Advocates’ International Division works in partnership with colleague organizations in low- to middle-income countries to implement programs and advocates for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. The International Division provides information, training, and capacity-building assistance to youth-led and youth-serving organizations, youth activists, policy makers, and the media.
International Youth Activist Network
Advocates’ International Youth Activist Network (iYAN) consists of youth activists and adult allies from developing countries who are working to influence policies and programs in their countries and internationally to support improved youth reproductive and sexual health. Members of the iYAN connect to share information about their work; are provided information about scholarships and networking opportunities; get up-to-date information on downloadable advocacy materials and tool kits; and receive a monthly newsletter with information on advocacy, youth activism, and mobilization on important issues like sex education, access to contraception, and prevention of adolescent maternal mortality and HIV.
International Youth Speak Out Project
The International Youth Speak Out Project (iYSO) seeks to empower young people to advocate for their own reproductive and sexual health through advocacy, public awareness-raising, and mobilization of peers to take action. Objectives include providing information and key resources and facilitating linkages and opportunities for youth advocates in low- to middle-income countries countries; supporting organizations conducting youth advocacy through training and technical assistance; and building the capacity of selected partner organizations in Jamaica, Nigeria, and Nepal to host and support a group of youth leaders to advocate at the national and international level for evidence-based reproductive and sexual health programs and policies.
International Youth Leadership Council
Council members serve as youth educators, advocates, and spokespeople on adolescent sexual and reproductive health issues. The goals of the Council are to: 1) educate U.S. policy makers on the importance of increasing international family planning dollars; 2) educate U.S. policy makers about the importance of increasing funding for global HIV/AIDS; 3) increase public awareness about the impact of global HIV/AIDS on young people internationally; 4) increase public awareness about the impact of international family planning on the economic development and sexual health of young people internationally; and 5) educate the American and international media about the issues of global HIV/AIDS and international family planning.
To fulfill these goals, Council members organize campus events, utilize media outlets, develop educational workshops, and lobby policy makers at the federal and international level on the importance of U.S. commitment to fighting global HIV and AIDS and of supporting international family planning.
The Jamaica’s Solution to Youth Empowerment and Lifestyle Project (JA-STYLE)
JA-STYLE is a five-year initiative, funded by USAID, designed to support the efforts of the Jamaica Ministry of Health to address challenges facing the nation’s youth in the areas of reproductive health, substance abuse, crime, and violence. The project is developing programs and activities in all 14 parishes of Jamaica to increase knowledge and improve attitudes and skills related to healthy lifestyles among youth.
Advocates is a sub-contractor to the University Research Corporation, which is the lead/prime organization for the project. Other sub-contractors include Health Strategies International and Population Media Center. Advocates’ role consists of overseeing the NGO capacity building component of the project, which includes organizational capacity building and training of non-governmental organizations, community-based oganizations, faith-based organizations, and other youth-serving entities to support life skills education, parent-child communication, community mobilization, advocacy, and youth participation.
Latino Media Initiative
International Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth Health and Rights Initiative June 2011 to present
Advocates supports online peer education and advocacy programming for and by GLBTQ youth in the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. In partnership with local organizations in Jamaica, Nigeria, and Uganda, Advocates is working to build local capacity in management of online peer education programming for GLBT youth as well as youth-led advocacy efforts to advance GLBT sexual and reproductive health and rights.
International Youth Bloggers
Advocates supports a team of youth journalists, currently ages 20-23 from Cameroon, Nigeria, Jamaica, the Philippines, Belize, and Kyrgistan who blog regularly to elevate youth sexual and reproductive health and rights issues through the voice of young people within new media. The team of youth journalists also works to address the connections between sexual and reproductive health and rights and climate change as part of their blogging. In the past, the international youth bloggers have also reported from various conferences, including the 1st African Youth Development Forum held in Ethiopia, the United Nations Conferences, including the Climate Change Conferences, regional HIV/AIDS Conferences, regional and/or country consultation meetings, among others. The journalists post blogs on Advocates’ global youth activist web site, amplifyyourvoice.org.
Youth-Friendly Services in Nigeria and Burkina Faso: Linking Youth Peer Educators and Providers for Partnership in Prevention and Care
Advocates supports initiatives in Nigeria and Burkina Faso to increase access to reproductive health services among youth. In partnership with Education as a Vaccine in Nigeria and Mwangaza Action in Burkina Faso, Advocates provides technical assistance on community mobilization, youth-adult partnerships, and youth-friendly services. Both the work in Nigeria and Burkina Faso include community-based components, peer education, and training of providers from public and private sector clinics, in addition to two pharmacies in Nigeria.
The Time is Now, an online campaign making connections between Climate Change and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
January 2012 -present (www.amplifyyourvoice.org/thetimeisnow)
, Director, International Division