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January 2017 iYAN

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 Speaks Out at White House Event and Delivers Little Cakes with Facts about HIV/AIDS to Congress for World AIDS Day

Advocates for Youth activists, alumni and staff at the Obama Administration’s last HIV/AIDS event, “Moving Forward: Drawing Strength from Our Past and Empowering Today’s Leaders to Achieve the Goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy”

Last month, to honor World AIDS Day 2016, Advocates participated in multiple events to highlight the work of adolescent and young people in ending HIV/AIDS. The Office of National AIDS Policy hosted its final public event during the Obama Administration, “Moving Forward: Drawing Strength from Our Past and Empowering Today’s Leaders to Achieve the Goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.” This youth-focused event sought to channel the energy and wisdom that brought AIDS out of the shadows and use it to achieve the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy through 2020. The event featured multiple generations of HIV/AIDS advocates, including current Young Women of Color Leadership Council member Kimi and former YouthResource alum, Daniel.

Advocates’ staff and youth leaders deliver the fact sheet with a little cake to a US Senator’s office

Advocates also joined with the Global AIDS Policy Partnership (GAPP) and the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAPP) for their annual World AIDS Day “Operation Cupcake.” Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council members, Allison and Emily joined staff and colleagues from the HIV/AIDS community in delivering little cakes to congressional offices and our “10 Things Every Capitol Hill Staffer Needs to Know About HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day 2016” factsheet . While meeting with staffers, advocates thanked supportive offices and lobbied for strong congressional support for HIV/AIDS funding in the new budget. In all, Advocates’ staff and young people reached 48 offices and spoke to over 20 staffers.

Advocates’ Partner Organization, SPEAK Kenya, Delivers Sexuality Education at Youth Tournament in Homa Bay County

Over the past year, Advocates’ partner NGO, Supporting Primary Education Across Kenya (SPEAK Kenya), has become increasingly known in Homa Bay County, Kenya, as a resource for sexuality education. In fact, last November they were invited by the local county government’s Department of Tourism, Culture and Sports to conduct sexuality education and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, and child marriage awareness raising activities, at a week-long fair to be held the first week of December. SPEAK Kenya and Advocates mobilized quickly to plan sexuality education activities and develop and provide materials to be distributed throughout the week, including pamphlets on contraception, STIs, puberty, and sexuality education. As a result, during the tournament, 4,500 copies of materials were distributed and SPEAK Kenya staff and volunteers carried out sexuality education activities every day for 5 days, reaching a total of 750 young people.

Sexuality education session during the tournament

Not only were many young people engaged in learning about sexual and reproductive health, but one of the local priests from the Nyagwethe Catholic Parish in Suba Sub-County who attended the tournament reached out to ask if it would be possible to provide sexuality education to 600 young people that they were bringing together for church and vocational training activities. As a result, last month SPEAK Kenya followed through, replicating some of the activities and providing materials to the young people in attendance. The activities were so appreciated that the priest has requested integration of their 14 churches and 12 schools into Advocates and SPEAK’s program.

My Voice Counts!

Attention Girls in Uganda—Leadership Camp Opportunity

Girl Up has opened applications for the third annual Women in Science (WiSci) Girls STEAM Camp (STEAM= Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, and Mathematics), to be held in Malawi during the summer of 2017.The camp is for girls in Uganda (Senior 3, Senior 4, and Senior 5) who are interested in education and leadership opportunities. Applications are due by Monday, February 13. To learn more and download the application, go to this web site: https://girlup.org/WiSci/Malawi/

Become a Part of the Global Online Hub for Comprehensive Sexuality Education Advocacy

The 1st ever specially designed social platform on Advocacy for Comprehensive Sexuality Education is now online!

The Platform is designed for advocates who are working on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), and HIV prevention efforts, among others, and aims to serve as a safe space for sharing successful advocacy stories, getting involved through conversational circles, or getting access to relevant data and resources.

To access the platform, go here.

More information for the Hub you find here.

Join the Deliver for Good Campaign—February’s Focus is Sexual Health and Rights


Deliver for Good focuses on the whole girl and the whole woman—not just her health needs, her educational needs, or her rights. Deliver for Good connects the issues that affect girls and women through an integrated approach. The campaign focuses on solutions and action across the following 12 investment areas:

    1. Improve Maternal and Newborn Health and Nutrition

    2. Meet the Demand for Modern Contraception and Reproductive Health

    3. Respect, Protect, and Fulfill Sexual Health and Rights

    4. Ensure Access to Comprehensive Health Services

    5. Dramatically Reduce Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practices

    6. Ensure Equitable and Quality Education at All Levels

    7. Boost Women’s Economic Empowerment

    8. Strengthen Women’s Political Participation and Decision-Making Power

    9. Accelerate Access to Resources – Land, Clean Energy, Water, and Sanitation

    10. Invest in Women to Tackle Climate Change and Conserve the Environment

    11. Improve Data and Accountability for Girls and Women

    12. Build Sustainable Financing and Partnerships for Girls and Women

The month of February of the Deliver for Good campaign is dedicated to Respect, Protect, and Fulfill Sexual Health and Rights.

To learn more about the campaign, here.

To sign the Deliver for Good commitment, go here.

To access the toolkit, go here.

You can also download the commitment card or the overview card to share with others.

Tools You Can Use

The State of Evidence for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Reports and Map
By the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation

The reports and map provide an overview of the evidence for adolescent sexual and reproductive health programming from low- and middle-income countries. You can view the Map directly here. There are many ways to search the findings and when you scroll over the dots, it provides the research articles with hyperlinks to their summaries and links to the source of the identified systematic reviews and impact evaluations. To access the reports, go here.

Country Fact Sheets on Adolescent Contraceptive Use
By the World Health Organization

This new set of fact sheets disaggregate existing data to highlight key information on the use and non-use of contraceptives by adolescents (ages 15-19) in 58 low and middle-income countries across the world. They include information on how, when and where different groups of sexually active adolescents – including those in a union and unmarried and sexually active – use and do not use contraception; how adolescents acquire contraception from a variety of sources; and reasons for not using contraception. To access the fact sheets and related infographics, go here.

Pensando fuera del espacio separado: Una herramienta de toma de decisiones para diseñar servicios para jóvenes
By E2A and Pathfinder International

Now available in Spanish, this tool seeks to advance services tailored to young people’s needs by helping program designers to select and adapt appropriate youth-friendly service delivery models, considering: the country context, the target population, the desired behavioral and health outcomes, the services offered, and the needs and objectives for scalability and sustainability. To access the tool, go here.

Policy Communication Toolkit
By the Population Reference Bureau

This tool kit consolidates 30 years of experience in training researchers and advocates to communicate evidence to policy audiences. The toolkit consolidates PRB’s training resources and includes new additions on timely topics such as using social media for research and policy and policy communication for budget negotiations and accountability. Sessions focus on how research can inform policy, how to frame clear, actionable policy messages, and how to communicate those messages through policy briefs, presentations, data visualizations, social media, and more. Compiled into an accessible, online format, users can select and customize training sessions to meet their specific needs, whether for a mini-workshop or a 2-week training. You can access the toolkit online here.

Examining progress and equity in information received by women using a modern method in 25 developing countries (chapter)
By Anrudh K. Jain, in International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

The twelve papers in this book address key aspects of the state of quality measurement for FP. They are arranged in three groups. This paper uses an FP2020 indicator, the Method Information Index, to assess the quality of one element of information exchange between providers and clients—information on methods. Jain also illustrated the potential of this indicator to facilitate key analyses, such as the differences in quality and equity between countries and over time. By examining these differences and changes, it becomes possible to understand and address the drivers of quality and equity where needed. To access any of the papers, go here.

Conditional and Unconditional Cash Transfers to Improve Use of Contraception in Low and Middle Income Countries: A Systematic Review
In Studies in Family Planning 47(4): 371-383

This systematic review focuses on assessing the impact of conditional and unconditional cash transfers (CCT and UCT) on contraception in low- and middle-income countries. The authors conclude that the available evidence is inconclusive due to the limited number of studies, varying outcome measures, and lack of intervention specifically for contraception. To access the article, go here.

Abortion Stigma and its Effect on Women in Nepal 2015, Report and Video
By the Beyond Beijing Committee Nepal

This study explores the prevailing abortion stigma in Nepal, its causes and consequences, and also maps the support services in communities that exist to reduce stigma and enable women to access safe abortion services. Key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussions were used to collect data from informants of the Women Health Rights Advocacy Partnership program sites in Makwanpur, Nepal. Data were collected and analyzed in four major thematic areas: a) knowledge of abortion, b) abortion stigma, c) causes and consequences of abortion stigma, and d) support and services aiming to eliminate abortion stigma in a community. To view the report, go here. (3.0 MB)

A short film was also created to raise awareness about abortion stigma in Nepal, which can be viewed here.

Coming up

Mark Your Calendar: February 6, 2017 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, and 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:

Find out more about the day here: www.un.org/endfgm

Talk to your family and friends about the practice and engage in a dialogue about what it is, why it is practiced, and how 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: here

  • The latest facts from UNICEF’s Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation: A Global Concern, by UNICEF: here

  • Female genital cutting fact sheet by the Orchid Project, Advocates for Youth, CHANGE, ICRW, and Pathfinder International: here

  • Female Genital Mutilation: Legal Prohibitions Worldwide, by the Center for Reproductive Rights:here

  • The UN resolution on FGC/M: here

  • UNFPA’s web page on Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: here

  • Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change (2013),” which provides a comprehensive compilation of data on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: here


Read All About It!

Rights Group, Worried About HIV, Urges Philippines Action. A human rights watchdog says the Philippines is facing one of the fastest growing epidemics of HIV in the Asia Pacific, fueled by government policies that restrict intervention, including access to condoms by men who have sex with men. To read this article, go here.

When restriction on abortion turns a human rights issue (Uganda). When we meet Asyiah Nagudi, at her a single roomed rented house in Mukono District, tears flow down her cheeks as she recounts the economic hardships she has gone through in the past one year. Nagudi says her husband abandoned her in 2015 on learning that she was pregnant with their second child. To read this article, go here.

Nepal police investigate death of girl banished for menstruating. Police in Nepal are investigating the death of a 15-year-old girl who was banished to a poorly-ventilated shed because she was menstruating. They say the girl suffocated after lighting a fire to keep warm To read this article, go here.

Nigerian Chibok girl found with her six-month-old baby. The Nigerian army says that one of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls has been found, along with her six-month-old baby. She was discovered by soldiers investigating suspected members of Islamist militant group Boko Haram. To read this article, go here.

In fear after attacks, gay Bangladeshis retreat into closet and flee abroad. Seven months after al Qaeda-linked militants hacked Bangladesh’s most prominent gay activist to death, the South Asian country’s LGBT community remains in hiding, while more than a dozen LGBT people have fled abroad. “The whole community has been sent back to the closet,” a gay activist in exile told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on condit ion of anonymity because he fears for his safety. To read this article, go here.

One of the most Catholic countries in the world will give free birth control to millions of women. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order directing government agencies to provide contraception to 6 million Filipino women who don’t have access to birth control and other reproductive health-related services. To read this article, go here.

India minister blames ‘Western dress’ for sex assaults. An Indian minister has come under fire for suggesting the “Western” way women dress was the cause of a series of alleged sex assaults on the streets of Bangalore on New Year’s Eve. Witnesses, including journalists from Bangalore Mirror, said they saw “mass molestations” of women during celebrations in the city centre. To read this article, go here.

Egypt court ruling upholds decision to freeze assets of women’s rights activists. An Egyptian court has upheld an earlier ruling to freeze the assets of three prominent rights activists, the latest chapter in a widening government crackdown against civil society groups. The verdict targeted Mozn Hassan and her organisation, Nazra for Feminist Studies, as well as Mohammed Zaraa and Atef Hafez, both of the Arab Organisation for Criminal To read this article, go here.

INTERVIEW-Harsh laws and hatred thwart fight for gay equality in Nigeria. Habibah, a Nigerian lesbian, was forced by her family to marry a man, who raped her on their wedding night, while Somadina was told she would die early because she calls herself queer. Their experiences are documented in a new report by the Bisi Alimi Foundation, which promotes social acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Nigerians. To read this article, go here.


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