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January 2015 iYAN Newsletter

Advocates for Youth Newsletter

January 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?

Youth leaders engaged in group work during the training

In December, staff from Advocates for Youth travelled to Nagarkot, Nepal, to help facilitate a five-day training in collaboration with Advocates’ partner organization, YUWA. YUWA is a youth run and led organization working to promote youth participation through empowerment and advocacy. The goal of this training was to equip youth leaders with the knowledge and skills to work with teachers to support the implementation sexuality education in Kathmandu. The national comprehensive sexuality education curriculum is in its third year of implementation yet teachers need support to overcome challenges to teaching the material.

A total of 10 young women and men ages 16-24 participated in the training. Participants discussed sexual and reproductive health and rights trends and issues, including the status of sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people in Nepal, gender inequality, body image, traditional harmful practices like early and force marriage, and LGBTQ rights. Youth leaders engaged in sessions focused on sexuality education and core content according to grade levels and practiced advocacy skills for engaging stakeholders on why sexuality education is important.

The training culminated with participants developing an action plan with the following objectives: 1) To raise awareness about youth sexual and reproductive health and rights issues at community level; 2) To enhance knowledge, attitude and skills of teachers working to deliver sexuality education in seven targeted schools; and 3) To advocate for a monitoring mechanism for sexuality education implementation. In collaboration with Advocates, participants will be working with YUWA to implement these plans over the next 10 months. YUWA is also conducting an assessment among students and teachers to further inform strategies for supporting the implementation of sexuality education in Katmandu.

Advocates Continues Providing Technical Support for Sexuality Education in East and Southern Africa, in collaboration with UNESCO. In collaboration with UNESCO, Advocates’ staff conducted an in-depth peer review of Zambia’s life skills education curriculum material, including teachers’ and learners’ books for grades 5-6 and 8-11. Advocates provided and discussed tailored comments and feedback for consideration with curriculum developers and teachers from the Ministry of Education. The feedback was well-received and efforts are underway to make amendments to the materials where feasible in response to recommendations provided through the review.

Advocates’ Top 5 List of Girl Achievements. To close out 2014, Advocates created and disseminated a brief Buzzfeed list to recap girls’ achievements that took place throughout the year. Stay tuned for more resources form Advocates to champion and advocate for girls’ rights in the post-2015 development agenda.

My Voice Counts!

Women Deliver Opens Applications for their Young Leaders Program.

Check out IPPF’s Call for Proposals: Taking the ICPD beyond 2014, to position SRHR and the priorities of the ICPD in the post-2015 development framework. Civil society (CS) has a critical role to play in influencing government priorities and positions for the post- 2015 regional and global negotiations. To ensure that CS engagement in these processes is strong, meaningful and has impact IPPF is launching round two of a small grants facility. The facility will support CS engagement in post 2014/15 policy processes. This fund will support CSOs who are working with their governments, at country level, to develop strong positions in support of sexual reproductive health and rights.

This fund offers opportunities to increase the capacity and collaboration of CSOs and networks working at the national level in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Botswana, Burundi, Namibia, Rwanda and Zambia. Grant amounts will be up to USD$25,000 or €18,500. IPPF Member Associations are not eligible to apply. All grantees must provide 10% match funding. Multi- partner applications are welcome.

Go here to review the application guidelines and complete the application form in English.

Go here to review the application guidelines and complete the applicaiton form in French.

The deadline to apply is: 09:00 GMT, 1 February 2015.

¡Ojo! The Central America and Mexico Youth Fund (CAMY Fund) Launch Request for Proposals for Honduras and Guatemala.


In 2014, Seattle International Foundation (SIF) of Seattle, Washington, USA launched the Central America and Mexico Youth Fund (CAMY Fund), which provides financial and technical support to projects led by young adult leaders (ages 18-35) working in or with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Quintana Roo, Mexico. Specifically, the CAMY Fund will invest up to $1 million U.S. Dollars over five years in innovative projects that are designed to demonstrate measurable impacts on girls’ equality and/or adolescent/youth sexual and reproductive health and rights. The CAMY Fund is a collaborative partnership between SIF and The Summit Foundation (Summit), based in Washington, DC, USA.

Proposals for 12-month projects to be supported by the CAMY Fund will be accepted and reviewed through a competitive application process. The current RFP is only open to organizations in Guatemala and Honduras that are working on the issues of 1) child marriage/early unions and 2) secondary school retention among girls. The deadline for submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the first round of 2015 grants is February 6, 2015. The most competitive applicants that meet the CAMY Fund eligibility criteria will subsequently be invited to submit a full proposal. The CAMY Fund anticipates awarding approximately two to three grants of up to $35,000 U.S. Dollars each during this grantmaking round.

Go here to access the request for proposal information in English and Spanish: http://www.camyfund.org/

The deadline for submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI) Form is February 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm Guatemala/Honduras time.

Tools You Can Use

Adding It Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health 2014 By the Guttmacher Institute. Women need sexual and reproductive health services from adolescence through the end of their reproductive years, whether or not they have a birth, and those who give birth need essential care to protect their health and ensure their newborns survive. The declines in maternal and infant deaths in developing countries in the last decade are a welcome sign that increased global attention and resources devoted to safe motherhood and child survival are paying off.

Go here to read the Executive Summary in:

English | French | Spanish

And the full report in English, here.

Timeline: Gender Equality, 2014 Year in Review By UN Women. This timeline highlights key events that took place in various parts of the world in the year 2014 related to women’s rights and gender equality.

To view the timeline, go here.

Girls Not Brides post-2015 advocacy toolkit By Girls Not Brides. This toolkit is specially designed to support advocacy efforts to ensure that child, early and forced marriage is a global priority in the post-2015 development agenda.

The toolkit includes:

  • An overview of the post-2015 process and the opportunities for action
  • A guide to help you create and implement your own national advocacy plan
  • Template worksheets and sample messaging framework that you can tailor to your national context

Go here to download the Girls Not Brides post-2015 advocacy toolkit.

You can also join a webinar on the post-2015 toolkit on Thursday 5th February

The Storehouse for Abortion Law and Policy By Ipas. This new online resource is a collection to guide advocates and policymakers who shape laws, policies and standards and guidelines.The Storehouse links to authoritative publications such as primary human rights documents, World Health Organization recommendations, materials by expert organizations, and key journal articles that address common barriers to abortion access.

To view this resource, go here.

The Women’s Empowerment- Multidimensional Evaluation of Agency, Social Capital & Relations Tool By Care USA. The Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health Team (SRMH) at CARE USA is pleased to share a multidimensional quantitative survey tool, the Women’s Empowerment- Multidimensional Evaluation of Agency, Social Capital & Relations (WE-MEASR). The WE-MEASR was designed for use with women and consists of 20 statistically reliable short scales and indices that measure women’s empowerment in domains critical to sexual, reproductive, and maternal health.

CARE designed the tool to strengthen and standardize the measurement of women’s empowerment in sexual, reproductive, and maternal health programming. Programs can utilize the entire set of WE-MEASR scales or select a sub-set of scales that measure the specific dimensions of empowerment that their program is designed to influence.

To access the tool, go here.

Young Women’s Access to and Use of Contraceptives: The Role of Providers’ Restrictions in Urban Senegal. In International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 40, Number 4, December 2014. By Estelle M. Sidze, Solène Lardoux, Ilene S. Speizer, Cheikh M. Faye, Michael M. Mutua and Fanding Badji

This study looks at the barriers that young women face when accessing contraceptives from family planning providers in Senegal.

To access this study, go here.

Adolescent Pregnancy, Birth, and Abortion Rates Across Countries: Levels and Recent Trends. In the Journal of Adolescent Health 56 (2015) 223e230. By Gilda Sedgh, Sc.D. *, Lawrence B. Finer, Ph.D., Akinrinola Bankole, Ph.D., Michelle A. Eilers, and Susheela Singh, Ph.D.

This study examines pregnancy rates and outcomes (births and abortions) among 15- to 19-year olds and 10- to 14-year olds in all countries for which recent information could be obtained and to examine trends since the mid-1990s.

To view this journal article, go here.

Coming up

Mark Your Calendar: February 6, 2014 is the Day to Speak Out about Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation.

Each year, February 6 is a day to raise awareness about female genital cutting/mutilation (FGC/M). 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 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. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where FGC/M is concentrated.

To raise awareness about FGM/C, you can:

  • Join Advocates for Youth in blogging about FGM/C on amplifyyourvoice.org! How prevalent is female genital mutilation/cutting 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 would you tell girls, boyfriends, parents, decision-makers? What should governments do to ensure that FGM/C is addressed in the post-2015 development agenda?
  • 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 these additional resources below:
    • Female Genital Mutilation Fact Sheet, by the World Health Organization. Click here.
    • UNFPA’s web page on Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. Click here.
    • Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change,” which provides the most comprehensive compilation of data on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting to date. Click here.
    • The UN resolution on FGC/M here.
    • Global Alliance Against Female Genital Mutilation.
    • Eliminating female genital mutilation: An interagency statement – OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO. Click here.


Read All About It!

UN calls for intensified efforts to end fistula. The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution calling for increased actions to end obstetric fistula. The largely preventable condition is estimated to afflict some 2 million women around the world – most of them marginalized, impoverished and without access to essential maternal health services. Obstetric fistula is an injury caused by prolonged, obstructed labour. The condition typically leaves women incontinent, and as a result they are often shunned by their communities. Unable to find jobs and abandoned by their families, many fistula survivors face deepening poverty and stigma.

To read this article, go here.

Contraceptive injection raises risk of HIV, research warns. Contraceptive injections moderately increase a woman’s risk of becoming infected with HIV, a large scientific analysis has found.

The research in a leading medical journal will further fuel a controversy that has been raging for more than two decades. The implications of a possible link between hormonal injections and the virus alarm both HIV and birth control campaigners. Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV rates are high, have considered withdrawing the contraceptive injections entirely from family planning clinics. About 41 million women use the jabs, in many cases because it allows them to control their fertility without their husband’s knowledge.

The analysis, in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, finds that in the pooled results of 12 observational trials, there is a 40% increase in the risk of HIV for women using the birth control jab compared with other hormonal methods such as the pill.

To read this article, go here.

HIV-positive women sue Kenya government and NGOs over sterilisation. Five HIV-positive women in Kenya are suing the government and two top international NGOs, claiming they were sterilised without their consent. The group this week filed a legal action against parties including the Kenyan health ministry, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and Marie Stopes International.

Meanwhile, activists protested in the capital, Nairobi, arguing that forced sterilisation is still widespread and should be be banned. The women marched from the high court to Uhuru Park with T-shirts that said: “Enforced and coerced sterilisation of women living with HIV”.

To read this article, go here.

Young Mozambican activists call on leaders to support reproductive health efforts. Young people in Mozambique face stiff challenges in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services, but the efforts of youth activists and peer educators are making a difference. This was the message over 120 young volunteers and activists at recent a meeting with the outgoing Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina, an expert in public health, in Maputo, the capital

To read this article, go here.

Six women murdered each day as femicide in Mexico nears a pandemic. José Diego Suárez Padilla has converted his home into a shrine to his daughter, Rosa Diana.

Windows fashioned after her blue eyes stare out on the street. A painting of the girl in a white party dress covers a living room wall, overlooking an altar with offerings of chicken and chewing gum. The food has lain there so long that the red chili sauce has congealed.

Suárez Padilla explains to a visitor that he normally puts out fresh food but lately hasn’t had time. That’s because he’s busy all day consulting with lawyers and politicians to seek justice for her death.

To read this article, go here.

Transgender woman is elected district mayor in Indian state of Chhattisgarh. A low-caste transgender woman in central India has become the country’s first to win civic polls and be declared mayor.

Madhu Bai Kinnar won the municipal election in Raigarh in the central state of Chhattisgarh on Sunday, beating her rival from prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) by more than 4,500 votes, according to the state election commission.

To read this article, go here.

Nepal to issue passports with third gender for sexual minorities. Nepal will issue passports to sexual minorities, adding a third gender category, an official said on Wednesday in a sign of the conservative Hindu-majority country becoming more liberal since the end of a decade-long civil war.

The Himalayan nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are identified as either male or female in passports, despite a 2007 Supreme Court ruling ordering authorities to amend laws to include a third gender.

To read this article, go here.

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