The Call for Tobacco Control is a regional advocacy and engagement initiative that seeks to respond to the worrying and increased tobacco use by young people. The increased tobacco and drug abuse has become a major concern in Southern Africa. SAYoF Health Cluster among its partners namely; Y-ACT and AMREF Health Africa, informed by the urgent need for tobacco control in the region and realizing that tobacco use among young people is a growing concern and has more negative cost implications than benefits as evidenced by the research, SAYoF and our partners have taken upon ourselves to engage SADC member states, SADC-PF, private sector, CSOs, youth, students among other stakeholders. The WHO Africa Regional Office reports states that 13% of young adolescent girls in Africa use tobacco products, and most tobacco users begin before the age of 18. We therefore note the paramount importance of fast-track implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The Youth Call for Tobacco Control initiative will use the Youth Development Model (YDM), a tool developed by SAYoF to respond to the problems that youth face on a day-to-day basis; it is a broad approach that seeks to promote various and diverse strategies to improve the daily life of youth through effective participation in national and regional processes. The Youth Call for Tobacco Control will be led by the SAYoF Health Cluster.
We are pleased to note that the engagement with policymakers has since commenced, last week the SAYoF Delegation was composed of the Regional Coordinator Mr. Misheck Gondo, the Head of Health Cluster Ms. Vivian Joseph, Dr. Hon Blessings Kasenge Member of Southern Africa Youth Parliament representing Zambia and Hon. Maria Undjondjo Southern Africa Youth Parliament representative for Namibia had the pleasure of presenting the initiative to Her Excellency Boemo Sekgoma and the SADC-PF team, and to seek areas of collaboration on the possibility of regional model legislation on tobacco control.
The Objectives of the Youth Call for Tobacco Control
- Accelerating youth access to information through research products on tobacco control.
- Enhancing youth, youth organizations, and public capacities through youth-led tobacco advocacy and training to lower tobacco use in Southern Africa.
- Increasing youth engagement with national and regional policymakers regarding tobacco control.
- Harvesting an effective reach through social media campaigns on tobacco control (Call for Action); and making effective use of community radios, online platforms, and community anti-tobacco hubs.
- Working with other stakeholders for the formulation of tobacco control policies.