Youth-led Advocacy in Ethiopia

Young people on their successes, challenges, and motivations for youth-led SRHR advocacy in Ethiopia


Marielle Le Mat , Siyane Aniley

Youth-led advocacy as a concept is becoming increasingly familiar in development programmes, and in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programmes specifically. Yet, research on this topic is rather scarce. Youth-led advocacy is usually understood as young people meaningfully involved in every aspect of the advocacy process, from selecting the issue, the audience, the advocacy strategies, to conducting advocacy themselves, and to monitoring and evaluating.

Youth-led advocacy can be more effective than adult-led advocacy on matters that are relevant to youth, and can support young people in civic engagement and representation. However, more studies are needed to fully grasp how youth-led SRHR processes unfold in practice in different contexts. In Ethiopia, youth-led SRHR advocacy is on the rise only since very recently, particularly since the lifting of legal restrictions in 2019. This study aimed to explore how young people advocate for SRHR in Ethiopia. Study objectives included to understand the formal and informal structures of youth-led advocacy, characteristics that make them successful, and to learn what may be holding them back, from the perspective of young people themselves. The study was conducted as part of the Break Free! programme, which aims to increase adolescents’ access to SRHR information, education, and services in nine African countries by supporting civil society.