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July 2014 iYAN Newsletter

July 2014 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 selects four core partner organizations in Nepal, Pakistan, Ghana, and Kenya. Advocates is pleased to announce four new partner organizations that we will be working with to advance youth sexual and reproductive health and rights. As a result of a very competitive call for applications, for which Advocates received more than 500 submissions from around the world, the selected partner organizations include YUWA, based in Nepal; the Youth Advocacy Network, based in Pakistan; the Youth Development, Research and Innovation Center (YOUDRIC), based in Ghana; and Men Against AIDS Youth Group (MAAYGO), based in Kenya. These organizations join Advocates’ other core partners, Quality of Citizenship Jamaica and Mwangaza Action in Burkina Faso. The newly selected partner organizations will be spearheading programming to advance youth sexual and reproductive health and rights in their country. In Nepal, YUWA will work with youth leaders, stakeholders, and teachers to advocate and support the effective delivery of comprehensive sexuality education. YUWA will also engage in UN level advocacy to inform the post-2015 development agenda. In Pakistan, the Youth Advocacy Network will work with youth leaders to advocate for youth sexual and reproductive health and rights and similarly engage in UN level advocacy to inform the post-2015 development agenda. In Ghana, the Youth Development, Research and Innovation Center (YOUDRIC) will work with young people and community members to provide sexual and reproductive health education and linkages to services in 15 communities within the central region of the country. In Kenya, Men Against AIDS Youth Group (MAAYGO) will work to reach at least 500 LGBT youth with relevant and quality sexual and reproductive health information and services. Advocates will provide seed grants and technical assistance to each partner organization in the areas of comprehensive sexuality education, youth-adult partnerships, youth sexual and reproductive health programming, girls empowerment and safe spaces, youth-friendly services, LGBT-friendly services and safe spaces, community mobilization, and advocacy. We are excited to welcome these excellent organizations to our family of youth sexual and reproductive health and rights partners! Advocates engages at the Open Working Group 13 to fight for inclusion of adolescent girls and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights in the post-2015 development agenda. Advocates continues to closely follow the developments of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations in New York, which concluded last week. Advocates attended the final meeting (OWG13), which resulted in a document of proposed goals and targets on sustainable development for the post-2015 development agenda. Advocates is concerned to see that the document remained very weak on adolescents and youth. There are a few references to young people, girls and/or boys across the education, nutrition, employment and gender focus areas; however the document failed to include any reference to girls’, adolescents’ or young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights within the health goal and a target on sexuality education is blatantly missing. Advocates wrote to U.S. Government representatives engaged in the OWG process to ask that they prioritize adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health in the post-2015 process. Also during the OWG 13 meeting, Advocates submitted a letter to the editor published in the Washington Post, “An important moment for girls,” calling for prioritizing adolescent girls in the post-2015 development agenda, in response to Malala Yousafzai’s July 14 op-ed, “Standing up for girls.” Now that the OWG process has ended, governments will use the resulting document as a basis for negotiations moving forward through September 2015. You too can engage by tweeting messages such as the following:

  • The time to safeguard our health, education and our human rights is now! #sdgs #post2015
  • Comprehensive Sexuality Education is a clear priority for both young people & member states #sdgs #post2015
  • We demand #CSE that promotes respect for #humanrights, #tolerance, #genderequality and #nonviolence for young people and adolescents #sdgs#post2015
  • Let’s not make the mistake of leaving #adolescents #girls behind #sdgs #post2015
  • 281,102 ppl demand recognition of young women’s sexual & reproductive rights #Post2015 @amnestyonline http://bit.ly/1pIHkP7
  • 281,102 ppl demand Young women’s leadership at all levels #Post2015 @amnestyonline http://bit.ly/1pIHkP7

Stay tuned and keep up the pressure—the moment is now as these goals will drive development priorities for the next 15 years.

My Voice Counts!

You can still participate in 2nd Annual Girls Speak Out at the United Nations Organizers of the 2nd Annual Girls Speak Out at the United Nations are looking for girls to speak out in honor of the International Day of the Girl. They are looking for stories and reflections in the form of poetry, art, videos, stories, songs or declarations about what it means to be a girl. To submit your work, you must:

  1. Be a girl (or group of girls) 18 years of age or younger.
  2. Answer the question: what does it mean to be a girl where you live?
  3. Tell us your story. Send your original work to: info@dayofthegirlsummit.org with your name, age, country and contact information by Friday, August 1st

Length requirements for submissions:

  • Short stories (maximum 500 words) and poems (maximum 250 words)
  • Art or Photos: send a picture with a short 50 – 100 word description
  • Video or music (maximum length of 3 minutes)

This effort is organized by Day of the Girl Summit in partnership with iTwixie, Girls Learn International, Sage Girl, SPARK Movement, and The Working Group on Girls. For more information, go here. Check out the winner of the Global Girls’ Conversation Video Contest. You may remember reading about the Girls Lead Global Girls Conversation Video Contest. Well, in response to their call for videos from girls around the world, Girls Lead received over 140 powerful submissions from girls in 26 countries and they have since selected a winner! The winner is Harriet Kamashanyu, Founder and Executive Director of Rhythm of Life based in Uganda, which works with the daughters of HIV positive sex workers in Uganda’s red light district. Harriet believes that girls have the right and the courage to fight for access to education to shape their own futures. STAY TUNED as along with a cash prize and video equipment, LGL will produce a short video with Harriet about her incredibly important work to improve girls’ lives. In addition, the runner up videos included: 2nd place winner: Obinna-Njoku Somtochukwu of Nigeria 3rd place winner: Grace Mwase of Malawi To see the videos go here. Call for proposals for LGBT Projects! “Rainbow Solidarité, under the patronage of the Fondation de France, has a call for proposals whereby organizations can apply for financial support for projects to combat homophobia, engage in lobbying, or provide juridical or psychological support to the international LGBT community. HIV/AIDS-specific projects are excluded. Grants will be between 1000 and 5000€. Priority will be given to projects based on eastern Europe, Africa, and Middle-East. The submission deadline is September 1, 2014. For more information, go here.

Read All About It!

FGM summit: Cameron calls for end ‘in this generation’ David Cameron has said female genital mutilation (FGM) and childhood forced marriage should be stopped worldwide “within this generation”. Speaking at a global summit in London, the prime minister said Britain had no “special magic” to stop the practices – so global action was needed. Mr Cameron has also unveiled measures to tackle FGM in England and Wales. To read this article, go here. UNAIDS report says 19 million people globally don’t know their HIV-positive status. A new report by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows that 19 million of the 35 million people living with HIV globally do not know their HIV-positive status. The report was launched on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland. To read this article, go here. Exciting’ drug flushes out HIV. Scientists say they have made an “exciting” step towards curing HIV by forcing the virus out of hiding. HIV can become part of someone’s DNA and lie dormant for decades, making a cure impossible. Early stage research in six people, reported at the Aids 2014 conference, shows that low-dose chemotherapy can awaken the virus. Experts said it was a promising start, but it was unlikely the drug would work on its own to cure HIV. To read this article, go here. AIDS, pregnancy and the church: young Hondurans take a stand. As of 2014, 25% of Honduran babies were born to teen mothers, the second highest teen pregnancy rate in Latin America, according to the United Nations. In addition, new United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) statistics show that Honduras registers 60% of all new HIV infections reported in Central America. Some of these harsh realities are due to a lack of access to information and contraceptives, which result from the significant influence Catholic and conservative evangelical churches wield in the government, congress, universities and society. Honduras is one of four Latin American countries that prohibit abortion, even when the mother’s life is in danger or she has been raped. To read this article, go here. HIV education in Bangladesh pushes forward. A local non-government organisation in Bangladesh says its program to integrate HIV/AIDS education into school curriculum is making big strides. For more than 30 years, Bangladesh health education body PIACT has focused on issues relating to reproductive health, gender equality, poverty alleviation and indeed the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Since 2007, the group has pushed to include HIV/AIDS education into the textbooks of secondary schools across Bangladesh. To read this article, go here. Banning sex education is not a solution. Parents and counselors in Delhi say that banning sex education is not a solution and will prove detrimental instead, given the exposure kids have to the internet After Akhilesh Yadav, union health minister Harsh Vardhan has joined the league of politicos known for their controversial views, with not one, but two of his statements making headlines. And while the minister would have liked to suggest that the meaning of his words had been twisted, there was no scope, as the comment on ‘so called sex education should be banned in schools’ was first made in the Delhi CM hopeful’s vision statement for the city on his official website. Angry responses from parents, school representatives and citizens on social media forced the health ministry to come out with a statement clarifying that those were the independent views of the leader. To read this article go here. Study: Women using crude abortion methods. Women are so terrified of unplanned pregnancies that they would tinker with death than give birth, a new survey in Bungoma and Trans Nzoia counties [in Kenya] has revealed. Harrowing accounts have it that women are using sharp pieces of wire, thorny tree branches and poisonous roots to poke into the uterus and force out the unborn. To read this article, go here. Cameroon, WHO push for end to female circumcision. Cameroon and the World Health Organization (WHO) have a launched a campaign against female circumcision. The practice, which critics call female genital mutilation (FGM), is still practiced in the Central African nation for commercial reasons and traditional belief that it makes a woman faithful to her husband. To read this article, go here. Slowly changing, but unmoving: The plight of FGM in The Gambia, Africa. YOUNG girls who are below one year old are undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practice in Tanzania, a recent research has indicated. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Deputy Representative, Ms Mariam Khan, says that the survey indicates that some parents conduct FGM on children who are less likely to defend themselves and more likely to keep up a veil of secrecy. To read this article, go here. Egyptian leader apologizes to victim of sexual assault in Tahrir Square. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt apologized on Wednesday to the victim of a mass sexual assault that took place in a crowd celebrating his election, declaring in a televised visit to her hospital bed that he urged every soldier, police officer and “chivalrous man” to eradicate such abuse. “I apologize to you, and as a state, we will not allow this to happen again,” Mr. Sisi said. “I am here to tell you and every Egyptian woman I apologize to all of you.” To read this article, go here. Jamaica’s anti-gay protesters are trying to duck the ‘homophobic’ label. Jamaica has made headlines in the past years for instances of anti-gay violence and homophobia from its leaders. Now, it’s in the throes of a full-scale debate about gay rights. The media have framed the issue as a David vs. Goliath battle: traditional Christian values against the gay lobby. To read this article, go here.

Tools You Can Use

Online Report: Health for the World’s Adolescents – A Second Chance in the Second Decade By the World Health Organization The World Health Organization’s Health for the World’s Adolescents report is a dynamic, multimedia, online resource. Primarily, it describes why adolescents need specific attention, distinct from children and adults. It presents a global overview of adolescents’ health and health-related behaviors, including the latest data and trends, and discusses the determinants that influence their health and behaviors. The report also features adolescents’ own perspectives on their health needs. For more information, please click here. Invest in Adolescents and Young People By Women Deliver This new infographic brings attention to the current global status of today’s youth. It highlights the barriers that young people, particularly young women, face in fully realizing their rights and makes the case for meaningful youth participation in the development processes. The infographic joins six others in a series, all devoted to a variety of girls’ and women’s health and rights issues. To access this infographic, go here. To access the series, go here. Research Report and Infographic: Investing in Very Young Adolescents’ Sexual and Reproductive Health By the Institute for Reproductive Health A new report on young adolescents from the Institute for Reproductive Health describes how educators, program designers, policy-makers or others typically do not view 10 to 14 year olds as a priority because the long-term benefits and value of investing in them goes unrecognized. The report notes that programs engaging 10 to 14 year olds must be tailored to meet their unique developmental needs and take into account the important roles of parents and guardians and others who influence very young adolescents. To access the report, go here. To access the infographic, go here. The Gap Report By UNAIDS This report seeks to address the question, “How do we close the gap between the people moving forward and the people being left behind?” The report provides the best possible data on HIV/AIDS and also shares information and analysis on the people being left behind. To access the report, go here. UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office: International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict The UK Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, co-chaired the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict from June 10-13 in London. This was the largest gathering ever brought together on the subject, with 1,700 delegates and 129 country delegations. The summit produced practical steps to tackle impunity for the use of rape as a weapon of war and to begin to change global attitudes about these crimes. The International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict was presented during the summit and outlines best standards of practice for the documentation and investigation of sexual violence. To access the protocol, go here. Report: The Making of Sexual Violence – How Does a Boy Grow Up to Commit Rape? By ICRW and Promundo This report presents an overview of five study sites of the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES). Data from the IMAGES study underscores previous evidence of the tremendous levels of sexual violence that women and girls face around the world and provides information on certain influential factors that point the way towards policies and programs. The report includes findings related to men’s self-reported perpetration of sexual violence, investigates seven domains of possible influences on men’s sexual violence perpetration, and provides actionable lessons and recommendations. For more information, please click here. Promoting the Health of Men who have Sex with Men Worldwide: A Training Curriculum for Providers By the MSMGF and Johns Hopkins University An international training curriculum designed to give healthcare providers the cultural competency and clinical skills necessary to meet the health needs of gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Consisting of nine modules and covering a wide range of clinically relevant topics, the curriculum’s content was shaped and guided by a group of 15 technical experts, scientists, physicians, psychologists, program implementers and community members from around the world. The introductory modules are designed to help providers gain a broad understanding of the contexts in which MSM navigate their healthcare needs. Subsequent modules offer specific provider-led strategies for increasing access to and quality of services, such as creating an enabling clinical environment, taking an appropriate sexual history, and managing HIV and other STIs among MSM effectively. To access the curriculum, go here. License to Be Yourself: Laws and advocacy for legal gender recognition of trans people By the Open Society Foundations This report documents some of the world’s most progressive and rights-based laws and policies that enable trans people to change their gender identity on official documents. It shares strategies that activists have successfully used in a variety of global and legal contexts, and features case studies from Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Ukraine, and the United States. The report is also accompanied by a new video that in two minutes explains why legal gender recognition is an important human rights issue. These materials can serve as a resource for activists working on human rights issues for trans people, local communities examining best laws and policies, and policymakers seeking to uphold the rights of trans people. To access the report, go here. To access the video, go here.

Coming Up

International Youth Day, August 12, 2014 Nearly half the world’s population—more than 3 billion people—are under the age of 25. Together, young people can work together to raise our voices on programs and policies that affect our sexual and reproductive health and rights. We can make a difference! Here are just some of the issues that you can speak out on to make sure that your policy makers acknowledge the challenges facing young people and invest in programs and policies that will improve young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Stay tuned to Advocates’ website for opportunities to engage on International Youth Day! Globally:

  • Worldwide, approximately 16 million women and girls ages 15 to 19 give birth each year, accounting for approximately 11 percent of all births worldwide.
  • Pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death for young women ages 15 through 19.
  • Almost 14 percent of all unsafe abortions in developing countries are among women under 20 years of age.
  • At the same time, forty-one percent of new HIV infections occur in young people aged 15-24
  • More than 130 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East in which it is concentrated, and 30 million girls are at risk of being cut within the next decade.
  • Girls who marry before 18 are more likely to experience domestic violence than their peers who marry later.If present trends continue, 142 million girls will marry over the next decade. That’s 38,000 girls married every day for the next 10 years.
  • Young women are more vulnerable to the HIV epidemic than are men – young women comprise 64 percent of all young people with HIV.
  • Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth are also particularly vulnerable to HIV infection and sitgma and discrimination that limits their access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.

What can you do?

  • Host a community event to raise awareness about the importance of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Engage with coalitions or organizations working in your community to advance young people’s rights and well-being.
  • Identify and request a meeting with community leaders and/or decision-makers to inform them about the importance of investing in young people and ensuring that they have the information and services to lead healthy lives.
  • Blog on Advocates’ youth activist website, amplifyyourvoice.org, and write about why you think International Youth Day is important, how you and your peers are making a difference in your community, or what you think policy makers and leaders need to be doing to support young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in your country.

And don’t miss checking out these publications that talk about these important issues: To learn about, “Youth and Unsafe Abortion,” click here: English | French To learn about “Gender Inequality and Violence Against Women and Girls Around the World,” click here: English | Spanish To learn about “Youth and the Global HIV Pandemic,” click here: English To learn about “Young People Living with HIV around the World,” click here: English | French To learn about, “Overlooked and At Risk: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Youth in the Caribbean,” click here: English  

Please spread the word about the iYAN! Send this link to your friends so they can sign-up too! https://www.advocatesforyouth.org/iyan They can also check out the iYAN Facebook page by going here: www.facebook.com/AdvocatesforYouthiYAN Was this e-mail forwarded to you? If so and you would like to subscribe to Advocates for Youth’s iYAN mailing list, please visit https://www.advocatesforyouth.org/iyan.


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