In 2015 the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to the end of their term, and a post-2015 agenda, comprising 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), takes their place. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are an intergovernmental set of aspiration Goals with 169 targets. YWCA Kenya is working towards goal 3, 4, 5 and 8. These are: 
- Goal 3: ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Goal 4: ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning 
- Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
- Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.

Locally, it has been seen that both the government and non-governmental organizations have set up structures and programmes to curate our global needs. The nick of my attention is drawn to a program facilitated by Young Women Christian Association (YWCA). YWCA of Kenya is a Christian women’s membership, volunteer, non-governmental development organization. Located on Nyerere road adjacent to the United Arab Emirates embassy, the organizations focus is on community development efforts that are sustainable in empowering women to be more self sufficient.

Currently, they are running a programme that approaches the agenda of poverty eradication from a perspective of sexual and reproductive health rights and access to health services through advocacy of socio-economic empowerment, leadership and creating safe space for actualization. Moreover, the project is in line with YWCA’s global agenda for 2016-2019 which is to ensure all members access training and support on Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG), Sexual Reproductive Health and rights (SRHR), peace & security, socio-economic and environmental Justice.

How they plan to achieve this is by empowering women to make the right choices regarding their sexual health. The caucus is powered by discussion sessions that include a hand on engaging of the members by the speakers who by invitation grace these discussions. At the end of the sessions, there is an open Mic window period where the attendants are allowed to share their talents. YWCA recognizes the importance of the broader arts in delivering this agenda to the youth.

The programme which commenced 5 weeks ago with 5 more session to go before the first phase is complete, is held weekly on Wednesdays for 6pm to 9pm at the YWCA headquarter conference hall. The first 5 sessions have been based on; basic human rights, drugs and substance abuse, love, sexuality and taboos surrounding that, self defense techniques and communication through arts, as well as sexual assault and economical empowerment. Wednesday 10th marks the sixth session that will be based on sexual reproductive health & rights.

The call to participation is open to all members as well as those that are voluntarily seeking this information. Over time, I’ve seen programmes of this kind change lives. The beauty about being a youth is the energy to change and move the world rests on our shoulders and it is upon us to purposefully engage ourselves in programmes of this kind and enrich our minds. Learning has no end and youthful strength comes with a responsibility that requires accountability and can quickly erode if not channeled towards constructive productivity. 

Some of the achievements associated with programmes of this nature include a growing pull of young women leader at the forefront of advocacy and articulation on issues surrounding sexual reproductive health, both locally and globally. Another is community mobilization toward affirmative action in supporting women’s leadership and having them in strategic decision making positions.  Assisting women access sponsorship for further studies as well as the option of vocational skills training. Referrals to financial institutions for those keen on capital for business ventures, and finally rescuing and mitigating the effects of Female Genital Mutilation which is an outlawed practice.

If you seek to find information on YWCA on a broader scale, to find out their background, programme categories and future action plans, reach out to their website on www.ywcakenya.org or email them info@ywcakenya.org. To get a follow up on the updates regarding the Y Youth Programme, you can find them through their face book page-YWCA youth programme and instagram on- YWCA Kenya.
Stay informed!