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April 2018 iYAN Newsletter

Advocates for Youth Newsletter



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 Attends the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

Last month, Advocates’ staff and three members of our International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC) attended the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This year’s priority theme was “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” While at the CSW, Advocates attended UN plenaries and sessions, engaged in side events, participated in social media, and coordinated with other activists to advocates for progressive language in the outcome document.

On the very first day of the CSW, in collaboration with Women Deliver and Pathfinder International, Advocates hosted a side event entitled, “Advancing the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Rural Adolescent Girls.” The panel session was moderated by Anna Szczegielniak, a Women Deliver young leader from Poland and included the following speakers:

  • Aditi Sharma, a Women Deliver Young Leader, shared about her passion and work to empower adolescent girls through puberty education and menstrual hygiene management in rural Nepal.

  • Kalpana Vissa, a member of Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council, spoke about why she is an activist and how she works to both raise awareness about global sexual and reproductive health and rights on her campus and influence US foreign policy to support adolescent girls and young women living in rural communities.

  • Nicole Cheetham, Advocates’ International Youth Health and Rights Division Director provided updates and lessons learned from Advocates’ community mobilization program in Burkina Faso to empower adolescent girls through in and out-of-school sexuality education and linkages to services in collaboration with local partners.

  • Kiki Kalkstein, Pathfinders’ Senior Policy Analyst, discussed best practices and various programs that Pathfinder implements to advance the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.

Some of the lessons shared across panelists included the importance of community engagement and involvement of parents to help shift cultural norms and build enabling environments for girls to access sexuality education and services, as well as the importance of engaging girls in programming and providing training and building capacity for community-based organizations and youth leadership.

To read Advocates’ written statement to the 62nd session of the Commission of the Status of Women go here and for a joint statement lead by the Youth Coalition and with colleague organizations, go here.

AMAZE South Africa Releases Three More Sexuality Education Videos for Very Young Adolescents

AMAZE is an initiative of Advocates for Youth, YouthTech Health, and ANSWER, which produces and disseminates funny, informative, and animated sexuality education videos for very young adolescents in the United States and around the world, ages 10-14, along with information and resources for parents and educators. AMAZE South Africa, in collaboration with TVSMITHS, has recently released three new adapted videos, including: Porn: Fact or Fiction; Protected and Connected and Is It Love?

Check out the AMAZE South Africa YouTube channel and website.

Check Out Advocates’ Blog Post for the Deliver for Good Campaign

Deliver for Good is a global campaign, initiated by Women Deliver and partners that applies a gender lens to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promotes 12 critical investments in girls and women to power progress for all. The evidence-based advocacy campaign calls for enhanced policies, programming, and investments in girls and women. Deliver for Good highlights the ripple effects of investing in girls and women so decision makers understand the central role that gender equality plays in global development efforts.

This month’s theme is Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. To read Advocates’ post, Engaging Parents — Creating an Enabling Environment to Advance Young People’s SRHR, featured in the Women Deliver newsletter, go here. To sign up for the newsletter or view previous issues, go here.

My Voice Counts!

Apply for a scholarship to attend the International Conference on Family Planning

If you are 18-25 year of age and are engaged in efforts to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights and access to family planning, you could win a chance to attend the International Conference on Family Planning 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda – November 10-15. Submit a video application to get travel, accommodation, and conference fees covered. More details here and go here to apply in English or French.

Tools You Can Use

Global, Regional, and Subregional Trends in Unintended Pregnancy and Its Outcomes from 1990 to 2014
By the Guttmacher Institute inThe Lancet Global Health

This study highlights the incidence of unintended pregnancies in all world regions, using an updated methodology and a broader evidence base than past studies to examine changes over time. It reports that rates of unintended pregnancy have decreased globally since 1990, dropping less sharply in developing regions (16%) than in developed regions (30%). The researchers also found that during the most recent period (2010–2014), an estimated 44% of pregnancies worldwide were unintended. This translates to a rate of 62 unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–44, a decrease from 74 per 1,000 women in 1990–1994. To access the report, go here.

On the CUSP of Change: Effective scaling of social norms programming for gender equality
By Community for Understanding Scale-Up

The social norms we hold are influenced by our relationships with the people who surround us in our lives (family, colleagues, wider society). The complexity of changing widely held beliefs about what is considered acceptable behavior at large scale demands time and commitment. This policy brief focuses on key challenges and opportunities of taking social norms programs to scale, recognizing the importance of listening to, learning from and involving members of local communities as leaders and owners of social change. To access the toolkit, go here.

Second Edition of Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth (MCPC)

The Second edition of MCPC and related products, including the technical PPT, provide up to date evidence-based clinical guidelines for midwives, nurses and doctors who care for pregnant women and newborns with complications. In addition to the technical PPT, there is a summary brief and corresponding translated briefs (in French, Spanish, and Portuguese) summarizing key MCPC revisions.

Find the MCPC technical PPT here, along with the summary brief (in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese)

Find the complete Second edition MCPC here: http://bit.ly/2u9D7xG

Pregnancy and Childbirth (MCPC): http://bit.ly/MCPC-Brief

Advocacy for Better Health Website

USAID’s Advocacy for Better Health (ABH) program in Uganda has worked since 2014 to improve health policies, increase budgets, strengthen health service delivery, and ultimately hold leaders across the country accountable for health policies through sustainable, citizen-centered advocacy. ABH just released a new suite of materials for health advocates. The new website, portfolio, and photobook dive deeper into the ABH program and the model, which can be used to inform advocacy programming.

Read All About It!

Teenage pregnancies still rampant in Zim. Getrude Katsande, the Zimbabwe National Family Planing Council (ZNFPC) provincial manager for Mashonaland West yesterday told journalists at a Population Services Zimbabwe (PSZ) and ZNFPC family planning media advocacy workshop in Kadoma that areas such as Matabeleland North and Mashonaland West recorded the highest cases of teenage pregnancies in the country. To read this article, go here.

Providing youth-friendly health services key in fighting teenage pregnancies (Uganda). At 20 years, Rabiya Nakaziba, a resident of Busowobi Parish in Iganga has chosen to have implants. This is a method of family planning made up of two small rods like matchsticks that are put under the skin of an arm. They keep on releasing hormones, which prevent pregnancy and they work for up to five years. To read this article, go here.

Implant contraceptive use on the rise in Ghana – Study. Implant contraception use is rising rapidly and equitably in many sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries including Ghana, across almost all socio-demographic categories, a study says. To read this article, go here.

Teen Mom Tanzania: denied sex education, then criminalised for pregnancy.Tanzania was under the spotlight at the start of this year after the arrest of five school girls for becoming pregnant. The girls were held in the Mtwara region of the country along with their parents as part of a so-called crackdown on teenage pregnancy announced by district commissioner Sebastian Waryuba. To read this article, go here.

Contraceptive prevalence on rise in MENA though at varying pace. In addition to being critical for the health of women and their families, family planning can accelerate a country’s progress towards reducing poverty and achieving development. It is even more pertinent in a politically unstable region with rapid population growth, which the Middle East and North Africa have been experiencing. To read this article, go here.

INTERVIEW – Freed Salvadoran woman vows to fight for others jailed for abortion crimes. When Salvadoran Teodora Vasquez was freed this month after more than a decade in prison for a murder she says she did not commit, her thoughts turned to being reunited with her son and to helping other women behind bars. To read this article, go here.

Chilean women’s lives at risk with ‘backdoor’ restrictions on new abortion law. Women and girls in Chile, including rape victims, will find it harder to access legal abortions – after a total ban was lifted in August – as the government has started allowing clinics to deny services on moral grounds, campaigners said on Thursday. To read this article, go here.

Argentina gets closer to expanded abortion rights. The tide is turning for abortion rights in Argentina. Congress is to consider a bill giving women access to legal abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Last March 6, more than 70 members of the Argentine Congress supported a bill to decriminalize abortion. To read this article, go here.

Gay Kenyans sense they may be on the brink of a historic legal triumph. Faced with police shakedowns and abuse, rejection from religious conservatives and rampant discrimination, Kenyan LGBT rights activists are challenging provisions of this former British colony’s Victorian-era penal code that implicitly outlaw gay sex. To read this article, go here.


Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, May 17

This day 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.

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.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is also an opportunity to speak out about LGBTQI youth rights. Check out the information below and join the movement! To find out more about other actions you can take part in around the world for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biophobia, click here: www.dayagainsthomophobia.org

May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day

#NoMoreLimits Empowering women and girls through good menstrual hygiene

Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) is a global platform that brings together non-profits, government agencies, the private sector, the media and individuals to promote Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).

MH Day raises awareness of the challenges women and girls worldwide face due to their menstruation and highlights solutions that address these challenges, including through media work. This year’s theme is: No More Limits: Empowering women and girls through good menstrual hygiene.

Why does menstruation matter?

-To know more about the Menstrual Hygiene Day, visit the website: www.menstrualhygieneday.org

-To access the campaign materials, which are coming soon, go to: www.menstrualhygieneday.org/materials/2017-campaign-materials/


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