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Celebrating​ ​International​ ​Population​ ​Day 2016

The annual theme "Investing in Adolescent Girls" of the International Population Day was an opportunity for UNFPA to involve and build the capacity of members of the network of young ambassadors engaged in the adolescents and youth reproductive health and to discuss with the local authorities the upcoming implementation of this network in Mahajanga.

This project aims to celebrate excellence by identifying young graduates with "High Honors" or "Honors" and those who are pursuing their post-baccalaureate studies, proposing them to become ambassadors for the promotion of adolescent and youth reproductive health. Their role is to be models for girls in Madagascar, especially from their home towns. In concrete terms, they educate young people, especially young girls, on early pregnancy and marriage in school and out-of-school settings, represent Malagasy youth during national and international meetings on sexual and reproductive health issues for young people, advocacy in favour of the adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health with the traditional, religious or governmental authorities.

The first network was set up in Diego Suarez, in the North of the Island. Of these girls, two came expressly from Diégo Suarez and two continue their studies in Mahajanga who will contribute to the establishment of this network in the city of Mahajanga. Since the creation of the network, these young ambassadors have been able to educate 268 college students in the city of Diégo. 
 
On the occasion of World Population Day, they actively participated in the activities organized during the 3 days of celebration. Especially : 
 
· Training on "How to Communicate Effectively with Youth" with young peer educators so that they are well armed in their awareness roles 
 
· Awareness-raising on the fight against early marriage and early pregnancy in three vulnerable neighborhoods of the city with the young peer educators of the city of Mahajanga who reached at least 200 young people 
 
· Testimony on the importance of continuing studies, carrying out professional projects and delaying the first sexual relationship during the intergenerational dialogue with 50 people
 
· Advocacy in the form of a speech and testimony to the authorities during the celebration ceremony at the Mahajanga City Hall 
 
Following the ceremony, the First Lady encouraged UNFPA's initiative to create the network of young ambassadors throughout the island and also encouraged these girls to reach their full potential: "I would like to encourage high school students, not to abandon their education or to engage in an early matrimonial situation but initiate themselves to the social, political life and above all to ensure an economic autonomy," she insisted. 
 
It should be noted that the national network of young ambassadors in the adolescent and youth reproductive health has a formal existence in Madagascar. To date, the capital and the city of Diégo already have a network of young ambassadors. The next steps are to expand this network throughout Madagascar, starting with Mahanjaga in the North West and Tuléar in the Atsimo Andrefana Region in the South.