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Restless Development was in Johannesburg last week, leading a Regional Consultation on Youth-Led Accountability powered by The United Nations Popular Fund and She Decides with 23 young leaders from East and Southern Africa who are experts in sexual reproductive health and rights campaigning and advocacy. Fitiavana Miangaly Randriantseheno took part in the event. 

My name is Fitiavana Miangaly Randriantseheno (if you don’t know how to say my name just call me Mia). I am 22 years-old Malagasy Politician, passionate about volunteer work.

When I was younger, I always wondered what would be my place in this world. I studied because my parents told me to do so: I didn’t even understand the connection between studies and success and i asked myself; why do they force me to study? Why can’t I just stay home and play? Why can’t I do the things that I want?

My parents used to tell us that “Ny Fianarana no lova tsara indrindra” or “Studies are the best heritage”.

They do not have big houses or a huge amount of money but they brought us to school with the hope that we would find our way to success.

As the years passed and I interacted with people, I began to understand the importance of education for building strong skills. For my bachelors degree I studied Social Sciences Applied to Development at the Catholic University of Madagascar. I am now finishing my Master degree about Population and Development. Some of my research is about early pregnancies, which is an issue many young girls are facing in Madagascar.

My work as a volunteer

My career started when I was an intern in UNFPA country office. Since then, I joined a Youth Network which is called “Tanora-Iray”, we are the Young Ambassadors involved in Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR). Malagasy Young People are threatened by issues such as early pregnancy, exposure to HIV/AIDS, tobacco and drug use, which are all often linked to harmful socio-cultural practices.

A survey showed that Malagasy young people start their sex life relatively early but adolescents and young people still have difficulties accessing information and services about sexual and reproductive health, an area where issues remain a concern. This lack of information contributes to accentuating the phenomenon of early pregnancy as well as HIV/Aids.

Therefore, our Youth Network is engaged in solving those issues as peer-educators. Tanora-Iray is a national youth led organization established in 2016. The organization operates in four regions. It targets youth and adolescents and its main purpose is to respond to Young people’s SRHR needs and gender-based violence.

How I got into Politics:

As the UNFPA Madagascar has always worked with Young People, they would invite us to their events. I had a great opportunity to meet Malagasy Politicians and decision makers and tell them about my volunteer work. I started to build relationships with a deputy Member of Parliament who was  very impressed by our volunteer work.

The deputy Member of Parliament then became a Minister and she invited me to join her team: my political career started there. I’m a member of the Cabinet of the Malagasy Ministry of Technical Education and Vocational Training as charged of missions.

I can’t say that I love working as a politician, I’ve just started to discover this world and still discovering my interests.

Mia and the UNFPA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Dr. Julitta Onabanjo

People wonder how I have had so much experiences at such a young age. I just share my knowledge and am kind to whoever I meet. Everyone in this world has something to share. when you share what you have, people will answer back…

We always have to be kind, it doesn’t kill anyone!

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