20-year-old college student, Hayathe Ayeva, is a passionate communicator, who has won several public speaking competitions. She describes herself as ‘a proud social activist, woman defender of human rights, committed to the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young people’. Hayathe is the young activist that’s champion the sexual rights of young people in Togo.
Speaking out for young people’s rights
As the YAM President, Hayathe works with her peers to support ATBEF’s advocacy efforts on improving young people’s sexual and reproductive rights and access to information and healthcare. Hayathe is also part of the implementation team for the project on Effective youth involvement in the mid-term review, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of TOGO’s 2017-2022 National Budgeted Action Plan for Reproductive Health/Family Planning (PANB).
Hayathe says there are various challenges facing Togo’s young people today. These include prohibitive traditions that consider issues related to sexuality taboo, a lack of dedicated youth activities, long distances to youth-friendly healthcare, and limited access to information and contraceptive care.
Putting the needs of young people first
Understanding these challenges and responding to local youth needs, ATBEF offers their premises for YAM to host and run various activities. Ensuring these centres are youth-friendly, local young people can access vital information and healthcare confidentially.
“I have participated in several ATBEF campaigns and projects where I have raised SRHR awareness targeting young people on social media platforms through my pages. I was also involved in the development of the novel mobile application ‘InfoAdoJeune’, a platform that helps young people access credible information on sexual and reproductive health during the COVID-19 period.”
Advocating for female leadership opportunities
As a young female leader and sexual and reproductive health champion, Hayathe is keenly aware of the impact a lack of social and financial support can have on her work.
“To address these challenges, I try to increase everyone’s understanding of the value of my involvement. For activities that require costs, I try to manage with my own money and those of my relatives because I am committed to serving my community without expecting anything in return.”
She also talks about the challenges women face accessing leadership positions.
“They include society’s view that tends to place men above women – and the resultant women’s lack of self-confidence, forced marriages and early pregnancies, family and marital responsibilities that impede them from fully pursuing their ambitions. Governments must promote gender equality and appoint more women to positions of responsibility. This will ensure they are represented at all levels and in organizational structures. More honour should be accorded to women in order to encourage others to cultivate the culture of excellence.”
Hayathe’s determined outlook and positive leadership helps to support and encourage other young people to use their voice, to reach out to vulnerable and marginalized populations, and to share quality sexual and reproductive health information.
“I am proud of the positive impact of my actions on young people in my community, which I note through their encouragement and suggestions.”
Learn more about ABTEF’s work to increase contraception use here.