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July 2018 iYAN Newsletter

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 recruits new members for its 2018-2019 International Youth Leadership Council

The International Youth Leadership Council is a group of undergraduate college students based in the United States in the Washington, DC area, who work to raise awareness and inform and advocate for better U.S. foreign policy that impacts young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights globally. Please join us in welcoming Ayanna, Muhammad, and Kefai and welcoming back Caroline, Emma, Angela, Katie, Madelynn and Kory to this year’s International Youth Leadership Council!

Council members are students at several DC-based universities, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, University of Maryland, and American University. IYLC members work on a wide-range of international reproductive justice issues such as: sexuality education, international family planning, contraceptive access, abortion, global HIV and AIDS, gender equality, harmful traditional practices such as child marriage and female genital cutting/mutilation, gender-based violence, LGBTQ rights, and more. Most members have ties or strong interests in the global south and international issues.

There will be much work to do for the council members this coming year in order to counter efforts to cut US funding for global health, including international family planning, the US contribution to UNFPA, and HIV/AIDS funding, and other developments that threaten young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the global south, such as the re-instatement and expansion of the Global Gag Rule. The Global Gag Rule is an executive order that prohibits organizations in the global south that receive US global health funding from using their own, independent funds to advocate for, provide information about, or refer women to abortion services. Council members will also be actively engaged in United Nations processes and global advocacy, particularly leading up to the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Population and Development, and ongoing efforts to hold governments accountable to the SDGs.

My Voice Counts!

Take part in a new survey to inform the UN/private sector on youth skill development and youth employment.

In an effort to learn more about the role the private sector is, can, and should play in preparing global youth for work, the Global Business Coalition for Education, in partnership with Deloitte, is seeking the voice of young people aged 15 to 29 from around the world to gain a deeper understanding on the state youth skill development and workforce development and the role of education and business in skill/workforce development. All information will be shared collectively and anonymously in a report to businesses and the private sector and will also be launched during the United Nations General Assembly in September that will provide recommendations for business. To access the survey, go here.

Participate in the 2019 Women Deliver Film Festival.

From June 3-6, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada, over 6,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, artists and journalists will participate in triannual conference. Women Deliver is committed to providing a platform at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference for artists whose creations will help fuel a better world for girls and women. The Film Festival is designed to spark conversation on the issues facing girls and women and inspire change through multimedia and screens films of all genres. The deadline is September 30. For more information, go here.

Sign the UN Feminist Network’s petition to develop new policies on sexual harassment and assault in the UN system.

On 20 March 2018, the UN Feminist Network convened a meeting of feminists working in and with the UN system to discuss the ongoing problem of sexual harassment, sexual assault and abuse of power in multilateral organizations. Based on the discussions at our meeting, a task-team of the UN Feminist Network has outlined a set of key principles to be taken forward in addressing sexual harassment and assault. To sign the petition, go here.

Tools You Can Use

Family Planning/Reproductive Health Indicators Database
By MEASURE Evaluation

The recently updated database now contains key indicators for the five priorities of USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health: total market approach, supply chain, FP workforce, method choice, and social and behavior change communication. It also contains new key indicators for male engagement in FP. The service delivery indicators have been updated and the database has been reorganized to make it more user-friendly. To access the database, go here.

Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls
By the World Bank

Low educational attainment for girls has negative consequences not only for them, but also for their children and household, as well as for their community and society. This study documents the potential impacts of educational attainment for girls and women in six domains: (1) earnings and standards of living; (2) child marriage and early childbearing; (3) fertility and population growth; (4) health, nutrition, and well-being; (5) agency and decision-making; and (6) social capital and institutions. To access the report, go here.

Fighting FGM/C Through Social Marketing
By Evidence to End FGM/C Project and Population Reference Bureau

This video shares key lessons from two studies in Egypt and Sudan that looked at effective elements of various social marketing campaigns. The video highlights how the four P’s – product, price, place, and promotion – can be used to design a high-quality FGM/C campaign. It also offers additional insights for program managers and designers that can help ensure social marketing campaigns to end FGM/C are grounded in the right principles and approaches. To access the video, go here.

Every Hour Matters Youth Engagement Toolkit: Kenya and Uganda
By Together For Girls

These two toolkits, created by youth for youth, guides trained young professionals in hosting educational workshops on post-rape care. In addition to providing information on the critical timelines for accessing post-exposure prophylaxis and emergency contraception after rape, the workshops also foster dialogue around gender dynamics, power structures, and stigma surrounding sexual violence, and they teach young people the importance of reacting empathetically to survivors. To access the report, go here.


Read All About It!

In DRC, Married Women Receive Preferential Access to Birth Control

Unmarried women say access to birth control has declined significantly here. Unlikely to receive contraceptives at a hospital or clinic, single women turn to pharmacies, where expired or fake birth control is taking a toll on their health.

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Saudi women hit the road as driving ban is lifted

Women in Saudi Arabia are now allowed to drive for the first time since the religiously conservative kingdom overturned the world’s only ban on female motorists as critics note activists who fought for the right to drive are still in prison.

Activists in the region welcomed the lifting on the ban but cautioned that there were still many hurdles for women wanting to get behind the wheel.

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Argentine Senate Starts Debating Historic Abortion Bill

In June, the lower house Chamber of Deputies backed a bill decriminalizing abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and beyond that in cases where the infant would not survive after birth, by 129 votes to 125. A final debate on the matter will be held on August 8. Argentina’s 72 senators are largely opposed to the abortion bill, although 10 have not yet publicly revealed their stance.

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Meet the Syrian women educating refugee girls about early marriage

For many Syrian refugees, their troubles don’t end when they reach a safer destination. With little of their own resources, some refugee families marry off their girls to try to give them more financial security and a chance at a better life.

To discourage families from marrying off their girls at a young age, community volunteers like Alshraidab and Hilal will meet at one of the houses of a family where they have identified a need.

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Q&A: ‘Global gag rule’ hits Kenya’s largest reproductive health organization

This month, Family Health Options Kenya shuttered its clinic in Kitengela, Kenya. The clinic, which had operated for more than four years, was closed in response to funding cuts due to the “global gag rule.”

FHOK, which is the country’s first and largest sexual and reproductive health organization, provided 3.1 million reproductive health services in 2016.

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Study sheds light on reasons, repercussions of unplanned pregnancies in SA

Amanda Steyn is one of many young South African women who had unplanned pregnancies – a phenomenon considered by researchers as “socially disruptive” and that impacts “negatively not only on education, but on future career prospects.”

A new study, which surveyed female students in several South African technical and vocational education training colleges about unplanned pregnancies, has found that of 1000 young women who responded, about 74% reported having unplanned pregnancies.

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Indonesia’s crackdown on LGBT people fuels HIV crisis

A crackdown against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Indonesia is leading to a rise in HIV infections and causing a public health crisis, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. The report documents how attacks, raids and an attitude of open hostility towards LGBT groups by Indonesian authorities and Islamist militant groups has derailed public health efforts to prevent and curb HIV.

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International Youth Day
August 12, 2018

On December, 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth that August 12th be declared International Youth Day. This year’s theme is “Safe Spaces for Youth,” focusing on the importance of safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves and contribute to the community regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, ability, religious affiliation, socio-economic or cultural background or other factors.

What can you do?

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