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December 2014 iYAN Newsletter

Advocates for Youth Newsletter

December 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?

Advocates Demands Action from the US to Stop Denying Women and Girls Raped in Conflict Access to Safe Abortion in the Global South. Imani, a member of Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council, addresses the crowd at a White House rally to stand with women and girls raped in conflict. Advocates, along with 20 other human rights, women’s rights, faith-based, and youth organizations rallied at the White House to call on President Obama to take executive action to ensure that U.S. political barriers no longer stand in the way of access to safe abortion services for women and girls overseas who survive rape or incest or whose lives are endangered by a pregnancy. As Imani said during the rally, “Girls and young women around the world and in the direst situations are fighting for their reproductive rights. Now it’s time to stand with them.”

Advocates’ Youth Activists Write about Gender Based Violence for the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence. As part of the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence, which ran from November 25th through December 10th, 2014, Advocates for Youth featured one blog each day from youth activists from Nepal, Jamaica, Pakistan, Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, Madagascar, Kenya, Bulgaria, and the U.S., who sit on our International Youth Leadership Council and Girl Engagement Advisory Boards. The blogs touched on different issues relating to or intersecting with violence against women, including HIV/AIDS, street harassment, female genital cutting/mutilation, LGBT identity, and domestic violence. The blogs also highlighted personal experiences of adolescent girls around the world as well as larger trends and calls for advocacy for change. To read the posts, go here.

Advocates and the Youth Advocacy Network Train Trainers in Lahore, Pakistan. Earlier this month, staff from Advocates for Youth travelled to Lahore, Pakistan, to help facilitate a five-day training in collaboration with Advocates’ partner organization, the Youth Advocacy Network (YAN). YAN’s vision is to enhance meaningful representation and participation of young people with program and policies affecting young people. The goal of this training of trainers training was to equip youth leaders from various provinces with the knowledge and skills to plan and facilitate sexual and reproductive health and right education activities within their communities. A total of 27 young women and men ages 16-24 participated in the training coming from Multan in Punjab, Quetta in Baluchistan, Hyderabad in Sindh, Peshawar in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as well as Lahore.

Participants engaged in conversations about sexual and reproductive health and rights trends, gender inequality, traditional harmful practices like child marriage, and LGBTQ issues. They also had the opportunity to discuss their concerns with the Minister of Population and the Minister of Youth Affairs of Punjab Province. The training culminated with participants developing 6-month action plans on how to engage and educate peers and stakeholders within their communities around youth sexual and reproductive health and rights.

My Voice Counts!

You Can Still Apply for the 2015 Avon Communications Awards. Futures Without Violence and the Communications X-CHANGE are continuing to host a digital library that showcases and shares materials to prevent and end gender-based violence around the world. It now showcases nearly 1,000 amazing, diverse, provocative communications campaigns from over 80 countries, which you can access here: Communications X-Change.

Now you too can become part of the library competing in the 2015 Avon Communications Awards. The awards recognize organizations worldwide whose strategic communications tools are changing our communities, institutions, policies, and behaviors to prevent and eliminate violence against women and children. Materials submitted to the X-CHANGE until January 31, 2015 will be considered for one of five grants totaling $25,000.

To learn more, visit here.

Be Part of the Youth Voice for the Future We Want in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Check out the youth campaign, “Youth Voice – The Future We Want in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.”

What is it? A youth campaign, to ensure a broad consultation and coordination with the young people in the region and our full participation in the ongoing discussion around the post-2015 development framework

When is it? Starting now, until September 2015 Where is it? At both regional and national level Why?The post-2015 development agenda process is arriving at a critical stage which will require our intensified advocacy efforts. The campaign is aiming to ensure that we, young people are placed in the center of the future development agenda, which can only be achieved with our full participation.

How can you contribute?

  • Write an article! Tell us your story, share your opinion, speak out about the issues that are a priority to you and should be part of the future development framework from 2015 onward
  • Make the case for investing in youth! Take a selfie photo and write a short message
  • Mobilize and organize! Build your Action Plan, prepare an advocacy campaign in your country
  • Share resources! Contribute to the Youth Library, at the dedicated web-site for our Campaign, with publications, tool-kits, brochures, fact sheets, info-graphics that you have developed and used and will help youth advocates to plan their actions

For more information, go here.

Tools You Can Use

Towards and AIDS-Free Generation Children and AIDS: Sixth Stocktaking Report, 2013 by UNESCO.

An AIDS-free generation means a generation in which all children are born free of HIV and remain so for the first two decades of life, from birth through adolescence. This Sixth Stocktaking Report examines the progress being made in the response to HIV and AIDS for children. It highlights key strategies to prevent HIV and to accelerate access to the treatment, care and support that children affected by AIDS need to remain alive and well.

To access the summary report, go here.

To access the full report, go here.

Eliminating Discrimination Against Children and Parents Based on Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity, Position Paper by UNICEF. This brief puts forward UNICEF’s position on discrimination of children as well as their parents based on sexual orientation and gender identity—namely that “All children, irrespective of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, have the right to a safe and healthy childhood that is free from discrimination.” The paper goes on to provide further depth to its position, including background and contextual factors of LGBT stigma and discrimination, harmful consequences resulting from discrimination, progress to date, definitions of terminology, and UN treaties and agreements related to LGBT rights.

To access this brief, go here.

The Lancet: Series on violence against women and girls. The Lancet has published a special series on violence against women and girls. The series includes five papers that cover the evidence base for interventions, discuss the vital role of the health sector in care and prevention, show the need for men and women to be involved in effective programs, provide practical lessons from experience in countries, and present a call for action with five key recommendations and indicators to track progress.

To find out more about the series, go here.

Educating Girls: Creating a foundation for positive sexual and reproductive health behaviors by Population Council and USAID. Investments that promote keeping girls in school, particularly in secondary school, have far-reaching and long-term health and development benefits for individuals, families, and communities.

The purpose of this brief is to describe the relationship of girls’ education on family planning and reproductive health and behaviors; highlight evidence-based practices that increase girls’ enrollment, retention, and participation in school; and provide recommendations for how the health sector can support keeping girls in school.

To access the brief, go here.

Post-2015 made simple: Shaping the future of sexual and reproductive health and rights by IPPF. This briefing pack, available in English, French, and Spanish, seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What is the post-2015 development framework, and why is it relevant to us?
  • What is coming next, and how can we engage with the process?
  • What have we ‘won’, and what do we still need to advocate on?
  • What has taken place so far in the process, and how did we get here?

To access the information go here:

English | French | Spanish

Coming up

It’s 2015–Happy New Year from Advocates for Youth!

We at Advocates for Youth would like to congratulate our International Youth Activist Network members for all you have done to advance youth sexual and reproductive health and rights in 2014. Wherever you are in the world, there are young people and allies just like you working hard to make a difference and improve the lives and well-being of all young people. Everyone can make a difference and collectively, there are now 1.8 billion young people ages 10-24 on our planet–a global force to be reckoned with for sure!

As always, we appreciate your engagement with Advocates for Youth and look forward to staying connected and supporting your efforts to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people around the world!


Read All About It!

One in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence from partner. One in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence from their partner, while 7% will be assaulted at some point in their lives by a non-partner, say the authors of a new series of papers in the Lancet. They conclude that too little is being done to counter violence against women, which is endemic around the globe.

To read this article, go here.

United Nations members resolve to end child marriage. The United Nations agreed on Friday that all members should pass and enforce laws banning child marriages, resolving to end a practice that affects about 15 million girls every year.

The committee of the 193-nation General Assembly that deals with human rights adopted by consensus a resolution urging all states to take steps to end “child, early and forced marriage.”

To read this article, go here.

Africa: Aids Is No. 1 Killer of African Teenagers. Two years ago, Shola* was kicked out of the family house in Abeokuta, in southwestern Nigeria, after testing HIV-positive at age 13. He was living with his father, his stepmother and their seven children.

“The stepmother insisted that Shola must go because he is likely to infect her children,” Tayo Akinpelu, programme director of Youth’s Future Savers Initiative, told IPS.

Akinpelu turned to Shola’s mother, who had remarried. But she refused, arguing that his father should be responsible for their son.

To read this article, go here.

South Africa: HIV prevention is failing young South African women. When she found out that she had human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Thabisile Mkhize (not her real name) was scared.

She knew little about the virus that had been living in her body since birth and did not know whom to ask. Her mother had just died and she lived with her grandmother in rural KwaZulu Natal, where the HIV prevalence is the highest in South Africa, at 17 percent.

To read this article, go here.

Mozambique rolls out cervical cancer vaccines for school girls. Mozambique has one of the world’s highest rates of cervical cancer, a disease that kills 4,000 women there every year. A new plan to vaccinate 10-year-old girls could turn the tide in the fight against a devastating illness that is widening an already gapping gender divide in some of the globe’s poorest countries.

To read this article, go here.

Gambian leader approves anti-gay law. The president of Gambia has signed a bill into law that calls for life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, the latest African country to codify harsh penalties for gay people….President Yahya Jammeh signed it on 9 October, though no government officials have publicly notified the country of the law. Jammeh, one of Africa’s most outspoken anti-gay leaders, instructed gay and lesbian people in 2008 to leave the country or risk decapitation.

To read this article, go here.

Asia-Pacific declaration ignores sexual rights of women. While there was unanimity in adopting the Asian and Pacific ministerial declaration on advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, a key aspect of the Beijing declaration and platform for action adopted in 1995 on sexual rights was left out after objections by some countries.

To read this article, go here.

India to boost women taxi drivers, spurred by Uber rape claim. The alleged rape of a woman passenger by an Uber taxi driver once again spotlights the risks of India’s transport system, which fails to keep women safe. One solution: Taxis driven by women for women.

Last year, the southern state of Kerala launched ‘She Taxis’, a fleet of 40 pink taxis run by women, and fitted with wireless tracking gear and panic buttons linked to call centres.

To read this article, go here.

Brazilian women resort to desperate measures after abortion crackdown. It has been a bad few months for Ana Teresa Derraik, clinical director of Rio de Janeiro state’s leading public hospital for obstetric health.

In September, three women were admitted to intensive care after having corrosive chemicals injected into their uteruses. One died, one survived. The third, a 25-year-old mother of one, lost both her feet following surgery that just managed to keep her alive.

To read this article, go here.

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