disproportionately affect young people who become vulnerable to taking risky low paying jobs that expose them to Sexual and other forms if exploitation, physical and emotional harm. Results from the Study also show that the biggest health concerns for young people are consequences of early and unprotected sex (49%) including unwanted pregnancies, HIV/AIDS and STIs. Other concerns are alcohol, drug abuse and mental health. Young people also identified the Internet and Peers as to influencers of their sexual behavior.

The study also shows extensive evidence of risky sexual behavior with 27% of male and 26% females aged between 15 and 19 years old reported sex before 15 years. More specifically, in West Africa, a significantly larger proportion of females compared to males reported having had sex before 15 years. In most countries, 2-6% of 15 to 19 year old females who had sex in the past year had sex in the past year had a partner who was 10 or more years older during that time. Most of the World’s births to adolescents occur in Africa where about 19% of young women become pregnant before the age of 18. Studies by UNFPA and WHO show the high risk associated with adolescent pregnancies including low infant birth weight, obstetric fistula and high maternal mortality ratios.

The Youth Pre-Conference of the 9th ACSHR is aimed at creating a space for young people from across Africa to gather together, for dialogue and agenda shaping to enable them speak with one voice regarding the specific issues affecting them. The theme of the pre-conference will be similar to that of the main conference themes: “Accountability; voices; breaking the cycle; leave no one behind; innovation and technology”.
The pre-conference will therefore work to harvest and leverage on the experiences, knowledge and innovation based on the theme and thereafter enable the development of a youth position paper to be delivered in the main conference. The pre-conference will further create a dialogue between the youth and policy and decision makers including Government Officials and representatives from RECs, AU and the UN. The pre-conference will therefore seek to achieve the following results.
  1. Build the capacity of young people for high level policy discussions that will be held at the main conference and beyond.
  2. Develop a collective voice among young people that is then presented at the main conference.
  3. Create a space for networking and relationship

The pre-conference will be participatory with plenary and group discussions on various issues SRHR linked to the theme. The set-up of the conference will enable youth to share from their personal and collective experiences in the communities and countries to enable create a continental picture that is then articulated in the youth position statement. The methodology of the pre-conference will be one that enables youth to share from the experiences in the country drawing parallels to the story of young people across the continent and identifying common gaps. Through panel discussions, participants will be able to have a deep dive on policy issues on SRHR that have direct impact on youth.

A broad based participation of youth, male and female, from Kenya and across Africa is encouraged. The Youth Pre-Conference also envisions participation particularly from youth from informal settlements including young women leaders. The youth pre-conference also envisions as part of panelists and speakers Highest Level of Governance in Kenya, High Level Policy Makers especially from across Africa, CSOs, adolescents and youth, academia, community and religious leaders, media, development partners, UN system, continental institutions (AUC) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), private sector.

The recommendations from the pre-Conference will be presented in the main conference for consideration of the Policy organs of the African Union Commission as well as those of the relevant Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Participants will also be encouraged to engage their national governments with the conference recommendations as appropriate.


African Gender and Media Initiative (GEM) Trust

GEM is a cutting edge not for profit organization that works to advance gender equality through research and action on women’s human rights. GEM’s strength lies in working with marginalized women and adolescent girls in and out of school living in low resourced areas, sex workers and women living with HIV on their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Event Schedules

Monday, 10 February 2020

1Registration of Delegates08:45 AMTBC
2Welcoming Remarks09:00 AMTBC
3Welcome Performance10:00 AMTBC
4Lunch Break, Pitch zone & Expo12:00 PMTBC
5WORKSHOP: Women and Leadership01:00 PM TBC
6Global Movement on Youths and women02:00 PM TBC
7Women Rights03:00 PM TBC
8Closing remarks04:00 PMTBC
$75/5 days
Local Youth
  • Entrance
  • Coffee Break
  • Networking
  • Workshop

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