Joseph Onyango is 24-years-old, and already he’s a leader. He is a youth champion on sexual and reproductive health and rights, trained by Amref Health Africa through our Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality (CAIA-MNCM) project, with financial support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. Joseph lives in Siaya County, Kenya. We asked Joseph why he chose to become a youth champion and what he is doing to support and train young people in his community.

“When I was growing up I witnessed my two elder sisters getting pregnant when they were teenagers; this made them drop out of school and it also affected the good relationship they had with our parents. They were ashamed and eventually left home to be married. They could not realize their dreams and ambitions.I decided to become a youth champion to help advocate for issues around sexual and reproductive health and rights through Amref Health Africa. They offered a lot of support which included training of me and other like-minded youth champions in Siaya County.

As a youth champion, I work with young people both in and out of school between the ages of 10 and 24 to improve their knowledge of and access to reproductive health. I talk to students about measures to help prevent teenage pregnancies. I also talk to youth about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, including correct and consistent use of condoms.

I am proud to see more young people informed on issues around reproductive health and also see them actively access reproductive health services at the health facility.”