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January 2013 iYAN Newsletter

January iYAN

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. 

Sharing Our Passion: Blogs from Advocates’ international youth bloggers and other Amplify posts!

RH Bill is now RH Law
by Leo, the Philippines
After 14 years of struggle, the Reproductive Health Bill has finally been passed into law!
Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III quietly signed the bill into law last December 21, 2012, four days before Christmas. For me it was the best Christmas gift for Filipino women and youth, especially us RH advocates who were tireless in our efforts to lobby, dialogue, march on the streets and campaign for the passage of the RH Bill into a law. The new law will now be known as Republic Act 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health of 2012. Owing to the controversy of the law, the Office of the President only confirmed it today after persistent rumors were circulated widely in the internet.

Read More. http://amplifyyourvoice.org/u/leovlauzon/2012/12/29/rh-bill-is-now-rh-law

To view the full text of RH bill Republic Act No. 10354, go here:


ICPD-Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum: A New Day
By Gaston, Cameroon
Talking about young people in the part of the world where I come is already a sensitive issue, and adding ‘rights,’ another controverial issue, makes advocacy for the placing of youth rights at the heart of development a very difficult but not an impossible task. Behind these words lie the fears, doubts, and optimism of a participant at the just ended International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)-Beyond 2014 Global youth Forum (GYF) which was held from the 4th to the 6th December 2012.
Read more: http://amplifyyourvoice.org/u/gastonkwa/2012/12/17/icpd-beyond-2014-gyf-a-new-day-in-the-achievement-of-youths-rights-has-come

HIV/AIDS Discrimination Among Young People
By Maryam, Nigeria
AIDS-related stigma and discrimination refers to prejudice, negative attitudes, abuse and maltreatment directed at people living with HIV and AIDS. The consequences of stigma and discrimination are wide-ranging:  being shunned by family, peers and the wider community, poor treatment in healthcare and education settings, an erosion of rights, psychological damage, and a negative effect on the success of HIV testing and treatment. However, no policy or law cans alone combat HIV/AIDS related discrimination.

Read More: http://amplifyyourvoice.org/u/maryam/2012/12/12/hivaids-discrmnation-among-youngs-people%e2%80%a6%e2%80%a6.

What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?

Advocates for Youth Takes Action at the ICPD Global Youth Forum in Bali

http://advocates.wpengine.com/images/email_images/january2013iyan/Meredith.jpgAdvocates’ staff and youth activists from Cameroon, Nigeria, Jamaica and the United States participated in the ICPD Global Youth Forum, held in Bali, Indonesia, from December 4-6. Meredith from Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council was a respondent to a paper being discussed at the opening plenary, which included the Minister of Health of Indonesia and the Executive Director of UNFPA. She responded boldly to the paper in discussion, reframing youth in a positive light and advocating strongly for greater youth leadership. Meredith was also the first young person to serve as a respondent on a plenary and thereby set a pro-active tone for subsequent youth speakers tasked with responding to papers in the plenaries that followed.

In addition, Kike from Advocates’ partner organization Education as a Vaccine in Nigeria and Abongwa from Cameroon served as virtual facilitators, tasked with incorporating hundreds of recommendations from the 2,500 online participants into the recommendations that were being made in addition to reporting out on this process. Lastly, Gaston of Cameroon served as a rapporteur and also blogged from the event (posts are included below).
Hosted by UNFPA and the Government of Indonesia, the Global Forum was organized to bring together young people and all relevant stakeholders, under the leadership of young people themselves, to address the following life transitions of youth: staying healthy; getting an education; employment and livelihood; families and well-being; and fully inclusive civic participation, with a view to identifying concrete recommendations for policy makers and other stakeholders. Over 3,000 onsite and virtual delegates came together to make recommendations that formed the Bali Declaration – a groundbreaking document that will go directly to the Secretary General to help shape the future development agenda.
Check out the ICPD Global Youth Forum Bali Declaration.

To see how these recommendations were formed, watch presentations, plenaries and virtual conference broadcasts from Bali

To read posts by Advocates’ youth blogger Gaston of Cameroon, who attended the Forum, check out:
ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum: Going Not Only Beyond 2014 (December 4, 2012)

ICPD Beyond 2014: Towards Greater Government Investment (December 5, 2012)

ICPD beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum: A New Day (December 17, 2012)

Advocates for Youth attends the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association World Conference
Advocates’ staff and youth activist from Nigeria attended this year’s ILGA World Conference, which was held in Sweden in December. The conference theme was “Global Rights, Global Respect,” and approximately 450 people attended from over 100 countries. During the conference, a number of dignitaries were engaged—such as Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, who sent a message in which he said, “The UN stands with you as you highlight ongoing abuses, dispel prejudice and insist on nothing short of freedom and equality for all.”
The Prime Minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt, attended an opening ceremony, during which he declared that all people are unique and entitled to respect, thereby echoing the theme of the conference. This was the first time that a head of state has ever attended an ILGA meeting. Further, the Vice-President of Argentina, Amado Boudou, also attended the conference to receive an ILGA award on behalf of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, whose government has delivered marriage, adoption and the world`s leading gender recognition law.

ILGA Co-Secretaries General Renato Sabbadini (second from left) and Gloria Careaga-Perez (extreme right) with Vice President of Argentina Amado Boudou (second from right) and Senator Aníbal Fernández at the opening ceremony of the ILGA conference. Photo: ILGA World Facebook

During the Youth Forum of the conference, a youth caucus was held where participants developed and agreed upon a youth statement, which was signed onto by numerous organizations, including Advocates for Youth. The statement underscores the need for ILGA World to better integrate youth perspectives into its work and provides brief recommendations for doing so.
To read the statement, go to:

My Voice Counts!

Tell President Obama What to Prioritize after Inauguration Day!
We at Advocates for Youth are excited about the possibilities for 2013 in terms of advancing young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and around the world. As Inauguration Day approaches in the United States, we’d love to know what YOU think President Obama’s priorities for US foreign policy on reproductive and sexual health and rights should be in his second term.
To participate in the survey, go here:

Submit your Female Condom Film to Contest to Win Prize Money!


Description: Female Condoms Are ______: An International Film Contest

Female condoms may be one of the most promising health technologies that people don’t know or hear much about.

That’s why PATH, Universal Access to Female Condoms (UAFC) Joint Programme, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), and the National Female Condom Coalition (NFCC) are thrilled to kick off:

an international film contest seeking creative and compelling stories from around the globe

Share your story: Why does the world need female condoms? How can female condoms enhance your life? We’re calling for short films that tell a story about what Female Condoms Are to you and your community.

Win cash prizes: The top three film entries as determined by contest judges will receive cash prizes. First place: US$5,000; Second place: US$2,000; Third place: US$500.

Get recognition: Winning entries will be screened at the Women Deliver 2013 Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—the largest global meeting of the decade to focus on the health and well-being of girls and women.

How to enter: Filmmakers of all levels of experience are encouraged to enter. Visit the contest website for complete contest details, including eligibility requirements, Official Contest Rules, submission instructions, and more. This contest runs from November 28, 2012–March 1, 2013.


Attention Young African Women: Call for Applications for the 2013 MILEAD Fellowship

The Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa (Moremi Initiative) is pleased to announce its annual call for applications for the 2013 Moremi Leadership Empowerment and Development (MILEAD) Fellows Program.

The MILEAD Fellows Program is a long-term leadership development program designed to identify, develop and promote emerging young African Women leaders to attain and thrive in leadership in their community and Africa as a whole. The program targets dynamic young women interested in developing transformational leadership skills that help them address issues facing women and girls across communities in Africa. The MILEAD Program equips Fellows with the world class knowledge, skills, values and networks they need to succeed as 21st century women leaders.

The MILEAD Fellowship will be awarded to 25 outstanding young women who have exhibited leadership potential in their community, organization, and/or profession. Applications are welcome from young African women ages 19 – 25, living in Africa and the Diaspora.
Please note that this one year program is not a full-time fellowship. Selected candidates may remain full time students or work full time for the program duration, except during the 3–week summer institute. The 3-week summer institute is an intensive and full-time residential program and all fellows will be required to attend. The rest of the program involves community-based, online and other distance activities.

Applications are available online at www.moremiinitiative.org or by request via email. Completed application forms must be submitted along with two recommendation letters and a CV by email. The deadline for completed MILEAD Fellows applications must be submitted for review by March 15, 2013. For more information, contact the MILEAD Program Coordinator:

USA, email: info@moremiinitiative.org | Tel: +1 404 826 2942 
GHANA, email: info@moremiinitiative.org | Tel: +233 302 770 736
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/MoremiAfrica | TWITTER: Twitter.com/MoremiAfrica


Conference: The 1st Annual Africa Youth Assembly, Kenya, February 26-28 2013

The first Annual Africa Youth Assembly seeks to serve as a consultation among youths and experts to identify youth concerns and recommendations for governments, UN agencies and youth organizations on a cross-section of development issues.

Objectives for the Assembly include:

  • Develop a tentative programme of action for increasing the participation and leadership of African youths in social, economic, political and environmental dimensions.
  • Share information on progress and best practices regarding youth leadership and participation in democratizing urban governance, monitoring governance and sustainable urban development initiatives.
  • Share information on the extent to which national governments, multilateral institutions, inter-governmental bodies, and UN agencies are implementing youth empowerment laws and policies in Africa.
  • Share experiences on the use of social media and ICTs to achieve increased youth leadership and participation in democratic governance.

The Assembly outcome will be a statement reflecting collective youth positions on issues addressed during the meeting.

If you are interested in speaking, participating, attending, sponsoring, collaborating, volunteering, or for further inquiry, please contact: Katrina:katrina@peacechild.org,Shuko: shukomusemangezhi@hotmail.com

Read All About it!

Bill to Expand Birth Control Is Approved in Philippines

After a ferocious national debate that pitted family members against one another, and some faithful Catholics against their church, the Philippine Congress passed legislation on Monday to help the country’s poorest women gain access to birth control.

Read the article http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/world/asia/philippine-lawmakers-pass-reproductive-health-bill.html


The Rapes that India Forgot

Last month’s brutal gang rape of a young woman in the Indian capital, Delhi, has caught public attention and caused worldwide outrage. But here, the BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi recalls other prominent cases which made the headlines, then faded from public memory.

Read the article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-20907755

The African Villages Declaring an End to Female Genital Mutilation
Molly Melching will travel to Guinea-Bissau this month to witness a milestone moment. Villages in the west African state with which Melching’s organization, Tostan, has been working, will make public declarations of their intention to live according to the principles of human rights. And by doing so, they promise to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice prevalent in at least 28 African countries. The declarations follow three years of education and discussion in families, villages and wider communities about people’s rights, specifically the rights of women and girls, and what they mean for future wellbeing.
Read the article http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/dec/05/african-villages-female-genital-mutilation

Indonesia to Ban Women from Straddling Motorbikes

Authorities in Indonesia’s Aceh province are pressing ahead with a proposed Islamic law that would ban female passengers from straddling motorbikes despite reported opposition from the central government. Aceh introduced a version of Shariah, or Islamic law, in 2009, after it gained autonomy from the government in a 2005 peace deal to end a long-running separatist war there. The Aceh laws regulate women’s dress and public morality, require shops and other places to close at prayer time, and are enforced by a special unit. Punishments can include public caning.

Read the article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/indonesia-straddling-ban-_n_2425064.html?utm_hp_ref=world

Gay Man’s 3-Year Sentence Upheld by Cameroon Court

An appeals court in Cameroon on Monday upheld a three-year sentence against a man found guilty of homosexual conduct for sending a text message to another man saying, “I’m very much in love with you.” Activists said the court’s ruling in Yaounde, the capital, was yet another setback for gay men and lesbians in Cameroon, widely viewed as the most repressive country in Africa when it comes to prosecuting same-sex couples

Read the article http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/world/africa/gay-mans-3-year-sentence-is-upheld-by-cameroon-court.html?_r=0

Tools You Can Use

Progress for Children: A Report Card on Adolescents (No. 10)


Adolescence is a formative period during which children grow into their rightful place as full citizens and agents of change in their own lives and the lives of their societies. Progress for Children: A report card on adolescents provides an overview of the situation of adolescents, including of their vulnerabilities in critical areas. It makes a compelling case for increased efforts in advocacy, programming and policy, and for investment, to ensure the rights of adolescents and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

To access the publication, available in English, French, and Spanish, go to: http://www.unicef.org/publications/index_62280.html


Contraceptive Commodities for Women’s Health: Key Data and Findings
Expanding access to a choice of affordable and appropriate contraceptive commodities is critical to achieving the goal of reproductive health for all. This report, prepared for the United Nations Commission on Commodities for Women and Children’s Health, provides a review of three contraceptive commodities that are considered to be overlooked or underutilized: the female condom, hormonal implants and emergency contraception

To access the publication, go to: http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/publications/pid/10266


Family Planning: Francophone West Africa on the Move
By the Family Planning Ouagadougou Partnership

The recently released report—Family Planning: Francophone West Africa on the Move—is a call to action, compiled by members of the Ouagadougou Partnership and other experts in family planning from West Africa. The report presents targeted areas of investments in family planning to spur progress in the region, and provides recommendations for strengthening services, mobilizing political commitment and resources, and coordinating resources and actions. The report is also designed to serve as an advocacy tool for high-level policymakers, government officials, parliamentarians, civil society, community leaders, and other potential partners. 

To access the publication, go to: English: http://www.prb.org/pdf12/ouagadougou-partnership_en.pdf; French: http://www.prb.org/pdf12/ouagadougou-partnership_fr.pdf


Respect, Protect, Fulfill: Best practices guidance in conducting HIV research with gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in rights-constrained environments
By amFAR, International; AIDS Vaccine Initiative, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins University

This guidance has been developed for both researchers and community-based organizations in rights-constrained environments. The guidance is intended to help both researchers and community organizations to: better design and conduct meaningful research on HIV among MSM in challenging social, political, and human rights contexts; provide a check list of factors for researchers and community organizations to consider in the design, conduct, and implementation of research studies; and offer lessons learned through case studies of research and community partnerships, recent successes, and challenges.

To access the publication, go to: http://www.amfar.org/uploadedFiles/_amfar.org/In_The_Community/Publications/MSMguidance2011.pdf


Coming Up

Mark Your Calendar: February 6, 2013 is International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is observed each year to raise awareness about this practice. Female genital cutting/mutilation of any type has been recognized as a harmful practice is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Female genital cutting/mutilation (FGC or FGM) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Female genital cutting/mutilation is associated with a series of short and long-term risks to both physical, mental and the sexual health and well-being. Consequences of FGC/FGM can include:

  • severe bleeding
  • problems urinating
  • development of cysts
  • infections
  • infertility
  • complications during childbirth
  • increased risk of newborn death

Female genital cutting/mutilation is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15. In Africa, an estimated 92 million girls who are 10 years of age and above have undergone the practice. Female genital cutting/mutilation affects about 140 million girls and women worldwide, and more than 3 million girls are at risk of the practice every year.
Recently, in December of 2012, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution banning the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. This significant milestone towards the ending of harmful practices and violations that constitute serious threats to the health of women and girls was taken by the 194 UN Member States, who approved five General Assembly resolutions on advancing women’s rights, including one on intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations (FGM).
But the work of activists and organizations to mobilize and advocate to end female genital cutting/mutilation is far from over. To raise awareness about International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, you can:

  • Blog about it on amplifyyourvoice.org! How prevalent is female genital cutting/mutilation in your community? What do you think is needed to prevent female genital cutting/mutilation? If you have undergone female genital cutting/mutilation, can you share your story? What can young leaders do to prevent future generations of young women from being subjected to this practice? What can your government do in support of the recent UN resolution to intensify efforts to eliminate female genital cutting/mutilation?
  • Talk to your family and friends about this practice and engage in a dialogue about what it is, why it is practiced, and why it is harmful to girls and women.
  • Organize a community or school event to raise awareness about female genital cutting/mutilation and have a dialogue about the harmful consequences of this practice.
  • Meet with decision makers and community leaders to find out about existing policies related to female genital cutting/mutilation and share your recommendations.
  • Get informed! Learn more about female genital cutting/mutilation by checking out the resources below:


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