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February 2015 iYAN Newsletter

Advocates for Youth Newsletter

February 2015

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’ Ground Breaking Play About Women’s Abortion Stories Debut’s in Washington, DC, USA, at the Studio Theatre!The 1 in 3 campaign’s all-new theatrical production Out of Silence, Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign debuted last month to a packed house at the Studio Theatre in downtown Washington DC. The heart-wrenching, humorous and thought-provoking play featured 13 individual stories acted out by young, diverse and vibrant professional actors, who depicted many of the experiences women and their loved ones, friends and families face. Read more…

Advocates Presents on International LGBT Issues at Creating Change Conference.

Staff from Advocates for Youth and our partner organization, Quality of Citizenship Jamaica, presented on several panels during the 27th National Conference on LGBT Equality, Creating Change, which took place in Denver, Colorado, USA. Creating Change is the largest annual gathering of activists, organizers and leaders in the LGBTQ movement in the United States. Given that the LGBTQ community experiences inequality and persecution in 76+ countries, panelists discussed what responsible global LGBTQ activism and solidarity look like, such as always working with local partners, making safety of activists the highest priority, and not assuming that western markers of success in advancing LGBT rights are the same in the global south. Read more…

Advocates Shares Promising Practices at CARE Girl’s Education and Empowerment Consultative Workshop.

Advocates attended a Girl’s Education and Empowerment Consultative Workshop hosted by Care International where staff served as a discussant, sharing best practices for engaging adolescent girls and young people meaningfully in advocacy efforts. Along with other participants, staff provided inputs to inform CARE’s forthcoming theory of change for the empowerment of girls through comprehensive education programming. Some important considerations that emerged were the need to recognize what constitutes girls’ empowerment in a local context as well the importance and challenge of fostering girls’ empowerment at multiple levels and finding ways to measure impact, such as individual, systems, and social level change.

My Voice Counts!

Check Out the Our Moment Campaign to Advance Girls’ Rights in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.The Our Moment Campaign is part of a global movement to advance adolescent girls’ rights. Now more than ever, countries and institutions around the world realize that development is not possible if we continue to live in a world where girls’ rights are violated and their opportunities to live to their full potential are denied. Even so, leaders fail to prioritize adolescent girls within policies, investments, and programming that could turn the tide towards a more equitable and just world.

In 2015, governments have the opportunity to make a change as they negotiate the world’s new Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals that expire this year. The Our Moment Campaign seeks to ensure that adolescent girls’ rights to education, health, safety, economic security, and citizenship are prioritized within these new goals. It builds on the Girl Declaration, a declaration that articulates the needs of over 500 adolescent girls living in poverty in 14 countries who have raised their voices to tell it like it is. Now is your chance to raise your voice too.

Check out the Our Moment campaign materials and use them far and wide to make this your moment to realize a world that recognizes girls’ power and prioritizes their rights. To access the Our Moment materials, go here:

AmplifyChange–a new multi-donor fund to support civil society advocacy on sexual and reproductive health and rights! Launched in New York by the Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, Mogens Jensen and H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary, AmplifyChange seeks to ‘amplify’ the voice of southern civil society in advocating for sexual and reproductive health rights, particularly as it relates to the most neglected aspects of the International Conference on Population and Development agenda.

The priority areas of AmplifyChange therefore are:

  • Combatting gender-based violence, including sexual violence and female genital mutilation
  • Increasing access to comprehensive reproductive health services for socially and economically marginalized and vulnerable
  • Addressing the causes of unsafe abortion including decriminalization of abortion and supporting women’s rights to safe and legal abortion
  • Promoting the sexual health of young boys and girls, including comprehensive sexuality education and addressing child and early marriage
  • Challenging stigma, discrimination, attitudes and laws that undermine human rights, including on grounds of gender or sexual orientation of LGBTI individuals

AmplifyChange operates with four types of grants: Network, Strengthening, Innovation and Strategic grants. Geographically, AmplifyChange focuses primarily on sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The first call for proposals commenced 2 February 2015. It is in the category “Network Grants”.

For more information, go to www.amplifychange.org

New Small Grants to Support Evaluation! The MEASURE Evaluation project has released a request for applications for its small grants program to support an evaluation topic that has been identified as a country-led health priority. The primary objectives of this program are:

  1. To build capacity among local researchers to conduct and participate in a rigorous evaluation related to a health topic, and
  2. To support research gaps through the development of evaluations to inform programmatic or policy decision-making related to health.

Given that implementation of a full evaluation is likely to exceed the time and budget available for a small grant, the small grants are expected to focus on a component of a rigorous evaluation. Examples include the development of an evaluation protocol, addition of a qualitative component to an existing evaluation, or analysis of previously collected data to address an evaluation question.

Eligible candidates include country or regional academic institutions or centers, non-profit and for-profit research organizations, parastatals, and research-focused NGOs. Individuals representing themselves and not an institution/organization, as well as those representing a regional/field office for an international NGO are ineligible for this funding opportunity. The base amount for a small grant is US$15,000, which is intended to cover basic research expenses for a twelve-month timeline.

Concept papers are due by March 16, 2015. Short-listed candidates will be requested to submit a detailed research proposal (5-10 pages). Proposals must focus on evaluations that address health areas supported by USAID, i.e., family planning/reproductive health; maternal and child health (MCH); food security and nutrition; HIV/AIDS, including interventions for orphans and vulnerable children; tuberculosis (TB); malaria; water and sanitation; and gender.

For more information, go here.

It’s the Global Money Week (GMW) Awareness Campaign. Hosted by Children and Youth Financial International, this campaign will take place between March 9th until 17th, 2015. The goal of the campaign is to teach young girls about money, saving, creating livelihoods, gaining employment and becoming an entrepreneur through fun and interactive activities. Every year, entire communities take action to create awareness, challenge out of date financial policies and give young people the tools and inspiration they need to shape their own future.

This year’s campaign theme is ‘Save today. Safe tomorrow.” Here are some examples of events hosted across 118 countries during the campaign last year:

  • Visits to museums, banks and other financial institutions, and ad service providers to find out how they work.
  • Ring the bell: Visiting stock exchanges, with many children and young people ringing the bell to open or close the day’s trading.
  • Debates on financial education, enterprise and employment took place in schools and on national and community radio. Also, children and youth got the chance to discuss these issues with global policy-makers.
  • Youth Talks provided an opportunity for young girls from one country to connect with youth from around the globe, via an online video conferencing program, to discuss money related topics.

For more information about the campaign, go here.

Tools You Can Use

101 on the Post-2015 Development Agenda by the UN Foundation. For a fun and simple explanation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, check out this synthesis complete with gifs! Go here.

The Reproductive and Sexual Health of Adolescent Girls in Low and Middle Income Countries by Advocates for Youth.

This handy factsheet synthesizes some of the latest data from low and middle income countries on adolescent girls and their sexual and reproductive health, education, safety, economic security, and citizenship. It can be used to inform programming for adolescent girls as well as advocacy efforts to advance girls’ health and rights.

To access the fact sheet, go here

State of the World’s Children 2015 by UNICEF. This is the first fully digital State of the World’s Children report, reflecting UNICEF’s efforts to include children, adolescents, and youth in an ongoing conversation to amplify their words. Content is tagged to allow readers to personalize their experience. Statistical tables reflecting the data available as of August 2014 for the 2015 edition begin on page 27 of the report.

To access the report in pdf format, go here.

To access the interactive version of the report, go here.

Influencing the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Urban Youth Through Social and Behavior Change Communication by the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This literature review and searchable database of 123 peer-reviewed journal articles were developed from a review and programme scan of peer-reviewed and grey literature on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of adolescents and youth in urban areas to explore the behavioral drivers, barriers and contextual factors and identify SBCC interventions targeting the sexual health of urban youth. The executive summary includes the findings that highlight promising practices and synthesize lessons learned, and offer insight into the elements that may yield more positive results for behavior change among urban youth.

To access the executive summary, go here.

To access the full report, go here.

Youth act for safe abortion: A training guide for future health professionals by Ipas, in collaboration with the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA). This resource was designed with and for health sciences students to teach the importance of safe abortion for women’s health and rights and to provide strategies young people can use to increase women’s access to safe abortion.

The guide can be implemented as a three-day workshop or as shorter training sessions and activities. The guide has been tested and refined through trainings with medical students at global and regional IFMSA meetings. To access the guide, go here: www.ipas.org/youthact. Please note this guide will also be available for download in Spanish later in 2015.

Coming up

Mark Your Calendar: International Women’s Day is March 8th! March 8th marks International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!” The theme envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.

In 2015, International Women’s Day highlights the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain. This year’s International Women’s Day also comes at a critical moment when the new Sustainable Development Goals are being negotiated, which will drive development priorities for the next 15 years. This is the time to uphold women and girls’ achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part.

So raise your voices and mobilize on this International Women’s Day to celebrate women and girls and make change for a better future for all!

To raise awareness about International Women’s Day, you can:

  • Access information about International Women’s Day here.
  • Read the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action here.
  • Check out and share Advocates’ Our Moment Campaign materials to advocate for girls’ rights in the post-2015 development agenda here.
  • Read the Girl Declaration here.
  • Blog about it International Women’s Day on amplifyyourvoice.org! What have you been doing to inspire change in women and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights and gender equality? What is the change that you would like to see?
  • Talk to your family and friends about International Women’s Day and engage in a dialogue about what it is, why it is important, and how they can get involved.
  • Organize a community or school event to raise awareness about International Women’s Day and invite a speaker to talk about some of the challenges and successes facing young women in your community.
  • Meet with decision makers and community leaders to find out about existing policies related to young women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality and share your recommendations.
  • Tweet about International Women’s Day at #iwd2015 Tweets
  • Get informed! Learn more about young women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights issues and gender equality by checking out these additional resources below:

The Reproductive and Sexual Health of Adolescent Girls in Low and Middle Income Countries

The Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young People in Low and Middle Income Countries:

English | French

The Facts: Gender Inequality and Violence Against Women and Girls Around the World:


Youth and Unsafe Abortion: A Global Snapshot:

English | French

Youth and the Global HIV Pandemic:


Young People Living with HIV around the World:

English | French

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women and Youth in the Context of Climate Change:

English | Spanish


Read All About It!

Fifteen million unwanted pregnancies a year caused by underuse of modern contraception. Fifteen million out of 16.7 million unwanted pregnancies a year could be avoided in 35 low- and middle-income countries if women had the opportunity to use modern methods of contraception, according to a study that applies to about one-third of the world’s population.

To read this article, go here.

Rape, acid attacks, kidnap: girls face rising violence in fight for education. High-profile attacks such as the abduction 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan are a fraction of what is suffered by girls trying to get an education, the U.N. human rights office said on Monday.

To read this article, go here.

Africa Focus: African first ladies vow action on maternal health, gender violence. The wives of African presidents on Saturday vowed to rejuvenate the fight against maternal health, gender violence and discrimination to ensure women are critical players in the continent’s development.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing AU summit in Addis Ababa, the first ladies endorsed a raft of strategies to promote women’s health and economic empowerment.

To read this article, go here.

Malawi bans child marriage, lifts minimum age to 18. Malawi has passed a law banning child marriage, raising the minimum age to 18 in a country where half of girls end up as child brides.

Women rights campaigners hailed the move as “a great day for Malawian girls” and said the law would help boost development in one of the world’s poorest countries.

To read this article, go here.

After years of silence, Turkey’s women are going into battle against oppression. As a high-school student in Turkey, whenever I took the bus I would make sure to keep an open safety pin in my hand – to poke molesters with. By the time I started university, I was carrying pepper spray in my bag, as did many of my female friends. We spoke about these things among ourselves, quietly. Today, Turkey’s women are publicly sharing stories of sexual harassment, opening up and speaking out. We are worried. We are mourning. At the same time, we are angry.

To read this article, go here.

Nigeria: Jonathan Signs HIV/Aids Anti-Discrimination Law. President Goodluck Jonathan has signed the HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination law, reflecting Nigeria’s commitment to stopping all forms of stigmatization and discrimination targeted at people living with HIV.

To read this news update, go here.

Nigeria: ‘Nigeria’s HIV Prevalence Down to 3.6 Percent’. The Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) says Nigeria has brought the prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from 4.4 per cent to 3.6 per cent and has succeeded in reducing Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) from what was initially a “death sentence” to a chronic disease.

To read this article, go here.

Jamaica on track to eliminate mother-to-child HIV. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) says Jamaica is on track to be among the first countries in the world to reach targets for the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

The country’s status will be confirmed later this month, once the Ministry of Health submits its country report to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNAIDS said in a release Tuesday.

To read this article, go here.

Chile’s President Pushes to Ease Ban on All Abortions. President Michelle Bachelet sent legislation to Congress.…proposing to allow some abortions in Chile, a socially conservative South American nation that is among the few countries in the world that ban abortion in all circumstances.

The bill would decriminalize abortions in three types of cases: malformation of a fetus, a pregnancy posing a threat to the life of a woman carrying a fetus, and conception caused by rape.

To read this article, go here.

U.S. lawmakers introduce bill to promote LGBT rights worldwide. U.S. lawmakers in both houses of Congress introduced…a bill to protect and promote the rights of the international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The International Human Rights Defense Act, spearheaded by Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California, both Democrats, would appoint a special envoy within the U.S. Department of State to coordinate efforts to prevent discrimination and advance the rights of LGBT people worldwide.

To read this article, go here.

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