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February 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 and its partners complete second round of teacher training in Burkina Faso and disseminate new learners’ booklet

Teachers in Leo, Burkina Faso, review and provide final inputs to learners’ booklet during teacher training

Last month Advocates supported a second round of teacher training for the school year in Burkina Faso, based on its sexuality education teacher training module originally developed for UNESCO for East and Southern Africa. In collaboration with Advocates, Mwangaza Action and the Association des Jeunes du Département de Léo replicated the training from last year. A total of 35 teachers, some new and some returning, from 10 public primary schools, were trained. They are delivering a set of sexuality education lessons plans through approximately 745 sessions across the schools for students ages 10-14 this school year. The training also served to provide a space for teachers to fully review and make final amendments to the learners’ booklet developed by Mwangaza and Advocates, in response to requests to have a resource tied to the lessons that learners could access on their own.

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 Ensure Equitable and Quality Education at All Levels. To read Advocates’ post, Gender Parity is Only Part of the Equation, for this month’s theme 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 the Women Thrive Second Annual National SDG Scorecard!

This data collection tool was designed in collaboration with Women Thrive Alliance members in late 2016 and is aimed at gathering grassroots women’s rights groups perspectives on national-level SDG-related decision-making. Specifically, it looks at:

  • Knowledge of and access to information about the SDGs;

  • Participation in national-level SDG-related decision-making;

  • 2017 advocacy on SDGs and SDG5, and

  • Safety in promoting gender equality.

If you are a grassroots group or are connected to grassroots organizations via the work you do, fill out the scorecard here and share with your grassroots partners. It will take approximately 20-30 minutes of your time to fill out. The data from the scorecard will be used to design evidence-based collective advocacy messages directed at both national and global decision-makers to better include and promote the inclusion of grassroots women’s rights and gender equality advocates in high-level SDG-related decision making. Last year’s results led to Women Thrive’s #InTheRoom campaign, which we will be continued this year.

Apply for a FRIDA grant!

FRIDA grants are given to organizations and groups that are dedicated to:

  • Improving the lives of young women/trans* and intersex youth at local, national, regional or international levels

  • Inclusive organizing

  • Collective action and feminist movement building

Grantee organizations that FRIDA supports are led by young women and/or trans* and intersex* youth, under the age of 30. At least 70% of an organization’s membership needs to be people under 30 and the leadership in the group needs to be young women and/or trans* and intersex people under 30. Priority will be given to:

  • Small, emerging grassroots groups with little or no access to funding from larger donors

  • Groups, networks, or collectives based in Sub Saharan Africa, South, Southeast, East Asia and the Pacific, The Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Central, Southern, Eastern Europe and Central and North Asia)

  • Groups located in remote, underserved areas

  • Groups that are made up of and/or working with socially excluded and disadvantaged young women, trans* and intersex youth, especially: refugees, ethnic, national and caste minorities, rural women, urban disadvantaged, lesbian, bisexual, trans*, women and trans* living with HIV and AIDS, sex workers, women and trans* with disabilities, women and trans* living or working in armed conflicts and post conflict zones, women and trans lead unions, groups working on climate justice, land rights

  • Groups using creative and innovative strategies to further their activism (including art, music, culture, poetry, social media, feminist activist driven research etc.)

Organizations can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 USD. Grant money is flexible, it can be used over a period of 12 months for general support and/or projects, and are open to renewal. The deadline to apply is March 8, 2018. To learn more about FRIDA, go here. To apply for a grant, go here.

Tools You Can Use

Breaking Ground 2018: Treaty Monitoring Bodies on Reproductive Rights
By the Center for Reproductive Rights

This booklet summarizes the jurisprudence from United Nations treaty monitoring bodies (TMBs) on reproductive rights, particularly the standards on reproductive health information and contraception, maternal health care, and abortion. It is intended to provide treaty body experts and human rights advocates with succinct and accessible information on the standards being adopted across treaty monitoring bodies surrounding these important rights. To access the booklet, go here.

The world’s most dangerous megacities for women
By the Thomson Reuters Foundation

With cities across the globe growing rapidly, the future looks set to be urban with an estimated 66 percent of the population to be living in urban areas by 2050 up from 54 percent today. The number of megacities housing over 10 million people has tripled since 1990 to 31 with the United Nations forecasting this will rise to 41 by 2030. While cities can drive development and reduce poverty, rapid urban growth can also create a new set of problems if the right infrastructure is not in place or policies don’t ensure the benefits of city life are equally shared. In the first poll of its kind, the Thomson Reuters Foundation asked experts in women’s issues which of the world’s megacities are safe for women – and which need to do more to ensure women are not at risk of sexual violence and harassment and harmful cultural practices and have access to healthcare, finance and education. To access the report, go here.

Understanding medicalisation of FGM/C: A qualitative study of parents and health workers in Nigeria
By the Population Council

This report shares findings from a community-based, cross-sectional qualitative study, which was conducted in four communities in Nigeria’s Delta, Ekiti, Imo, and Kaduna states. The purpose was to better understand the medicalisation of FGM/C and to provide critical evidence needed to effectively design abandonment interventions. To access the report, go here.

SDG Board Game
By the United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC)

This game aims to help teach children around the world about the Sustainable Development Goals in a simple and child-friendly way. It includes the board game graphic, instructions on how to play the game, cut outs for dice and tokens, and a question and answer sheet with 5 questions per SDG. To access the game, go here.

Read All About It!

Sexual Harassment: At Least 2 Billion Women. Most of the world’s women have experienced sexual harassment. Based on available country surveys, it is estimated that no less than 75 percent of the world’s 2.7 billion women aged 18 years and older, or at least 2 billion women, have been sexually harassed (Figure 1). To read this article, go here.

With newfound democracy, Gambia faces resurgence in FGM and child marriage. Wearing a long black veil with her newly circumcised daughter on her lap, Aminata Njie vehemently gives her justification for having the two-year-old cut. “Female circumcision is our religion and tradition,” says the tall, frail mother of five from her one-bedroom home. “If Gambia is a democracy now, why should anyone stop us from practicing our religion and tradition?” To read this article, go here.

‘A crisis for human rights’: new index reveals global fall in basic justice. Fundamental human rights are reported to have diminished in almost two-thirds of the 113 countries surveyed for the 2018 Rule of Law Index, amid concerns over a worldwide surge in authoritarian nationalism and a retreat from international legal obligations. To read this article, go here.

The Village That Gave Up FGM and Gender Taboos – Because of Economics. In Rwandit village, in Kenya’s Rift Valley, traditional initiation rites used to last for months. During those months, girls and boys were introduced to secret rituals and taught tribal customs for the first time. At the end of the initiation period, the community would put on a big feast of goat and cow meat, traditional fermented milk, cornmeal and a local brew to mark the graduation of the newly initiated. To read this article, go here.

Liberia bans female genital mutilation – but only for a year. Liberia has imposed a one-year ban on female genital mutilation – a highly contentious issue in the West African country – but campaigners said on Thursday it may not be enforceable and urged new president George Weah to push for a permanent law. The ban came into force after former leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed an executive order late last week before stepping down. To read this article, go here.

How lack of sanitary pads affects school girls. Atukuzwe still remembers that embarrassing moment, when she first experienced her menstruation. This 14-year old girl was in Standard Seven and did not know what to do after that, because her mother or other relatives had not disclosed to her about what she would do, when faced with such a situation, and as a result, she failed to attend classes for two consecutive days. To read this article, go here.

Mobile app mapping free condoms set up to help fight HIV in Philippines. Inspired by the mobile game Pokemon Go, campaigners in the Philippines are using a smartphone app to send users to locations with condom dispensers in a bid to promote safe sex and break stigma to fight a worsening HIV epidemic. To read this article, go here.

LGBT in Latin America. “Blood was squirting out of my chest,” says Brithany Cervantes as she recalls being stabbed multiple times with a broken bottle for no other reason, she says, than being a transgender woman. Yet the most chilling detail regarding the frenzied nighttime attack in downtown Lima last October has little to do with her unknown assailant. Rather, it concerns the municipal security agent who watched the entire episode from the other side of the street without lifting a finger. To read this article, go here.


Mark Your Calendar: International Women’s Day is March 8th!

March 8th marks International Women’s Day! This year’s theme is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.” This year’s theme echoes the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and also draws attention to the rights and activism of rural women and girls, who make up over a quarter of the world population.

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

  • Access information about International Women’s Day here

  • Access information from UN Women regarding this year’s theme and related news here

  • Check out Advocates’ written statement to this year’s Commission on the Status of Women, here.

  • Check out these resources from Women Deliver about the SDG’s and girls and women:

o Girls and women are drivers of development

o Invest in girls’ equality

o Invest in girls and women, the ripple effect

o Invest in family planning and reproductive health

  • 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 the new Sustainable Development Goals and invite a speaker to talk about some of the challenges and successes facing rural young women and adolescent girls.

  • Meet with decision makers and community leaders to find out about and demand better policies related to gender equality, prevention of gender-based violence, access to sexual and reproductive health services, access to education, including sexuality education, food security and nutrition, and access to land and productive assets.

  • Tweet about International Women’s Day at #IWD2018 Tweets and #TimeIsNow


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