Membership Spotlight: Y-ACT

A Spotlight on Y-Act

Increasing Capacity of Kenyan Youth to Shift the SRH policy landscape

For this month’s spotlight, the Self-Care Trailblazer Group is focusing on Y-ACT, an initiative of Amref Health Africa based in Kenya. Learn more from Y-ACT’s Beatrice Nyamwenge Okech and SCTG Steering Committee Member Jenny Njuki.

Tell us a bit about your organization!

Y-ACT, Youth in Action is an initiative of Amref Health Africa that aims to mentor, support and increase the capacity of youth advocates to influence youth policy and resource priorities in the areas of gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) at national, sub-national and grassroots levels in Kenya. Y-ACT believes that Kenyan youth have a huge opportunity to shift the county’s policy landscape to address challenges in gender and sexual and reproductive health & rights (SRHR).

Why do you consider self-care to be a vital part of healthcare systems?

Given the potential to enhance health and wellbeing, self-care is an important component of people centered care. It enhances the capacity and ability of an individual to make informed health decisions and make use of available health resources, which is an important component of effective prevention and management of health conditions. Self-care continues to promote resilience, autonomy, and agency in any healthcare policies and guidelines recognizing human rights, sex equality, and other ethical considerations. Most importantly where the youth often face stigma when they seek sexual and reproductive health services, self-care breaks down this barrier, further enabling them to make informed decisions on their bodies thus actualizing their sexual and reproductive health rights.

How does Y-ACT believe that self-care can reach youth?

Self-care interventions for SRHR matter to our work with young people. It informs what we can do together to empower adolescents and youth, cultivate strong political and financial will, and build an effective and accountable health systems that accelerate self-care. Moreover, self-care cannot be ignored as it holds an integral component of health systems and is a critical pathway to achieving universal health coverage and in turn moves the needle on lifting future generations out of poverty. Y-ACT believes in equipping young people with appropriate, accurate and relatable sexual and reproductive health to improve health outcomes in communities by using technology and advocacy to accelerate the use of Self-care.

Tell us about this new gaming platform that was developed!

HCD Exchange alongside Y-ACT and other partners sought to create an intersection between human centered design and teenage pregnancy prevention in developing regions. Thus, the Dash Master game on teenage pregnancies came to be. The Teenage Pregnancy game is a fun and interactive learning platform that not only seeks to give accurate and reliable information on teenage pregnancies, but also provides an avenue to inform future programmatic work that is youth-driven and youth-centered to end teenage pregnancies.  To access the game, players will go to this link and input the YACT code 6673. Once logged into the game, players can access a number of timed questions on the gaming platform and based on how many questions someone answers correctly, a winner can be determined. Learning points embedded within each question in the game pop up in the event a player provides a wrong answer, an aspect which further contributes to the learning component.