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April 2016 iYAN

April 2016 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.

What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?

Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council Advocates at the 60thCommission on the Status of Women

Advocates for Youth was actively engaged at this year’s Commission, bringing a delegation of one staff and three young women, who are members of Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council. This year’s theme was women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development. Council members championed key youth sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, including comprehensive sexuality education; access to safe and legal abortion; and recognition of the human rights of all people, without distinction of any kind, including young people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and gender expressions.

Recognizing that adolescent girls are the true experts in understanding and responding to the critical issues that shape their daily lives, Advocates was proud to partner with the Coalition for Adolescent Girls on a side event titled “Listen. Learn. Engage. Strategies and Tools for Meaningful Adolescent Girl Engagement.” Attendees engaged adolescent girls in an interactive conversation to promote intergenerational dialogue between adolescent girls and the adults who work with them.

Advocates also sought to highlight how advancing young people’s access to safe and legal abortion must become a priority in order to advance their reproductive health and rights, in accordance with the new global goals focused on health and gender equality. To elevate the importance of safe and legal abortion, Ipas and Advocates for Youth hosted a side event fora standing room audience, entitled “No More Barriers: Access to Safe Abortion Care for Young People in the 2030 Agenda.”

While Member States welcomed the Commission’s work on women and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted unanimously last September by all UN Member States, many lacked political will to push issues forward and commit to the robust agenda. As a result, governments delivered a mix bag of commitments in the outcome document of this year’s Commission, omitting support for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Advocates welcomes Member State’s inclusion of a health paragraph in the outcome document including language on “universally accessible and available quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive health-care services commodities, information and education” and “the right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality.” As we look toward the upcoming 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, however, it’s critical to secure stronger commitments and affirm that sustainable development is only possible with the full recognition of all young people’s human rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights.

Advocates and Partner Organization Conduct Training to Better Serve LGBTQ Youth in Pakistan.
Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council Members

Last month Advocates for Youth and its partner organization in Pakistan organized a 4-day training in Lahore to build the capacity of their staff and local stake holders on LGBTQ youth issues, cultural competency, training of health care providers to better serve LGBTQ young people, advocacy and sustainability programming. Participants also got an opportunity to hear directly from youth. Some of the issues that young people raised during the training included: self-stigma; stratification around socio-economic status; discrimination; lack of parental support; lack of access to comprehensive sexuality education; lack of culturally competent and confidential health services; strong familial and societal pressures to enter into heterosexual marriage; emotional, physical and verbal violence; and violence perpetrated by the police. Young people emphasized the importance of implementing interventions within institutions, especially schools, families as well as within the guru-chellasystem, which can be quite exploitative towards trans* women. The guru-chellasystem is one where a younger trans*woman (chella) is inducted into a familial network where she is taken care of by an older trans woman (guru.) Even though ideally this system is supposed to protect the younger trans woman, the reality can be quite different as there is a complicated structure of fees, rules and social restrictions that can leave the chella disenfranchised and vulnerable.

After the training, Advocates and its partner organization will be working to develop a training for volunteers to provide mentorship to 30 LGBT youth; develop a short video as well as a training module to buildthe capacity of health care providers serving in public and private hospitals on provision of culturally competent services for MSMs and trans women.

Sexuality Education Materials for East and Southern Africa Developed by Advocates for Youth with UNESCO and UNFPA Are Now Available Online. Since 2013 Advocates for Youthhas been working in collaboration with UNESCO and UNFPA to provide technical assistance to 15 countries in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region in support of ongoing efforts to realize the Ministerial Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Adolescents and Youth in ESA, otherwise known as the ESA Commitment. Advocates has provided technical support by conducting assessment, training and capacity building, consultations, peer review of curricula, and most recently developing and piloting a teacher training module on sexuality education and a core set of sexuality education scripted lesson plans.

These materials are now available for downloading—please see the full descriptions and corresponding links in the Tools You Can Use section!

My Voice Counts!

Call for Proposals from UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. The United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women is accepting applications for its 20th grant cycle (2016) from civil society organizations and government authorities. Special attention will be paid to applications from women’s rights, women-led, and small organizations (including youth organizations) in recognition of the contribution these make to reaching women and girls at the grassroots level.

This year, the UN Trust Fund is looking to support organizations that qualify for funding under: (a) the three programmatic areas of the UN Trust Fund’s 2015-2020 Strategy; (b) a “special window” addressing violence against women and girls in the context of the current refugee crisis; and (c) those specifically invited to submit proposals.

The complete Call for Proposals detailing criteria, eligibility requirements and application guidelines is available at: http://grants.unwomen.org/ or via the UN Women homepage. The deadline for submission of applications is May 4 2016, 11:59 EDT (GMT–4). All applications must be submitted online.

Call for Proposals: Supporting Most Vulnerable Citizens in Liberia. The European Union (EU) is currently accepting proposals from eligible organizations for its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) program. The objectives of this call for proposals is to strengthen access to justice and attention for the most vulnerable citizens in Liberia. Specific objectives include to support initiatives to enhance access to justice for the most vulnerable groups and to reduce sexual and gender-based violence and provide assistance to survivors. The grant minimum amount is EUR 250 000 and the maximum is EUR 500 000.

For more information, please visit Europeaid to download the guidelines. The deadline is May 24, 2016.

Grant Opportunity for Groups Working to Address Female Genital Mutilation and Child, Early, and Forced Marriage. AmplifyChange opportunity grants will now be open on a rolling basis but focused on a particular AmplifyChange priority, with each priority changing every two months. AmplifyChaneg seeks to fund projects focused on the most neglected areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The first of these rounds will run from the early April until May 31st and will focus on tackling harmful practices, specifically Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) and Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM). To find out more, go here.

New Updates for the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen or Virtually, May 16-19, 2016. The countdown is on to the Women Deliver 4th Global Conference, being held in Copenhagen, Denmark in less than a month from May16-19, 2016. The conference is a critical platform to engage participants to advocate to political leaders and influencers to support policy and resource recommendations emerging from the conference both during the event and upon their return. The focus of the conference will be on how to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so they matter most for girls and women, with a specific focus on health—in particular maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights—gender equality, education, environment, and economic empowerment.

Registration is still open but deadlines are ongoing so please check the website at: http://wd2016.org/.

For those already registered and attending, help turn global commitments for girls and women into action by participating in one of the regional caucuses being held during the Conference. Make sure young people are part of the caucus discussions by applying to attend. Sponsored by PATH and Women Deliver, caucuses will focus on strengthening the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women in each region as part of the SDGs. For more information, go here.

Finally, if you can’t attend Women Deliver in person, you can still tune in virtually. Women Deliver Live is for all the advocates who aren’t in the room, but who deserve a seat at the table. For the first time, whether you’re tuning in from Nairobi, New York, or New Delhi, we are bringing you the most newsworthy topics, esteemed speakers, and cutting-edge solutions that WD2016 has to offer. Register for WDLive here.

Scholarship and Volunteer Opportunities for the International AIDS Conference. The AIDS 2016 conference will be held at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) from 18 to 22 July 2016. The conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It is a chance to assess where we are, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward.

The International AIDS Society (IAS) is proud to launch the IAS Educational Fund – a mechanism aimed to provide and invest in educational opportunities that support the frontline HIV workforce. The IAS Educational Fund will enable 100 clinicians and 40 advocates to attend the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016). Additionally, it will offer increased virtual access to conference content and a series of symposia hosted in targeted countries to strengthen scientific and programmatic knowledge from a global perspective that is relevant at a local level. Applications for grants to attend AIDS 2016 will open on 20 April and close on 11 May. For more information, go here.

Volunteer applications are also still open. People who volunteer at each International AIDS Conference are critical to its success. This year, conference organizers are looking for 800 committed individuals to volunteer at AIDS 2016. Volunteers will have free access to the conference sessions when not on duty, networking opportunities, and become part of a committed team working on the HIV response by supporting a global event. For more information, go here.

Tools You Can Use

Regional Module: Teacher Training on Comprehensive Sexuality Education for East and Southern Africa
By Advocates for Youth, UNESCO, and UNFPA

This module was developed as a resource to support pre-service training of teachers for the delivery of school-based sexuality education in East and Southern Africa. Designed for trainers who are delivering pre-service training on sexuality education in the region, this participatory training equips teachers with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to deliver effective sexuality education in the classroom.

Pre-tested in Uganda and through a regional training of trainers workshop held in South Africa, the module includes nine core sessions lasting approximately 38 hours, requiring a total of 42 hours in its totality. Key topic areas include adolescent sexual and reproductive health in East and Southern Africa; an overview of sexuality education; adolescent development; experiential learning and facilitation skills; classroom management; application of skills through simulation of lesson plan delivery, and policy and ethical considerations.

Trainers can use the module to tailor trainings according to the number of days/hours available for training teachers. While the material is focused on training teachers for school-based sexuality education, the material can be adapted to out-of-school environments.

The teacher training module can be accessed at the links below: Advocates for Youth | UNESCO

Regional Lesson Plans: A Set of Individual Scripted Lesson Plans for Comprehensive Sexuality Education in East and Southern Africa
By Advocates for Youth, UNESCO, and UNFPA

This set of 14 individual scripted lesson plans was developed to support school-based delivery of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in East and Southern Africa. The scripted lesson plans are intended to provide teachers with material often lacking in existing life skills and CSE curricula, which can be used to supplement existing resources and support the delivery of CSE. Topics and age ranges for the lesson plans were identified during the Regional Consultative Meeting to Support the Development of Sexuality Education Lesson Plans, hosted in South Africa by UNESCO, UNFPA, and facilitated by Advocates for Youth. During this consultation, curriculum developers, teachers, and other education stakeholders from 10 countries conducted peer review of various curricula and materials from the region and identified and prioritized topics by age for the lesson plans. At the end of the consultation, a peer review advisory board was formed consisting of 21 members, who were tasked with reviewing drafts of the lesson plans and providing inputs. Once the lesson plans were complete, they were pre-tested through a regional teacher training for comprehensive sexuality education and in schools in Namibia and Lesotho.

The individual scripted lesson plans include lessons for students and learners between the ages of 9-15 and are each 45 minutes long. Some lessons have two parts, requiring two sessions, or 90 minutes total.

The scripted lesson plans can be accessed at the links below: Advocates for Youth | UNESCO

How to educate about abortion: A guide for peer educators, teachers and trainers

IPPF’s guide on delivering training/education sessions on abortion is now available online. It includes a rationale for integrating information about abortion into sexuality education programmes and trainings, factual information and useful resources, and practical activities that can be used with groups of young people, professionals and others. Available in English, to access the guide, go here.

Providing Reproductive Health Services to Young Married Women and First-time Parents in West-Africa
By Pathfinder Internaitonal

This set of supplemental training modules aims to meet the reproductive health needs of young married women and first-time parents (FTPs) in West Africa. The training modules are intended for facility-based providers, community health workers, and peers leading small groups who are working to address the unique challenges facing young married women and first-time parents and to promote their health and rights. To access the modules, go here.

Whose Norms
By E2A and Maggia

A new film that aims to enable service providers in Niger to offer quality youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services by sparking reflection, dialogue, and actiong. Produced within the context of E2A’s University Leadership for Change project in Niger, “Whose Norms?” is the second in a suite of three behavior-change films. To access the film, go here.

Breaking down the barriers to girls’ education infographic
By the Global Partnership for Education

This infographic explores the challenges that girls in developing countries face to get an education and the benefits that educating girls brings. To access the infographic, go here.

We Exist: Mapping LGBTQ Organizing in West Africa
By the Queer African Youth Network

Commissioned by a group of funders and activists, this report provides an overview of LGBTQ organizing in a large and diverse region, drawing upon a wide range of perspectives and experiences of local activists and organizations. The research engaged a total of 50 groups and 180 activists from nine countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo. The scan is unique in bringing together viewpoints from Francophone and Anglophone countries and capturing the differences and commonalities for LGBTQ organizing among them. It outlines the supportive roles that local technical assistance providers and international organizations have been playing. The research also sheds light on the achievements of a growing movement that has received relatively little attention to date. To access the report in English and French, go here.

Coming up

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, May 17. The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policy makers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public, and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally. As much as it is a day against violence and oppression, it is also a day to promote freedom, diversity and acceptance. This year’s theme is mental health and wellbeing.

In under a decade, May 17 has established itself the single most important date for LGBTI communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale. May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal, with 1,600 events reported from 1,280 organizations in 2014. These mobilisations unite millions of people in support of the recognition of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

To find out more about what people around the world are planning for IDAHOT and to contribute what you are doing, click here.

Also, look out for emerging actions and resources, like the United Nations Free and Equal Campaign video launch.

Produced in collaboration with the singer Rachel Platten, the video, called “Why We Fight”, is intended to be a tribute to global activism and features specially shot footage of individuals, families, advocates and allies in countries around the world. The video will be launched several days before IDAHOT and be made available via the UN Free & Equal campaign website and via the campaign’s social media accounts.

May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day.

May 28th is Menstrual Hygiene Day. Menstruation is a normal biological process that begins in adolescence. Yet, many adolescent girls around the world don’t know what is happening to their bodies when they experience their first menstruation or how to manage it. Further, menstruation is often perceived as taboo, dirty, or incapacitating, all of which put adolescent girls at risk of stigma, in some cases violence, as well as lost opportunities both in and out of school. Lack of access to affordable and hygienic sanitary materials and disposal options also leave many adolescent girls without an effective and healthy way to manage their periods. These problems are only made worse by lack of access to safe and private toilets and lack of clean water and soap.

Menstrual Hygiene Day is an opportunity to break the silence around menstruation and menstrual hygiene management. This year’s theme focuses on how menstruation matters for everyone everywhere and is fundamental to realizing human rights.

To find out more and access forthcoming campaign materials, go here.

Meanwhile, if you loved last year’s infographic on menstrual hygiene management, it’s still available here.

Read All About It!

UN statistics body endorses SDG indicators. The United Nations Statistical Commission endorsed last week a set of 230 global indicators as the basis for reviewing progress towards the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, called the “last missing piece” of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To read this article, go here.

WHO sees scientific consensus on Zika as cause for disorders. Researchers around the world are now convinced the Zika virus can cause the birth defect microcephaly as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can result in paralysis, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. To read this article, go here.

West Africa Ebola outbreak no longer poses global risk: WHO. West Africa’s Ebola outbreak no longer constitutes a threat to international public health, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, declaring an end to a nearly 20-month emergency that has killed about 11,300 people.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, accepted the recommendations of a committee of independent experts who also called for lifting any travel and trade restrictions affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. To read this article, go here.

Rwanda: Parliament Finally Passes Bill on Reproductive Health. Members of Parliament in the Lower Chamber yesterday unanimously passed the draft law regulating reproductive health in the country while enabling more awareness about family planning.

Members of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs who analysed the Bill say it has helped to highlight the government’s role in sensitising people about reproductive health and family planning while Rwandans are also better told about their responsibilities in reproductive health. To read this article, go here.

Chile lawmakers lift abortion ban introduced by Pinochet. Chile’s lower house of Congress has approved a proposal that lifts a ban on abortion in cases of rape, when there is health risk for the mother, or when the foetus is not viable. The draft, which was submitted by Michelle Bachelet’s government, needs Senate approval to become law. Despite being predominantly Catholic, Chile allowed abortion until 1989. To read this article, go here.

Mozambique’s enduring discrimination leaves gay men untreated for HIV. In June, Mozambique dropped a colonial-era law criminalising homosexual activities. The change passed relatively quietly in the southern African country. After all, no one had ever been convicted.

A few weeks later, Tony Andrea felt like he was coming down with malaria. The 22-year-old went to a government health clinic. Andrea is gay and, despite the recently overturned prohibition, had always felt safe being open about his sexuality. He certainly never suspected it might interfere with his ability to access malaria treatment. To read this article, go here.

How stigma can stymie Nigeria’s efforts to extend HIV treatment. More HIV-positive Nigerians could take up antiretroviral treatment if services were provided at government-owned primary health-care centres in the country’s rural areas rather than in urban hospitals.

But for a shift to localised programmes to work, the government will need to destigmatise HIV in rural areas. If this doesn’t happen, patients will stay away because they fear that their HIV status will be disclosed and they’ll be ostracised in their communities. To read this article, go here.

Educating girls could cut child marriage in Bangladesh by a third, study says. Child marriage in Bangladesh could drop by up to one-third if girls receive educational support or skills training, according to a study looking at ways to combat the practice in a country with one of the highest prevalence rates. To read this article, go here.

Nadda launches indigenous female condom. The launch of the female condom seeks to expand the basket of contraceptive choices and reduce unwanted pregnancies, while providing quality healthcare products at affordable cost. To read this article, go here.

Temple Tantrums. Women comprise nearly half of India’s 1.2 billion population, yet gender bias and patriarchal mindsets continue to plague them well into the 21st century. Even holy places — temples and mosques — it seems aren’t free from discriminating against the fair sex.

The country has lately been in the grip of a nationwide furore over a few renowned temples banning women’s entry into their sanctum sanctorum. To read this article, go here.

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