Yesterday it was “them and us” but today it is “us with them”

Created in 2003 by the Minister for Health, the National Programme of Adolescent Health (PNSA) is a specialised programme which promotes good health by dealing with health and development problems in adolescents. A special task force has been put into place to coordinate, follow and evaluate the multisectoral interventions by the organisations and structures involved in the promotion of health among adolescents and young people. Every three months, this group of adults and experts meet to discuss the health of adolescents – without the adolescents themselves being involved.

However, involving young people and adolescents in planning the actions and interventions that will follow, will help to achieve the desired outcomes. To accommodate the adolescents’ right to be involved and in the interest of balance, seven adolescents were invited to take part in the special task force’s meeting in Kinshasa.Far from being token participation, our participation in this meeting was very important. Our replies to some questions have caused some actions in the plan to be reviewed.

Better late than never

Thanks to our participation in this meeting, the participants understood that to get the best results for adolescents, they have to include them both in their research and in the implementation of solutions.

In my opinion, the first doctor for every person is themselves.

From today, the PNSA will always call on adolescents as main players, and not simply as the targets of their interventions. The PNSA’s planned activities will be developed after consulting the people concerned – the adolescents themselves!

An example to follow

Using young people in the PNSA is a strong example of involving children, adolescents and young people in the questions that apply to them. The Director of PNSA recognised that the programme’s strategies will only work if the young people themselves approve of them. If they are not involved, the strategies will not be adapted to their needs and the results will be mixed.

This is a plea to ALL those in society for a larger and more effective utilisation of children, adolescents and young people in the DRC.

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Translated from French by Lucy Oyelade

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Celena

Etudiante en communication, Celena est Jeune Encadreur du Réseau des Encadreurs pour l’Initiation à la Participation des Enfants. Celena est convaincue que prendre en compte les opinions des plus jeunes permet de les préparer à affronter les défis du monde.

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