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April 2011 iYAN Newsletter

 April iYAN

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.

Sharing Our Passion

Check out featured blogs from our International Year of Youth journalists!

When will child marriage stop being a norm?  (Taonga, Zambia)

When Falesi, 11, started her menstrual periods , her mother ululated with joy and gathered all her relatives and told them the good news. This meant she could have an initiation ceremony and then later, marriage. The parents in the town found one ‘Na cimbusa,’ meaning traditional teacher/mother, to teach their 4 girls marital duties. They would be secluded for a month in one tiny hut and be given lessons every single day. They could not look anyone in the face, but must face the ground at all times and not speak to anyone or question their teacher. They are allowed only female visitors who are about to become of age. As the last day of the month was approaching, a notice went round the village to say the 4 initiates were about to be released, so men interested in getting a wife should avail themselves.

To read the full blog, click here. 

What Motivates You to Remain a SRHR Activist?” (Abongwa, Cameroon)

I know my efforts in advocating for comprehensive sex education, gender equality, youth empowerment and participation, and advocacy for sexual minoritiesare not in vain.

There are times when people don’t see the importance of what you do, but pride and gratification in your work will keep you going when that bill is not passed in Congress, when that Minister will not allow for a “Condomize” campaign, or when those funders will not cease funding abstinence-only programs. That gratification is what will keep you going, as it has for me all these years!

To read the full blog, click here.

“The only day Ghanians admit to having sex” (Nana, Ghana)

Over the past few years, pharmacists have confirmed that the sales of condoms go up in Accra on the 14th of February. I am happy to know people are buying the condoms. I would be happier if they are using them correctly.

To read the entire blog, click here:


“Don’t remember an Indian couple ever asking for a girl” (Roli, India)

The prejudice against girls is something which commences before birth. In an affluent and educated family the desire for a son might be very covert, but it is there. In poor households, a preference for the boy child is openly expressed – so much so that the son is almost equivalent to a god. The bias towards this child is evident in any and every action of the parents or the elders.

To read the entire blog, click here.

What’s New at Advocates for Youth?

Advocates’ update on U.S. foreign policy: funding battles continue

The U.S. House and Senate spent months in an all-out battle over spending levels for Fiscal Year 2011, which runs from October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011. On February 19th, the House of Representatives passed their version of the new spending bill which cut more than $200 million from international family planning and reproductive health programs, eliminated all funding for UNPFA, and reinstated the Global Gag Rule. The House bill also cut $813 million from global HIV/AIDS programs. While the Senate defeated the original House proposal, the need for a compromise budget resulted in a last-minute deal in early April, with final funding of $615 million for international family planning and reproductive health programs, including $575 million for bilateral programs by USAID and $40 million for UNFPA. These cuts amounted to a loss of $33.5 million (or 5%) from comparable FY2010 funding levels. In addition, the final spending bill removed the harmful ideological policy restriction reinstating the Global Gag Rule, a major victory for advocates. While international family planning experienced cuts, funding for other global health programs actually received a net increase of $66 million, in spite of a modest cut to PEPFAR.

At the same time that Congress worked to complete the spending bill for FY 2011, the President released his budget request for next year’s FY 2012 spending bill. Despite calls to rein in spending, the President prioritized funding increases for vital global health programs. Of particular note are the following accounts:

  • International Family Planning/Reproductive Health: $769 million (19% increase)
  • UNFPA: $47.5 million ($7.5 million less than current funding levels)
  • Global HIV/AIDS
  • State Department: $5.64 billion (including $1 billion for the Global Fund, with another $300 million for the Global Fund in another account)
  • USAID: $350 million
  • Maternal and Child Health: $846 million
  • Nutrition: $150 million
  • Malaria: $691 million
  • TB: $236 million
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases: $100 million

House Republicans have since released their own budget plans for FY2012 which are in stark contrast to the President’s request. Given the protracted battles over the current FY2011 budget, we can certainly expect similar fights over the FY2012 budget. Advocates will be mobilizing our U.S. grassroots and international activists throughout the budget process to speak out in support of increased funding for these vital global health programs.

Third year in a row: Jamaica’s Safer Sex Week blogathon on Amplify!

February 7 to 15, 2011 marked Jamaica’s annual Safer Sex Week. Safer Sex Week started in 1994 when the Ministry of Health recognized the need for increased emphasis on the message of protection during sexual activity. By dedicating a week of activities to promotion of safer sex, young people from all over Jamaica discuss the importance of access to  sex education, access to condoms and contraceptives, and promoting responsible behavior.

In collaboration with Advocates’ youth activist website, amplifyyourvoice.org, the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN) has commemorated Jamaica’s Safer Sex week with a Blogathon for the past three years. JYAN is a youth-led organization that works to develop youth leaders in the areas of advocacy, public education, sexual and reproductive health, violence prevention, care and protection, employment and entrepreneurship.  To learn more, click here: www.amplifyyourvoice.org/jamaica

All posts are listed down the right column of the blogathon page and many will also be featured across several pages of Amplify.

Throughout the week, young people blogged in response to questions like the following: What’s sex education like in Jamaica? Are condoms and contraceptives freely available? How do most Jamaican youth feel about sexuality and safer sex? What are the dangers Jamaican youth face?

Check out some featured blogs here:

Safer Sex Week

How to love and be in a relationship with an HIV+ person?

Jamaica reviews Leprosy Act of 1949 but buggery still untouched

“Safer sex week 2011–partners should encourage abstinence” Jamaican Health Minister

To check out Advocates’ partner, Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN) on Facebook—click here.

Education as a Vaccine (EVA) and Advocates for Youth conduct training for youth advocates in Abuja, Nigeria, to develop and support their 2011 action plan  to advance youth sexual and reproductive health and rights

Since 2009, Advocates for Youth and Education as a Vaccine have been working in partnership on the International Youth Speak Out (iYSO) project to support a national youth leadership council called Youth Advocates Group (YAG).  Since its initiation, the council has worked to improve policies affecting young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Nigeria.

During the training the YAG members identified the following objectives for their work:

Objective #1: to ensure passage of the anti-stigma and discrimination bill by May 2011 through approval of the Senate companion bill (the House bill is already approved) with the inclusion of recommendations made by the council that would protect young people living with HIV/AIDS from discrimination in tertiary institutions and prohibit mandated HIV testing as a prerequisite for admission to universities.

Objective #2: to secure a specific budgetary allocation for youth sexual and reproductive health programs in the national budget by December 2011.

Objective #3: to secure an increase in funding for youth sexual and reproductive health programs by December 2011 to support previous government commitments to launch and operate youth-friendly centers.

During the training, EVA and Advocates facilitated knowledge and skills-based exercises on sexual and reproductive health and rights, advocacy, U.S. foreign policy, messaging, videography, new media, international advocacy, and action planning, and monitoring and evaluation.

Local experts representing the Ministry of Health, the National Assembly of Nigeria and the United Nations Development Program presented on legislative and policy cycle processes, including the structure and power dynamics of the National Assembly at the committee level; policy-decision making processes; and the federal budgetary process.  In addition, Esther Agbarakwe, Director of the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition, presented on the connections between climate change and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Following the training, EVA, Advocates, and the council members visited the Nigeria Youth Network of HIV/AIDS (NYNETA) to discuss actions to urgently push the Senate health committee to vote on the companion anti-stigma and discrimination bill by May 2011.  In addition, council members attended the Nigeria Youth Climate Coalition’s afternoon forum on mobilizing youth around the connections of climate change and reproductive justice.

Highlights of the council’s 2011 action plan include:

-finalizing the production of a video project focused on young people’s access to family planning/reproductive health services in Nigeria;

-attending events where Senate committee members will be campaigning for the upcoming election to request their commitment to passing the anti-stigma and discrimination bill by May 2011;

– in collaboration with state youth networks, coordinating outreach to local radio and newspapers where the Senate health committee members are to encourage coverage of efforts to secure passage of the Senates’ companionanti-stigma and discrimination bill ;

-meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and providing a publication on reasons why a budgetary allocation for youth sexual and reproductive health  programs is necessary; and,

–mobilizing youth to participate in Amplify’s blogathons commemorating International Women’s Day, World Population Day, International Youth Day and World AIDS Day.

If you have any questions about the council’s work or want to get involved, contact the council at yag@evanigeria.org.

To learn more about the council, check out 
www.advocatesforyouth.org/eva and www.amplifyyourvoice.org/nigeria

To learn about Education as a Vaccine, click here: www.evanigeria.org

Check out photos from the training here:

Council members participating in a “defining sexual and reproductive health and rights” exercise: 

A group shot with some of the council members: 

Members of Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council attend the 55th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York

Three members of Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC) along with staff from the International Department were in New York City in February attending the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women meeting.  IYLC members and staff participated in side events, blogged, and tweeted from meetings and panel sessions within the UN.  They also participated in a Young Women’s Caucus meeting and contributed to a youth statement that was read on behalf of the caucus to the General Assembly. To read the Young Women’s Caucus statement, click here: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw55/statements/Young%20women.pdf

Advocates also submitted a written statement to the Commission on the Status of Women, which can be found here: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N10/675/78/PDF/N1067578.pdf?OpenElement

New GHI Website Announced, “GHI Plus” Country Strategies Released

In mid-March, the US announced the launch of a new website dedicated to the Global Health Initiative, www.ghi.gov.  The website is a one-stop shop for all information related to the GHI, including the GHI strategy document, leadership, targets, and implementation in country.  To date, seven of the eight GHI Plus country strategies have been released on the website, with the notable exception of Rwanda.  Advocates for Youth is in the process of analyzing these strategy documents to determine how much, if any, programming will be focused on young people within the GHI Plus countries.  We will be releasing a report with this analysis and policy recommendations for integrating youth in the GHI in June so stay tuned.


Tools You Can Use

Reorienting teacher education to address sustainable development: guidelines and tools

by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),  Bangkok Office
This 39-page manual is designed to train teachers who are looking for practical guidelines and tools to incorporate information about HIV and AIDS into their curriculum. Information covered includes how HIV is and is not spread; the difficulties in teaching young people about sex and drugs; why it is important to teach this topic; and techniques to teach this subject. Given that teachers come from a range of countries, the materials in this manual have not been designed for any particular country and therefore can be adapted to the teachers’ own setting. The manual consists of three parts: a timetable for a three-day workshop, including times, titles, and objectives; the trainers’ manual with step-by-step descriptions of what to do at each interval; and resource materials.

To view the manual, click here.
To request further information, contact: apeid.bgk@unesco.org

Speak out: youth report sexual abuse: a handbook for learners on how to prevent sexual abuse in public schools

by the Department of Education in Pretoria, South Africa

This 32-page handbook is designed to help create a safe, caring, and enabling environment for learning and teaching in public schools in South Africa. The handbook equips learners with knowledge and understanding of sexual harassment and sexual violence, its implications, ways to protect themselves from perpetrators, and where to report incidences of sexual violence or harassment.

To view the handbook, click here.

For further information, click here.

We are all in the same boat: using art and creative approaches with young people to tackle HIV-related stigma

by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

This 91-page toolkit provides ideas on how to use art and creative approaches to build a new understanding about HIV stigma and human rights, and on how young people can work together to challenge stigma and discrimination. The toolkit uses different art forms and creative activities-drama and role playing, games, drumming, dance, puppets, story telling, pictures, drawing, and collages.

To view the toolkit, click here.
For more information, contact: culture.aids@unesco.org


Read All About It

Press Release from UNFPA: “Addressing World of 7 Billion, Young People’s Needs, Focus of United Nation Population Fund’s (UNFPA) New Leader”

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 1 February 2011
—Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the new Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, today put forth his vision as the Fund’s leader, focusing on the challenges of a world population of 7 billion and the needs of the largest generation of young people.

In his first address to the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board, Dr. Osotimehin described a world population of 7 billion in 2011 as “a major milestone in human history,” where “every person should enjoy human rights and human dignity, and have the opportunity to make the most of his or her potential.”

Dr. Osotimehin, who started his four-year tenure as UNFPA’s Executive Director a few weeks ago, noted that the world’s population, which has doubled since 1967, is rising by about 78 million people each year, and is projected to reach 9 billion by 2045. For every 100 people added to the world’s population, he noted, 97are in the less developed countries.

“A world approaching a population of 7 billion is marked by new dynamics to which UNFPA must support countries to respond,” said Dr. Osotimehin.  The defining features are rapid urban growth in Africa and Asia, declining fertility with variance across regions—with Africa home to the highest birth rates—unprecedented ageing, and the world’s largest youth population.

“UNFPA will place a special emphasis on today’s large generation of young people,” said Dr. Osotimehin.  There are an estimated 1.8 billion adolescents and youth in the world today, accounting for nearly a third of the world’s population, he noted. Just below 90 percent live in developing countries, and that proportion will increase during the next 20 years. “They need increased support, and they want freedom, participation and dignity,” he added.

To read the entire press release, click here.

For more information, please contact:
Abubakar Dungus, +1 212 297 5031, dungus@unfpa.org
Omar Gharzeddine, +1 212 297 5028, gharzeddine@unfpa.org
or visit www.unfpa.org


Condom stock-outs in the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s (PEPFAR) programming

There is a pervasive pattern of suppliers running out of both male and female condoms in African countries confronting HIV/AIDS, according to Carolyn Ryan, MD, MPH, director of technical leadership at the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC).

She called the condom gap “really quite disturbing,”given that condoms are a crucial tool for HIV prevention.  While HIV incidence has fallen in recent years, in 2009 there were an estimated 2.6 million people newly infected with HIV, meaning that about 7,000 people are acquiring the infection each day.  She presented her comments at the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Scientific Advisory Board meeting in early January.

To learn more, read the article here: Condom gap “quite disturbing” according to PEPFAR

Hate crimes in Africa are on the rise

International human rights groups are reporting increases in hate crimes against gays and lesbians across Africa.  All over the continent, they say, GLBT invididuals are being harassed and ridiculed, assaulted and arrested, tortured, jailed and murdered – and on an unprecedented scale.

“We have seen an upsurge of violence, of discrimination.…you’ve got guys in Cameroon being arrested; you’ve got guys in Nigeria being killed for being gay.  It’s happening all over Africa,” says Denis Nzioka, one of East Africa’s most prominent gay rights activists.  “We’re under siege,” he adds in his Nairobi office.

To read the original article, click here: Africa’s Gays Say They’re ‘Under Siege’

China scales up HIV prevention efforts, targets set by 2020

The Chinese government has ordered an escalation of efforts to address the spread of HIV within China.  Efforts will be stepped up to improve public awareness of the virus, with the aim of reducing the number of new infections, stemming mother-to-child transmissionand addressing blood safety in health care settings.  Consideration will also be given to increasing the supply of antiretroviral drugs for people living with HIV.


To read the original article, click here: China aims to bring AIDS spread under control by 2020

Reproductive health bill is approved by Philippines House of Representatives

IRIN reports a “hotly debated” bill “that proposes national funding for, and access to, reproductive healthcare services and products,” cleared “a major hurdle after being approved by a committee of the Philippines House of Representatives.” The Philippine Star reports that Biliran Representative Rogelio Espina, chairman of the panel voting on the bill said the bill would be referred to the committees on rules and on appropriations.  He also noted that he expects the measure to be debated in the plenary next month.

To read the original article, click here: House panel approves RH bill


Leo, an International Year of Youth journalist of Advocates for Youth who is based in the Philippines, has blogged extensively on this legislation and the importance of its passage.


To read Leo’s blogs about the bill  see below (starting from the most recent):

Young Catholics Speak Up Produces Youth Manifesto on RH Bill


10 Good Reasons to Pass the RH Bill Now

Smashing the Myths and Misconceptions About the RH Bill

What You Need to Know About the RH Bill

Deputy House Speaker Dialogues with Students signifies support for the passage of RH, Part 2

Depty House Speaker Dialogues with Students signifies support for the RH Bill and MDGs-Part 1

My Voice Counts!

Join the “Million for a Billion” for Family Planning petition campaign

Population Institute, in partnership with other family planning advocates, has recently launched a new global petition campaign aimed at boosting donor nation support for family planning.

The petition campaign notes that the United States and other donor nations must boost their support for international family planning and reproductive health programs.  The U.S., for its part, needs to boost its support from the $648 million spent last year to at least $1 billion this year.   The goal of the petition campaign is to get a million people to tell Congress that it’s time to make universal access to family planning and reproductive health services a reality. You can be one of those million who take action!

U.S. petition signers will ask Congress to appropriate $1 billion for family planning and reproductive health.


US youth can take action here: www.millionforabillion.us


Non-U.S. petition signers will ask world leaders to boost the total level of international support by at least $1 billion.


Non-US youth can take action here: www.millionforabillion.com



Apply to intern at the population unit of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

The population unit of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

(UNECE) is looking for qualified interns for 2011.  Internships range from two to six months for current graduate students and are non-remunerated.

At present, the Population Unit is working primarily on topics related to ageing: producing a series of policy briefs on ageing; assisting countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia with designing policies for mainstreaming ageing; servicing the Intergovernmental Working Group on Ageing; and, coordinating regional implementation and follow-up to the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.  The Population Unit is also closely involved with the Generations and Gender Program.  For more information, see here: http://www.ggp-i.org/

Applicants should have an excellent level of written and spoken English; knowledge of French and/or Russian would be an advantage. Applications are welcome from students with good knowledge of population issues, especially those relating to ageing and older persons; understanding of international organizations and policymaking; and excellent research skills (locating, organizing, evaluating and summarizing material).  Knowledge of simple qualitative database design is also desirable.

Information on the work of the Population Unit can be found here and details of the internship application process are here.

Students interested in applying should also read the general UNECE internship application page here.

Contact Stefanie Bluth at Stefanie.Bluth@unece.org with any questions.

Apply for the MSM Initiative Community Awards for Asia and the Pacific

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is pleased to announce new funding for innovative projects that address HIV/AIDS among gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender individuals in the Asia-Pacific region. Grassroots organizations led by or closely linked to MSM/LGBT communities in low- and middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region are encouraged to submit relevant proposals. Funds for this round of awards are made available through the generous support of the ViiV Healthcare Positive Action and Aids Fonds.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Community-based organizations closely linked to MSM/LGBT communities located in low-and middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region with annual budgets less than $1 million (USD).

Each organization may apply for an award of up to $20,000 USD to support project-related costs for up to 12 months. Only one application may be submitted per organization. Proposals for general operating support will not be considered.

Areas of Interest:

This request for proposals (RFP) solicits proposals for innovative HIV/AIDS-related, community-led projects that address HIV/AIDS among gay men, other MSM and/or transgender individuals.

What is the deadline to apply?

The application deadline is: 4 May 2011, 5:00 p.m. in New York City, USA (GMT/UTC 21:00)

Where can I get more information?
For forms, instructions, and information about this opportunity, click here:  www.amfAR.org/grants

Call for Partners: UN WOMEN collaboration in Africa

In order to strengthen its engagement and collaboration with stakeholders on youth in Africa, UN WOMEN in partnership with Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, is compiling a directory of key individuals and organizations promoting youth empowerment, particularly for young women in Africa. Local, national and regional organizations that work with young people in Africa are invited to join this partnership.

Why join the partnership?

-To help broaden UN WOMEN”s reach and impact in the communities you represent.
-To co-organize community and other outreach programs at grassroots and national levels.
-To participate in other UN WOMEN programs, campaigns, meetings and projects across the continent.
-To be included in the directory as potential resource persons or partner for future programs.
-To develop partnerships for broad-based dissemination of publications and resources by UN WOMEN and partners.
-To be included in UN WOMEN consultations and dialogues.

What organizations can join the partnership?

Youth groups/organizations/associations; NGOs and community organizations that work with youth including young women; state and public institutions responsible for youth issues; youth leaders/ advocates; and student organizations.

How can I join?

To be included in the directory and be a part of this collaboration, kindly provide the following details and email them to:partners@moremiinitiative.org

6) TEL:
8) GEOGRAPHICAL SCOPE OF WORK (Local, National, Regional):

What is UN Women?
UN Women (The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women’s vision is one where men and women have equal opportunities and capacities and the principles of gender equality are embedded in development, peace and security agendas.
To learn more, click here www.unwomen.org or go to: facebook.com/unwomen

What is  the Moremi Initiative?
The Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa is a non-profit organization based in Ghana, Nigeria, and United States that operates throughout Africa. Founded in 2004, The Moremi Initiative strives to engage, inspire, and equip young women and girls to become the next generation of leading politicians, activists, social entrepreneurs, and change agents in order totransform and change institutions that legitimize and perpetuate discrimination against women.

To learn more, click here: www.moremiinitiative.org or facebook.com/moremiinitiative

Apply to attend the African Youth with Disabilities: Raising our Voices for Inclusion Meeting!

Organized by the Open Society Foundations’ Youth Initiative and Disability Rights Initiative, African Youth with Disabilities: Raising our Voices for Inclusion, will respond to the growing youth with disabilities movement on the African continent by providing a six-day gathering of 50 youth with disabilities that will facilitate learning, collaboration, and strategizing for a more inclusive Africa. The convening, scheduled for May 23rd to 29th in Kampala, Uganda, aims to strengthen the African youth with disabilities network and develop partnerships that will help mobilize, empower and coordinate youth with disabilities’ initiatives.

A central focus of the Youth with Disabilities Convening will be exploring opportunities for youth activism and participation given the widespread ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The convening will feature general training in the CRPD and will facilitate peer to peer learning through country-specific presentations in which participants will describe national disability policies and any existing youth initiatives. Participants will also have the opportunity to present projects they are working on, discuss challenges to implementation, and provide feedback on strategies to overcoming obstacles. Skills development workshops, including debate training, new media workshops, and training in small scale enterprise development and NGO and project management, will facilitate the development of ideas that youth can implement both in their communities and on a regional

Click here to download the application!   Please fill out the form and send to ywd.kampala@gmail.com by April 29, 2011.

Not on Amplify? Join Now!

Have you heard about Amplify but don’t know exactly what it is?  One of Advocates for Youth’s main strategies is the use of new media technologies to empower young people to access information, share perspectives, connect to peers and services, and take action on issues that they care about.

Advocates communicates with its domestic and international networks of young people regularly via Amplify (www.amplifyyourvoice.org), a groundbreaking global Web site for young people working to improve youth sexual and reproductive and rights.

Through the site, young activists blog, share stories, reach out to policy makers, write op-eds, and organize on-the-ground activism. Sounds interesting—this could be you!

And wait, there’s more!  Amplify allows registered users to automatically stream their activities on Amplify to Facebook, so that a young person writing a blog about international family planning can share it instantly with hundreds of his/her friends. Amplify has been instrumental during the past year in successfully launching a campaign in favor of increased international family planning funding and in building Advocates’ International Youth Activist Network of more than 800 young people and youth-led/serving organizations around the globe.

You probably already know, but POWER comes with you as leaders who want to make a difference.

So, if you’re not already on Amplify, JOIN!

If you know people who are interested, get THEM to JOIN!

Blogging is fun, easy, and you can AMPLIFY your OWN voice by giving it a try!

Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amplifyyourvoice

And go to www.amplifyyourvoice.org and make your voice heard!

You mean that I can submit an essay and get a free Advocates for Youth notebook?

YOUR voice is an essential part of what makes this newsletter a SUCCESS.  Please submit your stories to share with other youth activists from around the world!  If you submit an essay that follows the guidelines below, you will receive a blue Advocates for Youth notebook and pen (to write more essays, of course!).

Here are the guidelines for writing an essay: 

  • Keep your essay to no more than 500 words.
  • Use language that is simple and easy for non-native English speakers to read.
  • Write about sexual and reproductive issues that you care about and/or what you are doing to make a difference.  Share your experiences working on sexual and reproductive health issues and policies—tell your story.  What’s going on with access to contraception and family planning services for youth, abortion, gender disparities, maternal mortality, traditional harmful practices, HIV/AIDS, stigma and homophobia, etc.? What are the challenges facing young people in your country?  What are the challenges for you as an activist? Why did you get involved in this movement to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people? What is working to improve programs and policies and young people’s sexual and reproductive health?

Also, please note that:

  • If you have a photo, would like us to include it with your essay, and can send it via email, please do!  It’s okay if you do not have a photo, but we would like to bring a face to your words when we have the chance.
  • Advocates for Youth edits all published materials, so we will send you the revised draft for your approval before it is featured in the newsletter. We want to make sure that you are happy with the final product as well!
  • When you submit an essay, it may not appear right away in the next issue but we will be sure to include it in the next possible newsletter.
  • Even if you submitted an essay, you can still send others for upcoming issues of the newsletter.
  • You will receive an email by the next iYAN edition as to whether or not you are one of the first 10 people to submit an essay.

If you have questions on how to submit your essay, please contact Mimi at mimi@advocatesforyouth.org. Do it soon!! You could be one of the first 10!

Coming Up

Mark Your Calendar! May 15, International Day of Families: Confronting Family Poverty and Social Exclusion

What is International Day of Families and the theme for this year?

International Day of Families is commemorated to recognize the importance of strengthening and supporting families in performing their societal and developmental functions and to build upon their strengths, in particular at the national and local levels.

The focus of this year’s International Day of Families is, “Confronting Family Poverty and Social Exclusion.”  Family poverty usually refers to households earning less than a minimum amount of income. When families don’t have enough income, they are not able to provide adequate nutrition, education, housing, and security for their children or adequately care for other family members. Families are vulnerable to poverty at certain stages in the family life cycle and are more likely to fall into poverty during times of financial and economic crises. However, family poverty means more than lack of income.  Social exclusion can be seen as a form of poverty also—originating in discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, rural versus urban, among others.  Those who are excluded are less able to improve their well-being due to socio-political structures that encourage such disparities.

How does International Day of Families tie in with sexual and reproductive health and rights?

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are critical to fostering healthy families.  This Day of the Family is a reminder of the importance of:


  • families respecting young people within the family, regardless of their sex, age, marital status, fertility, HIV status, ability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
  • communities respecting all families and preventing social exclusion that contributes to further marginalization and poverty
  • young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health, including access to family planning services and contraception, in order to foster healthy families.  When young people have the ability to plan their families and ultimately their futures by accessing reproductive health services, they are more educated, experience less poverty, and are overall better off. Furthermore, the ability for young women to delay and space pregnancies reduces their risk of maternal morbidity and mortality as well as infant mortality.
  • young people’s sexual and reproductive rights in order to ensure that they can choose if, when, and who to marry of their own free will and with full consent; choose if, when and how many children to have; and be free of violence and sexual coercion, among others.
  • policies that uphold principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenants on Human Rights; the Declaration on Social Progress and Development; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Beijing Plaform of Action; and the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action.


What can you do for International Day of Families?


This is your chance to raise awareness and advocate for what “family” means to you and the importance of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights to fostering healthy families and communities.  You can host an event, write an op-ed in your local newspaper, or blog on Amplify about your perspectives on this day.


To learn more about International Day of Families, click here.

To read Advocates’ materials on parent-child communication, click here.

To watch a series of short video clips produced in the U.S. on “Raising Healthy Kids: Families talk about Sexual Health,” click here.

Read about condomscontraceptive access and abstinence-only-until-marriage programs  on Amplify.

Check out the links below for the latest research on issues affecting the family.

Gender Inequality and Violence Against Women and Girls Around the World

Adolescent Maternal Mortality: An Overlooked Crisis

International Family Planning and the Unmet Needs of Reproductive Health for Youth

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Context of Climate Change

Are you planning to commemorate this day?

Tell us about your plans and we can publish your work in our next newsletter! Just contact Mimi at mimi@advocatesforyouth.org.

Sign up for the iYAN, and send this link to your friends so they can sign up too!


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