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August 2017 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 Recruits New Members for its International Youth Leadership Council

Advocates recruited new members for its 2017-1018 International Youth Leadership Council. The International Youth Leadership Council is a group of undergraduate college students based in the United States in the Washington, DC area. Please join us in welcoming Caroline, Emma, Gabriella, Madelynn and Kory and welcoming back Allison, Liliana and Kalpana to this year’s International Youth Leadership Council! Council members are students and several DC-based universities, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, George Mason University, and American University.

Council members work to educate and mobilize peers and advocate for improved US foreign policy and global policy to advance young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the global south. There will be much work to do for the council members this coming year in order to counter efforts to cut US funding for global health, including international family planning, the US contribution to UNFPA, and HIV/AIDS funding, and other new developments that threaten young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the global south, such as the re-instatement and expansion of the Global Gag Rule. The Global Gag Rule is an executive order that prohibits organizations in the global south that receive US global health funding from using their own, independent funds to advocate for, provide information about, or refer women to abortion services.

Council members will also be actively engaged in United Nations processes and global advocacy, particularly leading up to the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Population and Development, and ongoing efforts to hold governments accountable to SDGs. While all 17 SDGs are critical and interlinked, the IYLC will focus particularly on SDG 3 (Good Health), SDG4 (Quality Education), and SDG 5 (Gender Equality). Council members will be developing action plans come September at Advocates’ annual youth leadership training institute so stay tuned!

My Voice Counts!

Attention Youth-Led Organizations–Apply for a Grant to Advance Access to Family Planning!

Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) has launched Rapid Response Mechanism’s Youth Outreach.—a one-time call for proposals focusing on youth-led and youth-focused initiatives. Through this call, FP2020 aims to:

  • Expand adolescent and youth’s access to a range of contraceptive methods by advancing rights-based programs and policies;

  • Strengthen the capacity of youth-led and youth-focused national CSOs working on family planning; and

  • Learn from the next generation of family planning leaders on how best to support your efforts.

This one-time call for proposals ends on Aug. 30, 2017. Learn more about eligibility and the application process by visiting www.familyplanning2020.org/rrm/youth or learn more through the following Webinars:

English-language webinar: Aug 22, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. EST (register here)

French-language webinar: Aug. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. EST (register here)

Attention Girls Ages 13-18—Participate in the International Day of the Girl 2017 GIRLS SPEAK OUT!

This year marks the sixth anniversary of the International Day of the Girl (October 11). To commemorate this anniversary, the Day of the Girl Summit organizers are looking to feature creative work by girls on October 11th at the United Nations. For this, they are asking girls to answer this question:

What is it like for you to be a girl facing injustice?

Organizers are looking for stories about how girls handle a specific crisis or injustice. It could be a community crisis or injustice such as unfairness in education, violence, sexism, war, climate change, or so many others.

Stories will be selected to be featured during International Day of the Girl 2017on Wednesday, October 11, at the United Nations in New York City. Stories can be shared through art, pictures, poetry, song, and video.

The deadline to submit your story is Friday, August 18th 11:59PM US EST/Saturday August 19 UTC 3:59AM.

For more information about how to submit your story, go here. For additional information about the Speak Out and to view last year’s Speak Out, go here.

You Can Still Enter the UNFCCC’s Youth Video Competition to Inspire Others on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is holding its youth video competition. If you are between the ages of 18 and 30, the UNFCCC wants to hear about the inspiring actions you are taking to combat climate change in a compelling and concise video that is no more than three minutes long. This is a chance to showcase a project or a campaign that you are involved in, which relate to one of this year’s two competition categories:

-Category 1: Climate friendly and resilient cities

-Category 2: Oceans and climate change

Prizes include:

• A round trip to COP23 in Bonn, Germany this November 2017

• A position as a youth reporter at COP23, where you will assist the UNFCCC Newsroom team with videos, articles and social media posts

All entries will be showcased on a global map that will be exhibited on the UNFCCC web page. The deadline to submit a video is August 18, 2017. For details, click here.

Help Inform the Development of Guidelines for a Youth-Led Abortion Storytelling Toolkit for Eastern Europe

Last year, YouAct developed the Speak my language – Abortion Storytelling in Eastern Europe from a Youth Perspective.” toolkit to counter stigma and taboos around abortion in the region. This year, they would like to develop a set of practical guidelines, which together with a webinar, will help support the use and application of the Speak my Language Toolkit. If you would like to contribute your ideas to the guidelines, please fill out this survey by August 15th

Tools You Can Use

Briefing Cards for Parliamentarians: Active Ageing, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and Investing in Youth
By the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development

These briefing cards highlight evidence-based policy practices and legislation and provide data and statistics on three main themes: gender equality and women’s empowerment, investing in youth, and active ageing, with three cross-cutting topics of health, participation and safety/security. User-friendly briefing cards address the cross-cutting topics within each of the three main themes, with supporting relevant data and statistics. To access the briefing cards, go here.

Advancing the Human Rights and Inclusion of LGBT People: A Handbook for Parliamentarians
By the United Nations Development Programme and Parliamentarians for Global Action

This handbook, which is now available in Thai, sets out relevant human rights frameworks and highlights the role of parliamentarians in implementing Agenda 2030, to ensure no one, including LGBTI people, is left behind. It offers practical tips, tools and resources designed to support parliamentarians to undertake legislative, representational and oversight activities that advance the rights and inclusion of LGBTI people. To access the handbook in English, Vietnamese, and Thai, go here or in Spanish go here.




The Youth Political Participation Programme Guide
By the National Democratic Institute

The Youth Political Particpation Programming Guide is designed to help democracy and governance practitioners work more effectively to support the political inclusion of young people. The guide distills the findings of a recent study conducted by the National Democratic Institute that included a review of contemporary literature on youth development, an examination of its youth programs, discussions with other democracy and governance assistance organizations, and a series of consultations with young political leaders and activists from four continents. To access the guide, go here.


Guide for Promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health Products and Services for Men
By the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative

This guide focuses on meaningfully engaging men and creating an enabling environment to increase men’s use of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) products and services. Drawing on lessons learned from the promotion of male condoms, vasectomy, voluntary medical male circumcision, HIV testing services and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, the guide provides guidance, resources and examples of approaches that have increased men’s use of sexual and reproductive health products and services in a variety of settings. To access the guide, go here.

The Next Frontier: Stop New HIV Infections in Adolescent Girls and Young Women
By the Center for Strategic and International Studies

In this new report, the importance of preventing HIV infection among adolescent girls and young women in East and Southern Africa is discussed. The report highlights U.S. efforts to address the epidemic in the region through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEFPAR), including the DREAMS initiative, and outlines next steps for the current United States Administration and Congress.


Read All About It!

World population to hit 8bn in 2023, says new UN survey . The world’s population will break through the 8 billion mark in 2023, there are more men than women, and next year the number of over 60s will top 1 billion for the first time, according to the latest findings and forecasts from the United Nations annual population survey. To read the article, go here.

One by One, Marry-Your-Rapist Laws Are Falling in the Middle East. Gruesome billboards of a woman in a bloodied and torn bridal gown appeared around Beirut recently, captioned in Arabic: “A white dress doesn’t cover up rape.” This spring, a women’s rights group, Abaad, hung similarly defiled gowns along the city’s famous seaside promenade. Such provocative public awareness campaigns are part of a new push in Lebanon and across the Middle East to repeal longstanding laws that allow rapists to avoid criminal prosecution if they marry their victims. To read this article, go here.

Sierra Leone: teenage girls are dying from unsafe abortions and risky pregnancies . I recently saw a girl in clinic with terrible complications following a caesarean section. The operation had been botched and she had an infection around her uterus. She was in terrible pain and critically unwell. This was in the children’s clinic; the girl was 14 years old. This scenario is all too common. She is just one of the thousands of adolescent girls estimated to have become pregnant this year in Sierra Leone. To read this article, go here.

Asia’s youngest nation offers glimmer of hope for LGBT rights. Marching through the streets of East Timor’s capital Dili with a rainbow flag in his hand, Natalino Guterres was overwhelmed with emotion, reminding him of how he felt 15 years ago when he saw the Timorese flag raised for the first time. “It was an emotional moment,” he said of the pride parade. To read this article, go here.

How significant were the pledges at the London Family Planning Summit?. Advocates have welcomed the news that an estimated $5 billion was pledged to improve and expand reproductive health services in developing countries at the London Family Planning Summit earlier this month — double the figure cited in initial reports — but say it still falls far short of the sums needed, and that better monitoring systems are required to ensure the commitments materialize. To read this article, go here.

U.N. urges Nigeria to rescue all Chibok girls, ensure schooling. United Nations human rights committee called on the Nigerian government on Monday to step up efforts to rescue all women and girls abducted by Boko Haram and to ensure they return to school without stigma. Roughly 100 of the 270 girls abducted by the Islamist militants at their secondary school in Chibok in northeast Nigeria in April 2014 have been released and another 60 have escaped, but about 100 are still believed to be in captivity. To read this article, go here.

Bid to ease Chile’s abortion ban hits roadblock. Chile’s Chamber of Deputies fell one vote short of passing the Senate version of a bill easing the country’s strict abortion law, a surprise setback to President Michelle Bachelet and abortion rights advocates. The Senate narrowly passed a bill on Wednesday that would legalize abortion when a woman’s life is in danger, when a fetus is unviable or when a pregnancy results from rape. To read this article, go here.


International Youth Day, August 12, 2014

On December, 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth that August 12th be declared International Youth Day. This year’s theme is “Youth Building Peace.” There are 1.8 billion young people ages 10-24 in the world. Now more than ever, with the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, this International Youth Day is an opportunity to bring attention to young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace. The 2020 Agenda for Sustainable Development affirmed that “Sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security”. Goal 16 is focused on Peace and Justice, aiming to ensure responsive, inclusive, and participatory decision-making at all levels. All the SDGs are interlinked and so this is also an opportunity to make connections between Peace and Justice and Goal 3 on Good Health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, and Goal 5 on Gender Equality. Investing in young people’s leadership, participation, peace building, health and a more gender equitable society are all critical to realizing the 2030 Agenda.

What can you do?

  • Learn more about International Youth Day and the 2030 Agenda.

  • Host a community event to raise awareness about the importance of investing in young people and how this relates to the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

  • Engage with coalitions or organizations working in your community to advance peace and young people’s rights, participation, health, and well-being.

  • Identify and request a meeting with community leaders and/or decision-makers to inform them about the importance of investing in young people and ensuring that they have the information and services to lead healthy lives.

  • To read about sexual and reproductive health and rights issues impacting young people around the world, check out these facts sheets:

The Reproductive and Sexual Health of Young People in Low and Middle Income Countries, located here.

Youth and the Global HIV Pandemic, located here (English).

The Reproductive and Sexual Health of Adolescent Girls in Low and Middle Income Countries, located here.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in the Global South, located here.


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