5 Years of Youth Leadership

Get Up Speak out & Yes I Do

Nothing about us, without us. A strong motto which resonates in so many situations depending on the meaning you give to it. Ever wondered who is ‘us’? For CHOICE, it has always been about young people. CHOICE passionately believes that policies and programs can only be more effective and impactful if we include youth all the way: from planning and designing to implementation and research. As the Get Up Speak Out and Yes I Do programs come to close after 5 glorious years, at CHOICE, we continue to strengthen our work and impact by reflecting on previous programmes and looking forward to the future.

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Illustration of girl on ladder speaking rainbow, while other girl holds ladderIllustration of an open book with a flower on top


Get Up Speak Out – for Youth Rights

The Get Up Speak Out program (GUSO) was developed by young people for young people and came into being as a collaboration between six Dutch/UK organizations; Rutgers (lead organization), Aidsfonds, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, dance4life, IPPF and Simavi, and was supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The GUSO program aimed for a society where all young people, especially girls and young women, are empowered to realize their SRHR in societies that are positive towards young people’s sexuality. The program was implemented in two countries in Asia (Indonesia and Pakistan) and in five countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda), by in-country alliances. As CHOICE we supported four GUSO countries: TaYA in Ethiopia, ARI in Indonesia, NAYA in Kenya and CYECE in Malawi.

Yes I Do

Yes I Do (YID) was an alliance consisting of Plan Netherlands (lead organization), AMREF Netherlands, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and Rutgers, together with our partner organizations in Africa and Asia. The program worked on preventing harmful practices such as child marriages, teenage pregnancies and female genital mutilation/cutting.

It aimed to create a future in which adolescent girls can decide if, when and who to marry, if, when and with who to have children, and are protected from female genital mutilation/cutting. Under YID, CHOICE had partners in six countries: TaYA in Ethiopia, ARI in Indonesia, NAYA in Kenya, CYECE in Malawi COALIZAO in Mozambique and Generation Alive! In Zambia.

Key Activities

The Connector Week became a unique opportunity for young people to link, learn and connect.

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The Connector Week became a unique opportunity for young people to link, learn and connect.

Connecting youth-led organizations: Connector Week


CHOICE’s work building capacity and advocating for meaningful youth participation and SRHR has made us a champion in connecting young people and youth-led organizations. As a connector, CHOICE seizes the opportunity to bring together our far-reaching network to collectivize youth voices on the SRHR of young people worldwide.

The Connector Week has had three editions: 2017 in Amsterdam, 2019 in Entebbe and a digital version in 2020. Each edition, the number of participations grew, including representatives from youth-led organizations across different programs. During the Connector Weeks, participants had the opportunity to link and learn from each other and strengthen their capacity. Each Connector Week had a needs-based program, and included topics that were the most relevant for the participants, such as diversification of funding, strategic planning, meaningful youth participation, and SRHR advocacy. Sessions were facilitated by the CHOICE team, the participants and external experts.

Over the years, the Connector Week has provided a platform for genuine connections and important dialogue between young people coming from different programs, working in different contexts and living across the globe.

Innovation for MYP: Seed grants for new ideas


After years of working on meaningful youth engagement, CHOICE is always on the lookout for ways to support new and innovative youth-led initiatives to catalyze action for meaningful youth participation.

In 2018, CHOICE managed its first seed grant for innovative ideas on Youth-Adult Partnerships. The seed grant was opened as a way to inspire inventive, meaningful youth participation strategies. The 2018 seed grant winner was the PPAG’s Youth Action Movement from Ghana. They used the grant to organize drama sessions followed by guided discussions.

The second cycle of the seed grant was opened in 2019. All GUSO organizations could apply by sending in their ideas on ways to improve meaningful youth participation within the program using the online TrainersLab platform. The winner of the grant was GUSO’s Ugandan partner RAHU, who enhanced the planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning skills of 20 young people using the TrainersLab platform, thus, contributing to GUSO’s sustainability.

Meaningful youth participation calls for adaptative and innovative approaches to adapt to dynamic community landscapes and changing contexts. Which is why CHOICE will continue to support efforts for innovative meaningful youth participation that will push boundaries to improve SRHR!

“The drama gave the opportunity for the young people to strengthen yet another set of their skills and they played their roles quite confidently and boldly. Even the few who were a bit hesitant on the rehearsal day were quite vocal and expressive by the last day of the drama.”

Seed Grant report PPAG’s Youth Action Movement

Strengthening MYP: materials, Trainings of Trainers and MYP Summer School


For CHOICE, the GUSO and YID programs created a key opportunity to take our work on MYP to the next level. In 2017, CHOICE launched the Flower of Participation 2.0. Coming from the need to have one comprehensive model on MYP, the existing Flower of Participation was redesigned based on experiences by CHOICE and partners, as well as scientific research. Building on the Flower, CHOICE launched the training manual that forms the core of all of our MYP activities: The A-Z of MYP – How To Integrate Meaningful Youth Participation Into Your Organization & Program.

The A - Z MYP manual was piloted and implemented through MYP trainings in six partner countries: Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Indonesia. In total, 61 trainers were trained who consequently trained the in-country alliances and partners on meaningful youth participation. In addition, CHOICE worked with dance4life on a capacity strengthening trajectory on MYP and youth empowerment as part of a bigger GUSO-wide trajectory on capacity strengthening. Following an initial Training of Trainers in 2017, on August 2018, CHOICE and dance4life organized an interactive MYP Summer School, with the aims of deepening the knowledge on MYP, further developing training skills, and to jointly developing solutions for the many challenges that young MYP trainers face in their respective contexts.

Meaningful youth participation is at the heart of CHOICE’s mission to work towards a better future for young people and their SRHR. Working with our partners has helped us to learn, innovative and fine-tune our methods so that we are providing our partners, and young people at large, with the best resources, trainings and tools to push for more meaningful youth participation.

Strengthening young people’s skills: Youth Leadership Trainings of Trainers


CHOICE remains committed to empowering young people and youth-led organizations by helping them develop youth leadership skills that can bolster their advocacy and implementing efforts.

In 2018, we drafted a Youth Leadership Skills Manual with support from advocates and partners worldwide. In April 2018, the first pilot of the manual for a Training of Trainers (ToT) on youth leadership was facilitated by CHOICE. The pilot was conducted in Malawi with our GUSO and YIDA partner, the Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE). The Training of Trainers consisted of four key components: experiential learning, personal development, youth leadership skills and an advocacy simulation called Juncture. During and following the ToT, participants provided CHOICE with feedback on the facilitation and design of the training. Their insights and suggestions were later used to fine-tune and enrich the manual and its implementation. In total, the Youth Leadership Skills Manual was piloted in five GUSO and YID countries in 2018 and the final Manual was launched online in 2019.

CHOICE believes that young people are leaders. Which is why we are excited that the Youth Leadership manual and ToTs offer young people an engaging and fun way to deepen and gain new leadership skills and knowledge. We are eager to keep supporting young leaders to grow and develop, in order for them to continue championing SRHR.

“For me as a young person, this experience (of conducting ToTs) was incredibly fulfilling. Not only did I learn about youth leadership, but I was also empowered to take the responsibility of a youth leader.” 

Anna Devereux, former CHOICE Advocate

Co-creating innovative solutions for reducing child marriages together with partners.

Online skill building: YOU(TH) Do IT! Platform

CHOICE has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience which we happily share with our partners, but also with young people more broadly. We believe that having the appropriate resources and support can help young people bloom into strong advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is why we use our platforms to share our resources and advice.

In 2017, CHOICE re-launched the YOU(TH) Do IT! platform. YOU(TH) Do IT! was created by the SRHR alliance that implemented the ASK program, and was fully taken over by CHOICE in 2017 and serves as a resource hub curated by CHOICE for young people. It shares information and materials on six key themes: meaningful youth participation, sexual and reproductive health and rights, youth-led advocacy, youth-friendly services, awareness-raising, and youth leadership. 

Young people visiting the platform will find a wealth of resources and exercises on these thematic issues. What’s more, the platform also hosts an SRHR dictionary which translates the jargon and technical concepts used within the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights into easily understandable youth-friendly language. It truly is a go-to platform for young people wanting to know more and raise their voice! Make sure to visit YOU(TH) Do IT! at www.youthdoit.org.

Strengthening youth-led organizations: OCAs and ACATs


CHOICE has been a pioneer in supporting youth-led organizations and movements to flourish and grow. Through our work, CHOICE provides tailored advice, develops practical resources, and shares an array of information on sexual and reproductive health and rights and meaningful youth participation.

Through conversations with our partners, CHOICE discovered there was a need for a tailored Organizational Capacity Assessment (OCA) for youth-led organizations. Existing OCAs were deemed too technical, not inclusive enough, and not responding to the actual needs of the youth-led organizations. Therefore, in 2018 CHOICE developed its own OCA which was put into practice in 2019 during the review with five of CHOICE’s partners: ARI in Indonesia, COALIZAO in Mozambique, GAL in Zambia, NAYA in Kenya and CYECE in Malawi. The CHOICE OCA is unique in that it is co-created with our partners, and partners have appreciated the participative and empowering process from the start. CHOICE also supported our partners in strengthening their capacity on advocacy by developing and performing an Advocacy Capacity Assessment (ACAT). The ACAT is conducted using a similar process to the OCA, but with a tailored focus on advocacy. Based on the OCA and ACAT outcomes, CHOICE and partners jointly tailored recommendations for our partner organizations, and CHOICE provided support in integrating and implementing the resulting action plans.

CHOICE is proud to have worked with wonderful organizations to jointly grow and improve their organizational structures and processes as well as advocacy efforts. We’re excited to continue this work and strengthen the youth movement for SRHR!

Illustration of a basket with words in it. In order from left to right: Sex, Advocate, YID, GUSO, MYP, Power


Since the start of the YID and GUSO programs, CHOICE has successfully conducted a total of 16 trainings attracting 202 participants. Through these trainings, CHOICE has helped build the capacity of a total of 181 young people and 21 adults.

CHOICE provided five types of trainings: Meaningful Youth Participation, Meaningful Youth Participation Training of Trainers (ToT), Youth-Led Advocacy, Youth-Led Advocacy TOTs and organizational trainings.

In terms of the Meaningful Youth Participation trainings, one training was held which attracted the participation of 14 young people. Likewise, eight Meaningful Youth ToTs were held with 86 participants, consisting of 75 young people and 11 adults that trained other people in their community on meaningful youth participation.

Regarding youth-led advocacy activities: one Youth-Led Advocacy training was held with 21 young people, and 5 Youth-Led Advocacy ToTs were held with 63 young people and 6 adults who used these skills to train other young people in the communities they worked in.

Illustration of a hand holding a megaphone

Trainings & Countries


Between 2016 - 2018, CHOICE designed and hosted 4 trainings in Ethiopia. In 2016, as part of GUSO, CHOICE hosted a Youth Leadership and Youth-led Advocacy training with TaYA, DEC, FGAE, YNSD with 21 young people. In 2017, CHOICE hosted 2 trainings in Ethiopia: a Meaningful Youth Participation ToT with 9 young people and 2 adults from TaYA, NPC and YCC as part of GUSO and YID, and a PMEL Organizational Development training with the GUSO alliance that brought together 8 young people and 4 adults. Finally, in 2018 CHOICE facilitated a Youth Leadership ToT with Taya as part of both the GUSO and YID programs – 15 young people took part in the training.

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Between 2016 - 2018, CHOICE designed and hosted 4 trainings in Ethiopia. In 2016, as part of GUSO, CHOICE hosted a Youth Leadership and Youth-led Advocacy training with TaYA, DEC, FGAE, YNSD with 21 young people. In 2017, CHOICE hosted 2 trainings in Ethiopia: a Meaningful Youth Participation ToT with 9 young people and 2 adults from TaYA, NPC and YCC as part of GUSO and YID, and a PMEL Organizational Development training with the GUSO alliance that brought together 8 young people and 4 adults. Finally, in 2018 CHOICE facilitated a Youth Leadership ToT with Taya as part of both the GUSO and YID programs – 15 young people took part in the training.


CHOICE facilitated 3 trainings in Indonesia between 2016 and 2018. In 2016, CHOICE facilitated a Youth-Led Advocacy ToT for ARI as part of GUSO. The training focused on meaningful youth participation, engagement in Model United Nationals and local advocacy. The training brought together 16 young people. In 2017, as part of both GUSO and YID, CHOICE conducted a second Meaningful Youth Participation ToT with 6 young people from ARI. Finally, in 2018 CHOICE conducted a final ToT with ARI on Youth Leadership where 14 young people joined the training as part of GUSO and YID.


IN 2017, CHOICE facilitated a Training of Trainers on Meaningful Youth Participation with NAYA, NPC and YCC as part of GUSO and YID. In total 10 people attended: 9 young people and 1 adult.


In 2017 and 2018, CHOICE conducted 2 Training of Trainers with CYECE as part of GUSO and YID: 1 on meaningful youth participation and the other on youth leadership. The MYP training engaged 5 young people and 9 young people took part in the Youth Leadership training.


In 2017, CHOICE facilitated a training and a ToT on meaningful youth participation with Coalizão, as part of YID. The training on meaningful youth participation engaged 14 young people and the Training of Trainers built the capacity of 9 young people. In addition, in 2018 a Youth Leadership ToT was held with 9 young people and 6 adults.


In 2017, CHOICE facilitated a Training of Trainers on meaningful youth participation with GAL as part of YID – of the 4 participants that joined the ToT 3 were under 30 years of age and 1 was an adult.

“Young people now know that meaningful youth participation is not a privilege. Instead, it is their right to ask for meaningful youth participation and they can claim this right”

Dagem Demerew,
Youth Country Coordinator GUSO, Ethiopia

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Stories of Change

Portret illustration of Dagem Demerew
Portret illustration of Nadine Rodrigues
Portret illustration of Chileshe Mwansa
Portret illustration of Pragya Singh
Portret illustration of Bettie Namale and Mphatso Chikondi Mtembenuzeni
Portret illustration of Victor Rasugu
Portret illustration of Dagem Demerew

“To ensure young people’s voices and concerns are heard and catered to, we need to involve them in all the processes and decision making about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Lindsay Vogelzang,
Executive Director CHOICE

Project leads

Pragya Singh & Jannemiek Evelo


Sanne Thijssen


Natasha Barton


Britt Duppen

Web Development

Bosse Kemper

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