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July 2009 iYAN Newsletter

July 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.

What’s Going On at Advocates for Youth?

Advocates for Youth Participates in the 10th Annual Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition Meeting

The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) is a global partnership of public, private, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to ensuring that all people in low- and middle-income (LMI) countries can access and use affordable, high-quality supplies. The Coalition brings together diverse agencies and groups with critical roles in providing contraceptives and other reproductive health (RH) supplies, including multilateral and bilateral organizations, private foundations, LMI country governments, civil society, and private-sector representatives.

Working Groups are the principal vehicles through which the Coalition members collaborate on a sustained, formal basis to realize the Coalition’s strategic goals. Each Working Group pursues a work plan, developed by its members, revised annually, and submitted to the Executive Committee for review. The working groups include: 1) Marketing Development Approaches; 2) Resource Mobilization Awareness; and 3) Systems Strengthening. Working group meetings were held prior to the annual meeting, from June 1-3, 2009.

Advocates for Youth participated in the annual meeting, which was held in London on June 4 and 5. Advocates for Youth also attended the Resource Mobilization working group meeting, where members discussed progress and next steps to secure political support and increase financial resources for enhancing the availability of RH supplies, both at country and global level. Lastly, Advocates’ staff also attended a 4-day Advocacy Training of Trainers that was hosted by the Coalition from June 8-11, 2009, to share tools and knowledge for facilitating trainings on advocacy in order to secure RH supplies at the country and global levels.

Want to get involved in RH Supplies? Of course!
Sign up for Supply News by contacting Caroline Jane Kent at DSW.
Become a member of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition.
Push for greater accountability and transparency by governments regarding financial allocations for SRH and supplies by using the RHInterchange to hold governments, donors and policymakers accountable.
Use the RH Supplies Advocacy Toolkit to become effective and strong advocates for RH supplies.
To learn more about the coalition meeting, go to:


Introduction to Members of the International Youth Leadership Council

The International Youth Leadership Council was formed in October 2000 as a project of Advocates for Youth. It is composed of young people attending universities in the Washington, D.C. area, with family ties to and interest in low- and middle-income countries. These youth leaders work to advance international policies that will improve the reproductive health and well-being of their peers.

Council members serve as advocates, organizers, and spokespeople on issues of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Their work aligns with Advocates for Youth’s vision of Rights.Respect.Responsibility.®. Council members organize events on campuses to educate peers about international US reproductive health policies, participate in advocacy visits to policy makers, attend and present at conferences, and do media work, including blogging. The goals of the International Youth Leadership Council are to:
Educate U.S. policy makers on the importance of increasing funding for international family planning;
Educate U.S. policy makers on the importance of increasing funding for global HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment;
Increase the public’s awareness of the impact of global HIV and AIDS on young people around the world;
Increase the public’s awareness of the impact of international family planning on the economic stability and sexual health of young people around the world; and,
Educate U.S. and international media on the issues of global HIV and AIDS and international family planning.
Now, meet the International Youth Leadership Council!

Alex is a senior at Georgetown University and is studying International Health. She recently returned from study abroad in Thailand and is originally from Florida.

Elizabeth is a fourth-year student at George Washington University, from Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth studies International Affairs with a concentration in Global Public Health. Elizabeth is currently the Legislative Coordinator of the Student Global AIDS Campaign.

John is a second-year student at Howard University, studying Human Development and Gerontology, and is from Brooklyn, New York. John is a registered Great American Condom Campaign Safesite and a member of Howard University Student Association.

Liz is a third-year student studying International Studies at American University (AU). Liz is from Minnetonka, Minnesota, and is currently the Deputy-Director of the Women’s Initiative HIV/AIDS Task Force at AU.

Maritza is a third-year student at George Washington University, from Chestnut Ridge, New York. Maritza is studying Biological Anthropology and is a member of the Student Global AIDS Campaign and the Caribbean Students Association.

Megan is from Rockville, Maryland, and is a student at Montgomery College. Megan is studying both Women’s Studies and Jewish Studies with a minor in Statistics and volunteers for the Washington, D.C. Rape Crisis Center.

Mehwish is a fourth-year student at the University of Maryland, College Park studying Public and Community Health. Mehwish is originally from Pakistan and currently serves as the Community Service Chair of a sorority, Delta Phi Omega.

Olaide is a fourth-year student at University of Maryland, College Park, and is studying Public and Community Health. Olaide is originally from Nigeria and currently the Historian of the African Students Association at UMD.

Zemen is a senior at University of Maryland, College Park, and is studying public and community health/pre-medicine. Zemen grew up in Columbia, Maryland, where her parents moved to from Ethiopia.

Sharing Our Passion


By Alphonso K. Weah, Executive Director of Youth for Community Academic and Development Services (YOCADS)

A growing population, increasing rates of pregnancy, rising unemployment, and high HIV/AIDS prevalence among youth have prompted program planners and policymakers to consider the special needs of adolescents, especially girls in developing countries. In recent years, Liberia has taken on a number of initiatives that have fostered youth centers, youth-friendly services, peer education, and family life education to reach vulnerable groups. In Liberia, these initiatives are often ineffective in reaching vulnerable and at risk population, because they frequently do not account for the heterogeneity of youth. Differences in age, gender, sex, marital status, educational attainment, place of residence and other demographic characteristics such as race, ethnicity and language can increase vulnerability and may impede program participation.

Additionally, since the end of Liberia’s civil conflict in 2003, women and girls have made considerable progress in rebuilding their lives and planning for the future. However, they continue to face tremendous difficulties in overcoming issues of gender inequality and exploitation. According to Liberia’s poverty reduction strategy (PRS) of 2008, the vast majority of Liberian females have suffered some form of gender-based violence (GBV), and instances of rape and domestic violence continue to be widespread through out the country. Limited access to education, basic health care, and judicial services, as well as low participation in decision-making processes, remain critical issues, which need to be addressed.

In response to these challenges, the Youth for Community Academic and Development Services (YOCADS) hosted a one day adolescent girl’s workshop with the theme “Lets Build Peace and Resist Violence!” The workshop took place in Clara Town, Community Town Hall on the Bushord Island, Monrovia. The purpose of the workshop was to educate young women about their role in community development and how to peacefully co-exist among peers and others. The workshop brought together more then 300 women participants from Old Road, Sonewien, and Clara Town Communities.

The first facilitator spoke on the theme: “HIV/AIDS & Sexual Gender Violence (SGV)”, addressing its effects and risks posed. We discussed why and how it is dangerous when there is SGV, putting most victims and survivors at more risk of HIV. Even for married couples, SGV is a risk and increases vulnerability to HIV – for neither the victim nor the perpetrator’s status is known. The speaker, therefore, called on participants to make use of the opportunity of the workshop and knowledge gained, and to prioritize fighting SEXUAL GENDER VIOLENCE in their various communities and the society as a whole.

For his part, Kerian N. Palanah, Program Office of Liberians United to Expose Hidden Weapon (LUEHW) spoke on “The Role of Young people in Community Development”. He expressed in his presentation how youth should involve themselves in community development, take on leadership roles, and as young people identify the problems that their communities are faced with through positive thinking and mapping of goals to influence others and create a positive change. He also mentioned the importance of the Lift Liberia Poverty Reduction Strategy.

For his part, Jason F. Wulah, Executive Secretary of Outreach Secretary of Liberia (OSEL) spoke on the topic, “Citizens and Law.” Mr. Wulah said that people, especially young people, should learn how to respect their fellow human beings. Additionally, a drama was done to showcase the behaviors and attitudes of someone who steps outside of the law. The last presenter spoke on “Self Management.”

At the end of the workshop, the young women promised to foster joint accelerated evidence-based, harmonized and expanded community-level responses to the numerous health and social needs and challenges of adolescents, especially girls in Liberia.

Many points of discussion were raised at this workshop. For example, the plight of adolescents and young people in post-conflict Liberia is a major cause for concern. Development of the potential of these young people poses lots of challenges. However, potential adequately nurtured will fully prepare youth for community-building and thus national growth and development. Liberia needs an increased number of professionals and well trained young citizens who can be prepared to take on these leadership roles, especially mentoring of their peers.

Contact YOCADS:

Youth for Community Academic and Development Services (YOCADS)
P.O. Box, 4970, Monrovia Liberia
West Africa
Phone # +2315648081
Email alphonso_weah@yahoo.com

Meet Youth Bloggers in Sri Lanka

“Together, we are the solution,” is the slogan for the International Candlelight Memorial 2009, which was presented during a Candlelight Event Series where a coalition of agencies working in the fields of youth sexual and reproductive health issues came together to host events all over Sri Lanka that will lead up to World AIDS Day on December 1, 2009.

On May 17th, a Candlelight Memorial was held at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The memorial was hosted to address the needs of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Sri Lanka, which include nutritional support, more comprehensive access to treatment, psycho-social support, economic rehabilitation and all other facets of ‘positive living’ that are currently unavailable to them. This Candlelight Event-Series formed the basis of an awareness and advocacy campaign to change the way PLWHA are perceived, and also challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by marginalized groups such as the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual (GLBTQI) communities in Sri Lanka.

The collaboration is facilitated through the National Youth Coalition of Sri Lanka (NYCSL), a youth organization focused on furthering the SRH rights of youth. Currently, the coalition represents 13 organizations and the hope is that more agencies will join as the event-series gathers momentum leading up to World AIDS Day this year.

To check out the blogs of the National Youth Coalition of Sri Lanka, go to: http://solutiontogether.wordpress.com/

For contact information, reach:
Milinda Rajapakse
Convener – National Youth Coalition (NYC) & National Focal Point – GYCA
Email: milinda.rajapaksha@gmail.com or nycsrilanka@gmail.com
Mobile: 0772543307


Nooranie Muthaliph
Former National Focal Point – GYCA & Youth Programme Coordinator – ICAAP 8
Email: n.muthaliph@gmail.com or nooranie@youthaidscoalition.org
Mobile: 0773413985

My Voice Counts!

24th UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board (PCB) Meeting

The 24th PCB Meeting is taking place from the 22nd to the 24th of June in Geneva, Switzerland. The draft Agenda is available on the UNAIDS web site as well as on the Delegation’s website ( www.unaidspcbngo.org ) and includes items on HIV prevention among injecting drug users, gender, the Unified Budget and Workplan for 2010-2011, and the presentation of the NGO report by the Delegation. The Delegation will hold a civil society pre-meeting on June 21st for Observers to the PCB for input around the agenda items. Please send your input in regards to the PCB Agenda points and the NGO Report to Natalie Siniora ( pcbcf.nsiniora@gmail.com ) of the Communications Facility (CF).

To read more about the NGO report, consultative group, nominations for NGO delegates, click here

NGO Report

This year’s NGO Report reflected input from over 400 respondents, carried out through an online questionnaire and consultations with key civil society organizations, networks and activists. The report includes recommendations and decision points compiled with the inclusion of civil society to take forth to the PCB meeting in June.

The NGO Report and the survey results can be found on the website of the Delegation in 7 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, English, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.


Consultative Group

The NGO Delegation is pleased to announce the formation of its first Consultative Group. More information about the Consultative Group will soon be available on the UNAIDS website at www.unaidspcbngo.com.

Recruitment for the NGO Delegation 2010-2011

The NGO Delegation has sent out an open call for applications for 5 new Delegates (see regions below). The deadline for application submission is August 30, 2009. Please click here for more information on the application process and necessary documentation.
The Delegation is recruiting Delegates from the following regions:
Europe Main Delegate
Europe Alternate Delegate
Latin America and the Caribbean Alternate Delegate
Africa Alternate Delegate
Asia Alternate Delegate
To find out more information, contact:

Natalie Siniora
CF Programme Assistant
World AIDS Campaign
Tel: +31 20 616 9045
Fax: +31 20 612 9880
Mob:+31 65 082 4625

Join Bali Youth Force Online for the 9th International Congress on AIDS in the Asia and Pacific!

On August 9-13, 2009, Bali will host the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP)—the biggest congress on HIV and AIDS in the region. Approximately 3,000 delegates from 51 Asian and 14 Pacific countries are expected to attend this congress. The theme of the 9th ICAAP is “Empowering People, Strengthening Networks” to support a vibrant community of empowered people, all across Asia and the Pacific, in order to mobilize a holistic and more effective response to the cross-border challenges of today’s HIV pandemic.

To check out the ICAAP website, go to: http://www.icaap9.org

What is the Bali Youth Force?

The Bali Youth Force is a coalition of networks and organizations that have come together to ensure significant youth participation at the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP). Representing the countries in Asia and the Pacific, BYF has been established to organize youth activities and ensure meaningful participation at the ICAAP. Five sub-committees have been formed and are working actively to prepare the different aspects of the youth activities: advocacy, pre-conference, youth pavilion, main conference and media committees.

To learn more about BYF and the activities at ICAAP, click here: http://www.baliyouthforce2009.org.

Remember: Even if you are not attending ICAAP, you can join the Bali Youth Force online and encourage all your friends to join online!

You can also join the page or become a fan of Facebook, Twitter or TIG accounts. All you have to do is search “Bali Youth Force” or add BYF through administrator@baliyouthforce2009.org.

For questions and/or more information about Bali Youth Force, email administrator@baliyouthforce2009.org

Watch 15andCounting in Zambia

Check out the video on 15andCounting in Zambia at http://www.15andcounting.org

Sign the 15andCounting petition and support of sexual rights for all.

The unacceptable facts:
Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for young women ages 15-19 in low- and middle-income countries.
Each day, some 500,000 young people, mostly young women, are infected with a sexually transmitted infection other than HIV, while 3500 are infected with HIV.
Young people (15-24 years old) account for 45 percent of all new HIV infections worldwide.
Only 17 per cent of sexually active young people around the world use contraceptives.
There are 60 million female children in marriages world-wide, increasing to 100 million within ten years.
Two million girls are genitally mutilated every year.
Today, more than 200 million women do not have access to the modern contraceptives they desire.
Governments across the globe have failed to deliver the promises they made fifteen years ago at the International Conference on Population and Development to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people, putting the lives and wellbeing of millions at risk.

The 15andCounting campaign, coordinated by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, is asking people all over the world to sign the “Count Me In: Sexual Rights for All” petition to demand better access to sexual health services and education for everyone. Advocacy resources are also available on the website (English, French, Spanish and Arabic).

Don’t forget to sign the IPPF petition at http://www.15andcounting.org!

Read All About It

World AIDS Day 2009 Theme Declared: Universal Access and Human Rights

On June 16th, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced the theme for World AIDS Day 2009 as “Universal Access and Human Rights.” The theme was chosen to recognize the many commitments made, including in the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (2001) and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS (2006), to protect human rights and attain access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Countries have affirmed laws and policies that impede access to HIV services and criminalize those most vulnerable to HIV, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM), transgendered people and lesbians, sex workers, and intravenous drug users (IDUs).

To learn more, check out this article

HIV Rates among Teens in South Africa Drops

A survey of 23,000 people entitled, “A Turning Tide Among Teenagers?” was recently released to show that HIV rates among teens in South Africa has decreased. HIV incidence among 18-year-olds halved between 2005 and 2008 to 0.8 percent, while HIV incidence among 20-year-olds has decreased from 2.2 percent to 1.7 percent. Trends indicate that young people are continuing to have multiple partners but the usage of condoms is increasing. Last year in South Africa, 5.2 million people were living with HIV—the highest number of any country in the world.

To read more, go to:

Front Page News

Nigerian Women Still Lack Access to Contraception

According to a report in 2003, nearly one-third of sexually active women ages 15 to 24 in Nigeria had an unmet need for modern contraception. Okonofua, the co-author of the report said, “We are failing Nigerian adolescents when it comes to providing them with the information and services they need to delay marriage and avoid unintended pregnancies.”

To read more, go to:

Lack Of Access To Contraception Persists In Nigeria, Study Finds

Conflict-Affected Countries: Greater Reproductive Health Needs, Yet Less Aid Dedicated to Reproductive Health?

A new study from the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine shows evidence that low income, conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia receive less development money than countries that are not experiencing conflict, despite the fact that countries affected by conflict have greater reproductive health needs. Some reasons include war destroying health infrastructure and an increasing risk of sexual violence. The analysis was conducted by researchers that quantified the amount of aid spent on reproductive health in low-income conflict affected countries, and compared this figure with the amount spent in poor countries that were not affected by conflict.

To read more about the study, click here

Campaign Against Cross-Generational Sex Launches in Rwanda

The Rwanda Ministry of Youth recently launched a six-month campaign aimed at reducing the trend of cross-generational sex, which some health officials say is contributing to the spread of HIV among young people in the country. The campaign urges youth to avoid having sex with older people.

To read more about the campaign, go to:


Tools You Can Use

In partnership with GYCA, UNFPA, and the World AIDS Campaign, the Youth Coalition has developed a resource on universal access and youth:

Towards the Finish Line: Youth and Universal Access 2010

Universal access is the global commitment to make HIV prevention, testing, treatment, care and support services available to all those in need. This commitment is based on measurable, time-bound and realistic targets specific to each country. Initially adopted during the 2005 G8 in Gleneagles, the commitment to universal access was reaffirmed at the UN World Summit in 2005 and again at the UNGASS high level meeting in 2006. The Towards the Finish Line fact sheet is a helpful tool in finding out more about universal access, what commitments have been made, and what remains to be done.


Learn more about universal access, and find out what you can do to help.

Download the fact sheet here:

Youth and Universal Access Factsheet (English):

Youth and Universal Access Factsheet (Español):

Youth and Universal Access Factsheet (Français):

Youth and Universal Access Factsheet (Português):

Youth and Universal Access Factsheet (Arabic):

Youth and Universal Access Factsheet (Chinese):

Youth and Universal Access Factsheet (Hindi):

Youth and Universal Access Factsheet (Russian):

Mobilizing Communities on Young People’s Health and Rights: An Advocacy Toolkit for Program Managers and An Advocacy Training Guide, by Family Care International

This advocacy toolkit leads the user through the stages of planning and launching an advocacy campaign to ensure that government commitments are translated into programs that meet young people’s sexual and reproductive health needs. The toolkit is designed to be adaptable to other social and development priorities, including maternal health, gender-based violence, and child marriage. Prototype worksheets and other tools are at the end of each chapter. The guide is also available in PDF or CD-ROM in English.

To access the toolkit, click here: http://www.familycareintl.org/en/resources/publications/66

Reproductive Health Supplies in Six Countries: Themes and Entry Points in Policies, Systems and Funding, by Population Action International

Population Action International’s (PAI) newest report, Reproductive Health Supplies in Six Countries: Themes and Entry Points in Policies, Systems and Funding, identifies the challenges faced by reproductive health programs in Bangladesh, Ghana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and Uganda. Funding constraints, combined with a weak commitment to prioritize the purchase of reproductive health supplies on the side of the recipient countries and a limited capacity for distribution, have created an unstable environment for supplies worldwide. The report and the six in-country case studies, call for renewed attention to reproductive health supplies in order to avoid putting the health of millions of women at risk.

PAI’s Vice-President for Research, Dr. Karen Hardee, was interviewed by BBC Radio Africa about the report’s findings.

Listen to the interview:

Read the full report:

Read the report’s press release:

Sexuality Policy Watch: A Global Forum on Sexuality and Social Policy

Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW) is a global forum composed of researchers and activists from a wide range of countries and regions of the world. Launched in 2002 as the International Working Group on Sexuality and Social Policy (IWGSSP), in 2006 the forum changed its name to Sexuality Policy Watch.

Inspired by local and international initiatives, SPW’s mission is twofold: to contribute to sexuality related global policy debates through strategic policy-oriented research and analysis projects, and to promote more effective linkages between local, regional and global initiatives.

Since its establishment, SPW has undertaken many projects: a global research study on trends in sexuality, policies and politics; political activism; building strategic partnerships with social actors working on sexual rights in key policy arenas; and publishing policy analyses and other materials to address issues of sexuality politics. SPW also participates in global policy arenas and relevant initiatives directly relating to sexuality, sexual and reproductive rights, gender, LGBT activism and HIV/AIDS.

To read more, visit their website at http://www.sxpolitics.org

Coming Soon

International Youth Day, August 12, 2009
Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future.

International Youth Day is a time for people all over the world to recognize the contributions that young people make and have the potential to make to ensure that all citizens have the information and skills they need to live healthy lives. Today’s generation of young people is the largest in history. Almost three billion people—nearly half of the world’s population—are under the age of 25.

We know that young people have a valuable role to ensure that policies and programs provide young people the knowledge and tools they need to prevent unintended pregnancies, and STIs, including HIV/AIDS. Meaningful youth participation is absolutely essential at all levels of policy and programming—from the design through the implementation and evaluation of reproductive and sexual health interventions.

The theme sustainability reflects exactly why youth leadership is so important! Youth must be involved in the lessons we learn today to apply them to the future and truly make progress, amidst all the challenges.

International Youth Day is also a time for youth activists and adult allies to work together to inform governments that young people must be involved in the decision-making of policies and programs, particularly adolescent reproductive and sexual health programs.

Advocates for Youth understands how important it is for young people and adults to work together to ensure young people’s reproductive and sexual health and rights—through partnerships in which each party has the opportunity to make suggestions and decisions and the contribution of each is recognized and valued.

To access publications on youth-adult partnerships, click here: https://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=910&Itemid=115

Here are some ideas for activities you can organize on International Youth Day:

Team up! It is a great opportunity to rally support and get key actors involved – Governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, businesses, and young people – to focus on what has been done to further the World Programme of Action for Youth. Click here: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/global.htm

Organize! Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of young people focusing on youth issues and how they can be addressed.

Celebrate! Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase – and celebrate – the fact that youth contribute to the societies in which they live. Convene exchanges and dialogues focusing on the rich and varied skills, interests and aspirations of young people.

Take action! A major focus of the Day is practical action to further encourage the empowerment and participation of youth in the processes and decisions that affect their lives. The media have an especially important role to play in support of the observance of the Day to promote public awareness of youth issues.

You can email the United Nations on how you will be commemorating International Youth Day in your country: http://youth@un.org.

You can also email Advocates for Youth on how you will be celebrating International Youth Day and how we can help. Just contact mimi@advocatesforyouth.org!

To read more, go to:

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