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April 2014 iYAN Newsletter

April 2014

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.

What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?

Keifer, Advocates’ International Policy Manager at the Commission on the Status of Women

Advocates for Youth Advocates at the 58th Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Advocates’ staff participated in this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held March 10-21 in New York City. The theme for the meeting was “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls.” Throughout the deliberations, governments, UN agencies, demographers, and NGOs debated progress made to date on the MDGs and resolutions. While in New York, Advocates participated in the Women’s Caucus, live-tweeted from events, and helped inform language on girls and young women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and sexual orientation and gender identity. The final agreed conclusions include language on sexual reproductive health and reproductive rights; comprehensive sex education; sexual and reproductive health services; multiple and substantive references to women and girls, their human rights, and violence against women and girls. Unfortunately language on sexual rights and sexual orientation and gender identity was not retained. Advocates also signed onto the following written statement submitted to the UN Secretary General at on behalf of many civil society organizations. Click here. To view the agreed conclusions and resolutions that emerged from the CSW, go here. To view the resolution on Women, the Girl Child and HIV and AIDS, go here.

My Voice Counts!

It’s not too late to be part of Weave the Web! Join a global community of women speaking out on the importance of digital inclusion and empowerment for women! The World Pulse community is a testament to the potential of the Internet to foster meaningful connections and positive change in the world. What will it take for all women across the globe to benefit from everything the Internet has to offer? If you want to make your voice heard on this important issue, participate in WWW: Women Weave the Web Campaign! If you want to learn more about the campaign, go here. Submit an Application to Present at the Melbourne YouthForce Youth Pre-Conference! The Melbourne YouthForce (MYF) would like to invite you to lead a workshop or present during the MYF Youth Pre-Conference at the 2014 International AIDS Conference. The Pre-Conference will offer a space where young people can network, learn from each other, and participate in skill building workshops. It will also provide an orientation to AIDS 2014 to facilitate youth engagement and advocacy at the conference. The closing date for all applications is May 9. For more information on the MYF, the main conference, the Youth Pre-Conference, the Peer Support Program, and the application forms, please go here: MYF Youth Program. If you have any questions, please email: myf.preconference@gmail.com.

Read All About It!

Campaigners Welcome ‘Milestone’ Agreement at UN Gender Equality Talks. The Commission on the Status of Women agrees to stand-alone equality goal in post-2015 targets and issues strong language against violence. UN Member states have agreed that gender equality and women’s rights must be prioritised in future discussions on what should be included in the next set of sustainable development goals. After two weeks of negotiations in New York, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) ended in the early hours of Saturday morning with an agreement that called for the acceleration of progress towards achieving the millennium development goals, and confirming the need for a stand-alone goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the set of international targets that will be introduced once they expire in 2015. The agreement also said gender equality must underpin all other goals. To read this article, go here.

A Call for Universal Access to Safe, Legal Abortion. Lawmakers and civil society leaders from over 30 countries are calling for universal access to safe, legal abortion. The declaration, released in Washington on Wednesday, comes in the context of a 20-year review by the United Nations of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. That landmark conference called for safe access to abortions in countries where the procedure was legal, while Wednesday’s declaration calls for the decriminalisation of abortion in all countries. To read the article, go here. To read the declaration, go here.

Family Planning Groups in Developing Countries Set for Bloomberg Boost. Grassroots organizations are to share in a multi-million dollar project to improve family planning and reproductive health services for women and girls in Africa and Latin America. Groups in Uganda, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Nicaragua will be able to apply for advocacy grants as part of a three-pillar, $50m (£30m) package to support family planning services. The scheme was announced on Thursday by Bloomberg Philanthropies, set up by Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York. To read this article, go here.

Teenage Pregnancies Rising in Philippines. At a counseling center for pregnant teenagers run by local authorities in the Philippine capital’s Cubao district, nurse Lizel Hermosilla helps and offers advice to about three girls daily in an examination room painted sunny yellow. “They are mostly from poor families and their numbers are rising,” said Hermosilla, as she ran a finger down a long list of names and addresses. Government statistics on adolescent pregnancies released last month show a similarly disturbing picture on a national scale. To read this article, go here.

Brazil Just Became The First Country Ever To Pay Reparations For A Maternal Death. Three years after a landmark human rights ruling, Brazil offers reparations and public commemoration. But the structural inequalities that led to a 28-year-old’s death remain. Brazil became the first country in the world to acknowledge and act on its responsibility for safeguarding maternal health as a human right when it paid reparations this week to the mother of an Afro-Brazilian woman who died in childbirth. To read this article, go here.

Chilean Senate Makes Trans Bill a Priority. The Chilean Senate on Tuesday moved to make a bill that would allow transgender people to legally change their name and sex without sex reassignment surgery a top priority. The Organization of Transsexuals for the Dignity of Diversity said senators must release a draft of the measure within 15 days. It will then go before the lower house of the Chilean Congress if there are no objections. To read this article, go here.

Fake HIV tests on the rise in Uganda. An increasing number of HIV positive Ugandans are buying fake negative HIV test result papers so they may avoid the stigma of HIV and find work. In Uganda, where HIV is a serious epidemic, people must be tested for the virus and present their verified HIV status to potential employers. Unfortunately, despite it being so common in the country, people with HIV are often discriminated against and this discrimination leads to them breaking the law to get negative test results. To read this article, go here.

Tools You Can Use

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index and Report By the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in partnership with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) This groundbreaking global youth wellbeing index comprises 40 indicators across six domains of wellbeing: citizen participation, education, economic opportunity, health, safety and security, and information and communications technology. The report details findings, recommendations, and methodology used to construct the Global Youth Wellbeing Index. While the number of countries included in the index is only 30 at the moment, it is a good start This index is the hope of the Initiative that policymakers, donors, and youth are able to use this tool as the world moves forward with the post-2015 agenda. To access the report, go here. To access the index website, go here. To access the methodology and country profiles for all of the 30 countries, go here.

Invest in Girls and Women: Everybody Wins (2014) Toolkit By WomenDeliver This is a new toolkit that pulls together infographics, data points, and key messages to make the case for investing in girls and women. The toolkit presents specific asks and goals related to maternal and newborn health, family planning and reproductive health, women’s health, education, and equality, with the aim of providing global partners with a clear course of action to best advocate for the health and well-being of girls and women. To access the toolkit, go here.

National Response Efforts to Address Sexual Violence and Exploitation against Children in Lesotho: A Desktop Study By JSI/AIDSTAR-One Scant data exist on the prevalence of violence against children worldwide. However, available information, including the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children, shows that violence against children is a global problem. This desktop study aims to glean from published and grey literature the extent of sexual violence and exploitation against children in Lesotho. The goal of this study is to better understand the government of Lesotho’s national response efforts to reduce violence against children. To access this report, go here.

Combination Prevention of HIV: A Technical Guide to Working with Key Affected Populations By Pathfinder International Collaboratively developed by a task force comprising technical advisors and program implementers, this guide presents evidence and illustrative activities that serve as a resource for program implementers and planners working to prevent HIV among female sex workers (FSWs), men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who inject drugs (PWID). This resource offers guidance on a range of structural, biomedical, and behavioral interventions, including those that address advocacy, stigma and discrimination, HIV care and treatment, PEP, STI management and diagnosis, PMTCT, peer education, harm reduction, and many more. To access this guide, go here.

Coming Up

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), May 17. The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policy makers, opinion leaders, social movements, public opinion, the media etc. to this issue and to promote a world of tolerance, respect and freedom, diversity and acceptance regardless of people’s sexual orientation and gender identity. As much as it is a day against violence and oppression, it is a day of freedom, diversity and acceptance. The day of May 17 was chosen to commemorate the decision taken by the World Health Organization in 1990 to take homosexuality out of the lists of mental disorders. There are 78 countries in the world with a legislation persecuting people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Further, in the majority of countries the procedure for gender recognition for transgender individuals is unclear or does not exist. Transgender people are left to seek gender recognition through expensive court procedures or invasive medical procedures conducted often by individuals who have little knowledge about transgender people’s experiences.” The idea behind IDAHOT is to create a global understanding for the rights to express gender freedom and to engage in same-sex relationships without one specific form of expression or even one central policy agenda. The IDAHOT is about unity in spirit and diversity in expressions. Given recent anti-gay laws passed in Nigeria and Uganda and announcements made by some other countries suggesting that they may seek to introduce similar laws (as in Kirgizstan) or step up efforts to enforce similar laws (as in Kenya), this IDAHOT is especially important to take the opportunity for all to:

  • Unite for the human rights of all people
  • Draw media attention to the issue of homophobia and transphobia
  • Organize events to raise awareness and educate others about homophobia and transphobia
  • Engage in lobbying activities to advance human rights and the rights of LGBT young people
  • Organize joint campaigning actions
  • Network with like-minded organizations
  • Develop new partnerships
  • Address new constituencies

Want to get involved? To find out more about the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, click here. To like IDAHO on Facebook, click here. To access ILGAS “State Sponsored Homophobia” 2013 report, go here. To blog about youth LGBT health and rights issues and what this day means to you, post on amplifyyourvoiceorg. To check out Advocate for Youth’s pamphlet series for LGBT youth, “I think I Might Be..,” click on the links below:

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