|International Youth Activist Network|
Advocates’ International Youth Activist Network (iYAN) consists of youth activists and adult allies from low and middle-income 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. Sign up for the IYAN Newsletter!
The International Youth Speak Out Project
The International Youth Speak Out Project (iYSO) is housed within iYAN. 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 developing countries; supporting organizations conducting youth advocacy through training and technical assistance; and building the capacity of selected partner organizations in Jamaica, Nigeria, and Ethiopia 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.
Meet the iYAN Members:
Jamaica Youth Activist Bios (J-STAR)
Nepal Youth Activist Bios (Youth Activist Leadership Council)
Nigeria Youth Activist Bios (Youth Advocates Group)
I am Benesha, a 19 Year old Mother who is jovial, fun, real and authentic. I am an aspiring journalist who recently applied for teachers' college for this fall. In my spare time I love to write dub poems and songs. I also love to sing and hope to one day have a thriving singing career in the future. I am a member of Jamaicans Safely Tackling Adolescent Reproductive health (JSTAR), a council of young people working to improve the national policies related to adolescent reproductive and sexual health. My advocacy efforts are focused on addressing the issues that affect the health and wellbeing of young mothers living with and affected HIV/AIDS.
I also work with Eve for life, where I participate in peer education sessions, workshops, trainings and advocacy efforts for young mothers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. I believe that youth participation and inclusion is paramount to the SRHR and HIV/AIDS response in Jamaica. A passionate youth advocate and youth leader, I am always volunteering my time and effort to the SRHR development of Jamaican Youth.
I am by nature an advocate. My passion for advocacy has no doubt fueled my desire to pursue studies in law and has been the foundation upon which I have fashioned my involvement in youth development initiatives. To date, I have participated in a number of youth-led organisations whose mandates accord with this personal desire. These include The University of the West Indies Students Today Alumni Tomorrow (UWISTAT) Vice Chancellor's Ambassadors Corps, the Norman Manley Law School 'Men at Work Initiative' and most recently the Jamaicans Safely Tackling Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights (JSTAR) Council.
Through these involvements, I have honed my advocacy skills and have further gained an intimate appreciation of its importance. Advocacy to me is not merely representing someone else. Intrinsically, it's an avenue to effect real, long lasting and tangible changes with a view to the realisation of a specified purpose for a target group. The coined concept of 'adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights' represents an integral part of the global progression towards the improvement of the quality of life for all human beings. The JSTAR council, in my estimation, provides unique machinery for highlighting the importance of this and other issues, which are of significance especially to youth and youth development. It is for these reasons that I have offered myself for service as a member of the JSTAR council.
This is a brief insight into the rationale for my involvements. Apart from this I am interested in sports, specifically football and track and field. I love to explore different cultures and I am an avid lover of the sea. Ultimately though, I hope to be actively involved in the Jamaican judiciary where I can make a marked contribution to the development of legal policies in my country with anticipated penetration to other Commonwealth Caribbean jurisdictions.
Passionate, empowered and goal oriented are just a few words I normally used to describe myself. Hi, I am Mario Williams an energetic youth advocate currently working with the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network. In college I was given the opportunity to work with JYAN/JSTAR and I jumped right at it. Being a youth advocate was right up my alley;though it was not what I was used to advocating for I was willing to learn. Being a part of the International Youth Speak out Project I learnt more about sexual and reproductive health rights than I learned in high school. The experience has opened my eyes to see where the Jamaican health and educational system have given the Jamaican youth limited education on their sexual health mainly because of our “Christian” based educational system and morals, not knowing that they put our youth at risk by not properly preparing them for the many possibilities which lay ahead.
Being a part of this project I feel as if it is my duty to properly inform my fellow Jamaican youth about their sexual and health rights so they can go out and educate, empowering their peers to be advocates for themselves , and it is for these reasons why I am a proud and passionate member of JYAN/JSTAR and I am excited to be a part of the IYSO project.
I am a 24 year old female from Jamaica. I am very passionate about addressing youth sexual and reproductive health issue and as such I have chosen to get involved with several youth organizations, including the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN), to advocate for this cause. I am currently a JSTAR council member working on the International Youth Speak Out project at Advocates for Youth. My journey as an advocate for youth sexual and reproductive health and rights started in high school when I was trained as peer educator. Since then I have sought to seize every opportunity to impart knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights to my peers and policy-makers both locally and internationally.
My motivation to get involved in youth advocacy stemmed from the harsh realities faced by young people, many of whom have not been empowered to represent themselves. I believe that in a country as small yet as global as Jamaica it is of outmost importance that our young people be made aware of issues that affect their sexual and reproductive health as this has far reaching implications for other areas of life. It my dream for the youth of my country and by extension the world to realize how important it is that we seek to make healthy, well informed decisions not only as it relates to SRHR issues but in life as a whole.
My philosophy is exemplified by a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
I am an outgoing, ambitious, hard-working and self-motivated Jamaican female, who is driven by purpose and the thought of success. I believe I have many purposes one of which is to contribute to the development and advancement of my country in a positive way. I am extremely passionate about uplifting and empowering young people so that they can create the lives they want to live and advance the community and society in which they reside. My academic background is in Clinical Psychology and I have been a SRHR advocate with JYAN because SRHR issues are critical across the developmental lifespan, but more so during adolescence. I am dedicated to: advocating for better (available, accessible and confidential) mental health services are for young people facing SRH crises; ensuring that young people are involved in processes and policy decision making concerning young people; as well as advocating for comprehensive sexuality education- which will ensure young people attain the life skills they need to make responsible informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
I am Rochelle and I am currently a student of the University of Technology, Jamaica. I began work in the Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health field at a young age when I was trained to be a Peer Counsellor by the youth arm of the Beth Jacobs Clinic: Youth Advocacy Movement (YAM) in Jamaica. That experience caused me to increasingly desire to work with young people. During my high school years, I committed time to serving in the capacity as Peer Educator, and Guidance Class facilitator for grades 7, 8, 9 and 11, on issues including puberty, sexual and reproductive health, drug use and abuse, sexuality, and abortion. I am now an advocate with the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network, where I am able to lobby for young people from a policy point of view.
I am fanatical about youth empowerment, and I am passionate about the sensitization of youth, and helping them to become more informed about the issues that affect them and the rights that they have. It's a great feeling when you see someone who may have given up on life become empowered for success because of the impact someone had on their life. It is always a joy when I look at how much youth in marginalized communities I have worked in have grown because other young people took the time out to invest in their lives. Now, through the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network, I have the opportunity to lobby for the rights of these young people, and ensure that their needs are catered for and their rights protected in the national policy framework.
I'd like to see a generation of young people who are knowledgeable about their rights as youth, and are passionate about ensuring that their rights are protected, and that all their peers are adequately informed as well. I'd like to see a generation of young people who are interested in national development and avail themselves to ensuring that as the country develops, its young people not only develop with it, but are a part of the development process. I believe that once there are people willing to hear the voices of youth, inform them, interact with them, and join them in the movement, we will start to see a change in our nation's youth — which is why I am so excited to be a part of the international youth speak out council for Jamaica.
My name is Sabrenia and I am currently a youth activist for youth sexual health and rights with the International Youth Speak Out (IYSO) council in Kingston Jamaica. My involvement in youth welfare began in high school as a peer counsellor. I was selected to attend a peer educator training workshop aimed at teaching how to deal with issues affecting youth and how to relate as a counsellor and an educator. The area discussed that interests me the most and influences all that I do today is that of youth sexual health, rights and consciousness.
I am motivated and inspired to invest my time in working towards youth development and empowerment because I see where it is much needed in my immediate society and the world. Youths continuously fall as victims to the same problems and I believe that only through active voices and active hands that a solution will be found. I advocate because I think it is important for youths to 'know' and know why it is important to 'know'. Knowledge is power and youth should be powerful. It is my opinion that the youths of a country are the country, as they will be the decision makers and rulers of the future.
It is my personal wish for youth of my generation and the future to able to look at the issues affecting us and identify them as obstacles of the past and use them to build a foundation for a progressive future. I think it is important that young people speak out for sexual health and rights because it's a matter often underestimated but much in need of attention. Lifting our voices shows that we are serious about constructive change and advancement into the future. In this way we are able to inspire action in others and build a proactive force.
I am 21 years old and is currently pursuing a degree, majoring in Integrated Marketing & Communication under the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Mona. I have been volunteering among various organizations relating to HIV/AIDS and other STD's for the past five years. I started out Volunteering at the Ministry of Health (MOH) where I mostly did World Aids Day talks, demonstrations and some counselling. My reasons for volunteering among these organizations were because of lessons learned and passed onto her and realizing the stigma and discrimination that comes with the topic. I also noticed over the years of volunteering the difference one person can make by telling a story in their work and so I have continued till now where she has found herself advocating for youth at the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN). I continue to find ways even in my school life on campus to promote safer sex and prevent stigma and discrimination by sharing facts about HIV/AIDS.
Nepal Activist Bios (Youth Activist Leadership Group)
I, Alina, after finishing my 10+2, chose to study BPH as I always wanted to work in the health sector. I get satisfaction from talking to people about their problems and being able to help others. Also, I have a listener's ear!! Always energetic and enthusiastic, I love to travel to new places, take lots of pictures. I am totally attracted by the cultural and ethnic diversity in our country. To sum up about me, I am a human being and would do my best to let another human being enjoy his/her right to live with dignity.
I say practice only does not make one perfect but the perfect practice does and also that history is created by actions, not by words.
I am Deepak. I have been engaged in the field of sexual and reproductive health and its right from the very beginning of my career. It started when I was in class eight when I became the member of such organization which used to advocate for the sexual and reproductive health. There I learnt about the effective ways of advocating and the best way to make a better outcome. I used my skill of acting to influencing people about HIV/AIDS. As I have been brought up and living in the narrow society, I came to learn that the subject and issue of sexual and reproductive health is not the easy course to move through but I went on and learnt a lot about the way to control the situation. Condition that I have faced motivated me to work further in the field of sexual and reproductive health and still trying to do some remarkable thing in this field. If we view the present situation, most of the youth are moving away of their track and are still unaware even if they are educated. Future generation must know their potential and strength to make a change rather than complaining. I want future and present generation to be combined to make an effective change in the society.
It is very necessary to learn about the sexual and reproductive health because they are the essential part of life. This however has been one of the major issues of concern for the youths as because of the narrow society they feel uncomfortable to share with their families and even with their peer groups. So the education about the sexual and reproductive health is very important to understand mainly the youths.
I am Kriti, aged 19, a young, outspoken, enthusiastic and well-determined youth, born and brought up in Nepalgunj who is enrolled in various social activist programs. I am a youth who aspires to grow as a real social worker serving to humanity and to the nation as a whole. In living my dream I am currently studding bachelor in social work at St. Xavier College. I am person who always seeks for contrive ways to grow my knowledge particularly concerning about the competition that is taking place in the complex world. Besides huddling out with my studies I am also currently working at ENPHO (Environment and Public Health Organization) that advocates for sound health and environment. However I have also spent a year as a communal worker in collaboration with PIE (Partnership in Education) at annamnagar settlement observing their pace of development, their struggle for existence and analyzing a striking note where we stand and where they fall. Apart from Curriculum Avenue I now being a member of youth activist leadership council I am enlightened enough to work in the sector to have vivid understanding regarding SRHR. Being an enthusiastic and passionate youth I have also moreover contributed my time in fund raising and different other awareness promoting programs regarding menstrual hygiene at different schools of Kathmandu valley. Compassionate in all the works I do I also believe that being a youth dedication and hard work is all that is needed. Singing, dancing, table tennis and various other reckless spending activities has always been a subject of my interest. Similarly politics is also a matter of my concern. I am fascinated in writing up articles whereas an article named "Father figures are important" has been published in one of the newspaper as well.
However my advising note at the end is that all youth should aspire towards social welfare activities and to athletics to practice clean living fair play and good sportsmanship. And I also hope that I can extend my hands to serve to the needier at any time and at any place possible.
I, Medha, 23, a public health graduate from Pokhara University, am currently working as Program Coordinator of YUWA, a youth led and youth run organization in Nepal, working with young people between ages of 16 to 27. Currently, I am doing PGD in women studies.
I like working with young people, in the field of SRHR and HIV in grassroots and national level, particularly in advocacy and program implementation. I am supporting a group of young activists working for policy advocacy in Nepal through YUWA in partnership with Advocates for Youth. Also, I am reaching out to young minds and college students through programs in partnership with MTV Staying Alive Foundation. Recently I was at the CrowdOutAIDS Town Hall meeting with Her Royal Highness Crown Princess of Norway and Executive Director of UNAIDS. She is in the drafting committee of youth strategy of UNAIDS. Earlier, I have worked as intern in National Center for AIDS and STD Control to provide technical and programmatic support in planning, implementation, monitoring of HIV/AIDS activities in central and district level. I have worked in tracking international commitment made by government on SRH and HIV & AIDS like UNGASS, ICPD and MDG. I was also the President of Nepal Youth Red Cross Circle of my college.
I am Meghna, 21 years old, a transgender activist born at Damak, Jhapa (East region on Nepal). In September 2010, I won the Miss Pink pageant organized by Blue Diamond Society and also get the opportunity to represent Nepal at Miss International Queen Pageant at 2010. At first, I didn’t even know who I was. I knew I was different from others males & female, but I didn’t know why or how. When I reached out to the Blue Diamond Society after finding out about my sexuality, I was extremely happy to know there were other peoples like me. After the pageant lots of responsibility had been added on my shoulder. I am currently working as a hotline counselor in Blue Diamond Society, an organization that work for human rights and HIV program for Sexual and Gender minorities (LGBTI). I had an awful time at collage because peoples would call me dirty names and say nasty things and at that time for the reason I had to quit collage. But now i am doing the course of Fashion Designer and also thinking of joining collage again. The happiest moment of my life was when my family accepted me the way I am. At first it was hard to explaining my family but finally they accepted me I was still their child even though I was little different from others. They accept me and my sexuality now; they have to face lot of bad things from neighbors and others in the society. They were all thrilled for me when I won the Miss Pink title in September.
For me, Pragun, 22, sexual & reproductive health issues have always been the subject of my interest and I have always desired to learn more and more about it so that I could help to create more awareness among the people regarding this issue. The determination, energies and commitments of various Members of YALC & YUWA for creating the awareness in people motives me an a lot.
I want my generation & future generations' people to get the knowledge & Ideas regarding sexual & reproductive health so that they would be able to prevent various sexual & reproductive health problems.
As in early childhood, I, Rohan, got chance to live and experience life in different rural parts of Nepal. Since the day I was born, I used to get all the comforts and luxury as a child. I slowly grew up in that environment and found some differences between myself and people living in those villages. At the extreme cold temperature, I used to be warm and comfortable whereas children of mine age were even deprived of a single cloth. I slowly grew older. I learned and got experienced with time. I found that it is immoral to discriminate people for their color, religion, language and their nationality. For me the only religion was of Humanity. So, I decided to do volunteering not only for my country but for this whole world as one. The problem with HIV and AIDS was also gaining its pace. The discrimination with people having HIV was unbearable to me. The issue with sexual reproductive health and HIV /AIDS was not taken too seriously, which was of course not the sign of the civilized society. But I always dreamt of having prejudice free society. And I had the most powerful weapon of the all- Hope! And, hope is something that makes life possible; or else there’d be no reason to carry on through life. Hope for what?-Hope for positive change. The change, that Nepalese society was deficient.
I’m sure there were hundreds of people who termed Galileo crazy when he first claimed the sun to be the center of the universe. It was same with me. I was termed crazy and a lunatic dreamer. But, those became my inspiration. I got to know about the Mercy Corporation USA. Mercy Corp. was fight for the HIV and AIDS. They were running sports programs for the young AIDS victims in Central African Republic. Event such as football match in Africa was a good promoting source. But they needed lots of promotion and funds. I created a fundraising and awareness page via mercy Corps. I used social media such as Facebook and Buzz to promote. I also made appealing pictures to grab the attention. Those hard works got paid off. Loads of people were influenced by this. They gave enormous response and appreciated my work. Mercy Corp. also appreciated the work I did. I was pleased with my work. Whatever we do cannot change the structure of the universe but it can surely change the live of few people. So, let us all see a dream. If it requires one to be an idiot to be a dreamer, so be it! Rather lets be a lunatic dreamer-the dreamer of beautiful dreams and endless heights of freedom, the dreamer of the beautiful Shangri-La-just like the picture with vast open space — where everyone lives in togetherness, love, prosperity, and peace.
I'm Sachet, age 20. I'm currently pursuing my Bachelors of Arts in Social Work and Rural Development 1st Year in Thames International College.
I first got involved in the field of youth sexual health and rights when I attended the discussion on "sex education as a curriculum, where should it start in schools?" And during the Youth Conclave 2011 organized by YUWA, I attend the session of Youth Friendly SRHR. Besides this, I'm also an intern in Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities of Nepal (FSGMN) which advocates for the rights of LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Third Gender and Inter-sex), HIV infected people, MSM, MSW and FSW.
I never prioritize my work; all work for me is of equal importance. And I want to complete all the work given to me no matter what. The motivation I get is from my parents. They have worked all their life to give me good education and better opportunities. They have done their part, now it's my turn to repay their faith in me by doing something noteworthy. So I try my best to become a well known in any activities that I carry out.
I want a better environment for not just my generation, but for the upcoming generation as well. Nepal has been going through a lot of changes in the recent years, and the environment is getting worse. Because of this, many prospective youths have gone abroad for better opportunities. So I want the political scenario to be just, so that the youth can have a better environment to study and create opportunities. Sex is a part of life and no matter how much we try to avoid it, we'll still be a part of it. And the state recognizes us as the building blocks of the nation. We'll be the ones to run the nation. So we have to advocate for sexual reproductive health and rights to make everyone aware. We have to make good use of our energy. So utilizing our energy in the field of SRHR would be perfect.
From my early hood, work to humanity always fascinated me, Sagar. As a student of Social Work in St. Xavier’s College, I wanted be the helping hand to those people who can’t raise their voice. Nepal is the conservative country, issues like sexual right, reproductive rights, and HIV/AIDS are the hidden hurt to the victim. Those pains are trigger out only when they are in the very dangerous stage. Being a youth, voice with power and loudness, I was in search of such platform to work for those marginalized population. YALC gave me the institution frame to work for those people and issues through Activism in the youth sexual health and rights movement.
As the tag holder of youth, I always had great ambitions; always seek for bringing change in the society. Always wanted to be different among my peer groups, always wanted to be the superhero, these attitudes are the motivating factor for me. After I attended different seminars and workshops at college, national and international level, which not only help me to enhance my knowledge but also gave me the clear line about who youth are and what they can do. Youth are the pillar of the society and nation. I believe that youth can change the society and can bring perpetual peace and progress in this world. Youth should concentrate on all the hidden issues of the society. As aforementioned issues are not easily spoken in the society so youth should aware the people and advocate on these issues. Sexual and Reproductive system is the natural process of human being. Despite this fact, people feel awkwardness to talk about it. I want youth of my generation and future generation to make the awkward-less society in these issues. I believe so I’m. Someone has to be different to make difference.
I am Surendra, 21 years old man with good health, emotional stability with ability to travel in various part of the country. My birth took place at Jorayal, Doti, the place where there is burden of geographical, political, economical and low infrastructures. I had seen scarcity and pitfalls in the life of that rural place. The things like discriminations, violence, coercion and social evils are still acts as a tradition of that place. From my birth I am against the exploitation, and thinking for their remedies/solutions. I along with my family moved to Dhangadhi during 2058 B.S. Dhangadhi was considered as facilitated in comparison to the Jorayal. I found there were the similar conditions alike I had left behind. I learned the facts about human right firstly in Dhangadhi. But, that was the shocking condition to me, which I found completely against the scenario of Jorayal. Weaker group of our society: women, old people and child, are still in the chain of discrimination. Our human right was deviating in all steps. I still remember the days when I cried on my condition. I was unable to do anything for myself and for my people. Though, I had thoughts in my mind; promises towards my commitment.
Most of the time during 2060s, I think of my country. I still remember we had debates on ‘Youth: as pillar of nation’. The aspect of wrong things going on youth like; drug abuse and gang fights, were the most encountered events I had learned at Kailali. As we had an open boundary with India, I frequently heard most cases of rape and sexual violence through Indians. The fact that we Nepalese had almost similar conditions to western society, still there is need of sexual and reproductive health education in Nepal due to our conservative and traditional society. Dominations and everyday violence against weaker group made me really a part of community oriented SRHR program. I feel good when I involve as public servant. In touch with Youth I found FRUSTRATION and DEPRESSION are the only problems challenging to our coming future, which has direct consequences on Sexual and Reproductive Health. One is healthy and fulfilled only when he/she has good reproductive health, also the whole gist of living creature is concerned to this fact. Thus, I feel there is need of sexual and reproductive health program which must be youth oriented.
I, Ursula Singh, was born in 1988 September .I am highly interested and motivated in carrying out activities that serve society. I am currently pursuing my Bachelors (major in English and Social Work) at St. Xavier’s college.
I have a keen interest on the issue of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights. In the days ahead to come, I wish to actively work in the field of young people’s sexual reproductive health rights. In the course of my interest, I have completed my internship and voluntary works in National Center for AIDS and STD control. Moreover, I am an active participant and member at Rotaract club of Himalaya Patan, Nepal Red Cross Society and YUWA.
In this huge social service paradigm, I have focused my utter devotion towards the equality of sexes, HIV/AIDS and also my involvement in SRHR issue, which aptly denotes my interest and future.
Having interacted on a grassroots level with the effected people, my compassion and emotions have no boundaries to elevate them from their misery. I strongly believe that action speaks thousand times louder than words, yet words are the first line of defense/offence for any human beings.
I dream, unlike other dreams which are impossible, that the stigma of HIV/AIDS and gender bias will be eradicated through education in my lifetime and towards this end I want to pursue until it is achieved.
Nigeria Activist Bios (Youth Advocates Group)
I am Aliyu Abdulrahman Bello, a young person coming from a large Muslim family from the northern part of Nigeria, who is passionate and determined to make positive changes in the lives of other young people around him. I am 22years old student of National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), Abuja, Nigeria and an active member of the Education as a Vaccines’ Youth Advocates Group.
I got involved with activism in the youth sexual health and rights movement because I wanted to be a change agent and a positive influence in the northern region of Nigeria and to northern youths. I have seen young northerners suffer too many times due to ignorance. This has been an issue that I care very deeply about as I am a young person.
I believe that if you educate young people will make a whole lot of difference. Just as the saying goes “share the little knowledge you get and be rewarded in eternity” and to do that all I can do is to try as much as I can to see that the little knowledge I have is being put to good use by giving it out to those who need it and to avoid chance of contracting an STD or getting pregnant and other complication in life regarding sexual reproductive health.
I believe my generation and future generations has the right to be given the whole picture, the both side of the issues. I want them to be given the tools to make the right decision in life. If young people don't stand up and make their voices heard, then change will not happen and lives will be hard for the upcoming generation.
I am a student at Institute of Computer Academy ICA, Abuja, Nigeria. I completed secondary education from United Grammar School Irele in Ondo state. I am earnestly working towards a University degree to study political science. As a member of the Youth Advocate Group, I have a passion for humanity, as part of the group’s objective to promote healthy sexuality and provide an opportunity to reach young ones with HIV/AIDS prevention and education. I have learned that it is through proclamation that the world can be secure, and I also believe that if there is no chance there is no change; this is why I want to maximize every opportunity to reach out people especially the youth on sexual reproductive health because youths are the leaders of today. I believe without the youths, a nation is hopeless.
I was born on the 25th of March 1993 in Lagos, hails from Delta state. Presently, I am a Second Year Student of Mass Communication in Bingham University, Nigeria. Before then, I obtained a Diploma in Journalism at the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja in 2010.
My interest as a member of Education as a Vaccines’ Youth Advocates Group stems from the fact that a lot of young people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria contact the virus through ignorance and are living with it in ignorance and sometimes in silence for fear of stigmatization. I intend to curb this ugly trend through the Youth Advocacy Group platform. I really enjoy meeting people, interacting and getting to know them.
I am from Ondo state; I am an extrovert, which has given me the name “extreme guy”. I am a prospective computer science student of university of Abuja. I became interested in sexual health and rights movement since I was in high school. I actually got inspired by my peers who were actively involved in peer educator. On the other hand, I hated the fact that a lot of young people like me didn’t know their value, this made me decide I was going to do something different that will impact others. I recently joined Education as a Vaccine as a volunteer on their Youth Advocates Group. As a member, I have the platform to actually reach out to my peers and policy-makers as well.
I am passionate about being the voice for many youths like me, who don’t have the platform that I have and to enlighten my male friends about sexual and reproductive health problems facing most youths in Nigeria.
The thing I like the most is having a good relationship with my peers and helping them when they need help.
I am a graduate of Microbiology. I have been involved in activism from senior secondary school when I participated in academic debates and social activities towards spreading the word on HIV/AIDS. I am motivated to advocate because I can give aid to people with little opportunities and help them realize the potential of equal opportunities. I see a future where a young person can look beyond where he is, to gain strength from past experience to gain personal development. It is important that young people advocate for sexual health and rights so that they can give wise counsel to the younger generation and take responsibility for their health and contribution to solving national challenges.
I am a 400-level Sociology student at the University of Abuja with a strong passion for young people to inspire and empower through my talents, which are primarily talking and drama. I got involved in activism in the youth sexual health and rights movement about 4years ago when I realized I had the potential to break out of the box of mediocrity, insecurity and fear. I had a strong desire to step out to do greater things. Given the fact that my sexual rights were violated as a child even till my teen years, this gave me more reason to want to change the norm. It was out of that, I decided I wanted to do something to protect and empower other young people. I took on volunteering with the Youth Advocates Group hosted by Education as a Vaccine (EVA), in collaboration with Advocates for Youth.
Over the past few years, I have gained expertise on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, policies, advocacy, and new media. I have had the opportunity to make appearances/presentations on TV, radio, conferences and blogged to raise awareness and educate policy-makers about sexual and reproductive health and RIGHTS issues.
In April 2010, I got the volunteer award for excellence, diligence and hard work, in EVA. Also in 2010, I had the privilege to participate in numerous conferences at the regional, national, and global levels representing the voice of youth. I made a presentation on youth leadership and advocacy at the Women Deliver Conference, in Washington, DC, and the African Youth Development Forum, in Ethiopia.
I love what I do because as much as I have developed capacity to do the things that I never thought I could do, I have seen and met young people who have been inspired and challenged by me sharing my experiences or just doing what I do as a youth advocate.
I strongly desire that every young person will realize their full potential and value, so that they can challenge the status quo and drive the change process for youth reproductive health and rights in their communities.
I believe every young person is a stakeholder to the development of any nation and for the world to experience substantial change, young people have to rise up to this responsibility; More so that young people carry the larger weight of burden on sexual health and rights issues.