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Advancing Youth Health: Ethiopia's National Adolescents and Youth Health Forums

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

As the countdown to the Global Forum for Adolescents (GFA), October 11-12, 2023, gains momentum, 87 national and local events have been registered to catalyze action for Adolescent well-being. While the GFA will be a virtual gathering, national events serve as a dynamic catalyst for sparking and fueling national-level discussions and mobilizations. These satellite events unite youth, advocates, decision-makers, and communities, creating forums to deliberate challenges, share solutions, and drive tangible change tailored to specific contexts.

Ethiopia's 4th National Adolescents and Youth Health Forum is scheduled for October 1-3, 2023. With the theme "The Power of Partnership: Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement for Improved Health," the forum envisions the convergence of over 300 young people and stakeholders. High-ranking officials, UN agencies, donors, civil society organizations, and media personnel will join forces to amplify adolescents' health agendas, including the PMNCH's 1.8 Billion Young People for Change Campaign.

Across three event-packed days, participants can expect tailored entertainment, enlightening panel discussions, immersive activities, best practice showcases, and valuable networking opportunities. With the event's reach extending across various social media platforms and media outlets, the meaningful engagement of the young generation will be documented.

Ethiopia's success story in orchestrating these national forums spans from 2020 to 2023, effectively knitting together a diverse spectrum of stakeholders. Ethiopia’s National Health Forums have played a crucial role in fostering innovative approaches, forging partnerships, and advocating for the health rights of the young generation.

The inaugural event, held in August 2020 under the theme "Connect for Adolescents and Youth Health," took a hybrid format. With a limited in-person attendance in Addis Ababa complemented by virtual participation from all corners of Ethiopia, the forum aimed to explore interventions to counter the COVID-19 impact on youth health. It also championed meaningful youth involvement in policy formulation, as emphasized by H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewdie's words: "Youth health is a nation's health." Discussions encompassed strategies to address sexual and reproductive health challenges, spotlighting initiatives like SRH awareness campaigns in flower farms and industrial parks and the expansion of youth-friendly health services. Policy frameworks were scrutinized, innovative approaches were promoted, and COVID-19's impact on youth was addressed.

Promotional Flyers for Ethiopia's Inaugural National Adolescents and Youth Health Forum held in 2020.

The 2nd National Adolescent and Youth Forum, themed "Innovation for Better Youth Health Service," held in September 2021, was a platform imagined by the youth, for the youth. Young influencers and innovators took the spotlight, and the presence of high-level officials, including the President and the United Nations Resident Coordinator, elevated its significance. A highlight was the Health Centre Visit, offering a firsthand look at youth-friendly services. The event championed partnerships and bridged service delivery gaps. In September 2022, the 3rd Forum centered around "Bridging the Gap: Integrating Adolescents and Youth Health Issues in Emergency Settings." The presence of H.E. Dr. Derejie Duguma, the Minister of Health, and officials from partner sectors underscored its importance. Sessions revolved around multidisciplinary responses for displaced youth and the role of youth-friendly services and family planning in preventing teenage pregnancies.

Vibrant Gathering of Adolescents and Youth at Ethiopia's 2nd National Adolescents and Youth Health Forum in 2021

As Ethiopia unites to champion the health and well-being of its youth, these forums continue to pave the way for a brighter, healthier future for all and can serve as an example to other nations. In the video below H.E. Dr Meseret Zelalem, LEO of Maternal, Child and Adolescent health Service of MoH further explains the efforts of the Ethiopian Ministry and their plans for the upcoming 4th National Adolescent and Youth Health Forum 1-3 October.

Click here to watch the full presentation by H.E. Dr Meseret Zelalem on the Ethiopian Experiences in Conducting National Adolescents and Youth Health Forums.

Engaged Panelists Discussing "Youth Friendly Services and Family Planning for Teenage Pregnancy Prevention" during Ethiopia's 3rd National Adolescents and Youth Health Forum in 2022.

Participants, including adolescents, youth, and stakeholders, engage in Ethiopia's 3rd National Adolescents and Youth Health Forum held in 2022.

Read more about the National Adolescent and Youth Health Forum (NAYHF) in the consolidated report below:

Download PDF • 3.48MB

For more information on organizing your own national event supporting the Global Forum for Adolescents and the 1.8 Billion Young People for Change Campaign or find an event in your country/region, please visit To facilitate your planning process, click here to access our comprehensive National Event Checklist, an example National Event Agenda that can be used as a reference and adjusted as appropriate, and a National Events Kit, which you can use to brand your events with the high-energy graphics of the campaign.

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