passing the torch at the youth ambassador srhr handover event: the next chapter

Youth are powerful agents of change”, spoke the Secretary General of the Dutch Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Joke Brandt today, at the Youth Ambassador SRHR handover event: the Next Chapter. At this event, former Youth Ambassador SRHR Lotte Dijkstra stepped down and made room for Sanne Thijssen, our new Youth Ambassador!

CHOICE couldn’t agree more with the words of the Secretary General and we were proud to say goodbye to Lotte. Over the last 1,5 year she has done a great job as Youth Ambassador SRHR, raising awareness about youth’s sexual rights at the national and international level. You can find an infographic about her year of impact here!


Before stepping down, Lotte presented her recommendations to improve meaningful youth participation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the broader government to the Secretary General. Her main recommendations are:

  1. Think of youth in ALL policy
    An analysis of the youth effect should be mandatory in all policy and active and meaningful participation should also be encouraged in national policy
  2. Awareness and capacity building for adults
    To become aware of their position of power and to learn to work together with youth, not only young people, but adults to need to receive capacity building
  3. Involve the young people it’s about
    When making policy, involve those young people the policy is targeted at and try to reach a more diverse group of youth
  4. Invest in youth participation
    Youth need budget to work together at an equal footing with adults and for cooperation with young people you need to reserve time. Therefore invest time and financial means in youth participation.

You can read the full (Dutch) document here.


After the handover of the recommendations it was time for Sanne Thijssen to give her inaugural speech. Sanne was very moved when she talked about her main focuses which are youth friendly services and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in humanitarian contexts: “For me SRHR is very personal. I know family members or friends of family members who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). As a child, I have lived in countries where early pregnancy is really common. SRHR issues are much closer to home than many think.

Currently, Sanne is setting the goals and priorities that she will strive to follow up on during the next year. We are sure that Sanne will be a great Youth Ambassador SRHR. You can follow her journey on her blog and Social Media!