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June 2013 iYAN Newsletter

June 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.

Sharing Our Passion: Blog Posts from Advocates’ Youth Activist Website, Amplifyourvoice.org!

Policy Makers: Deliver on your promises to girls, women By Gaston, Cameroon What if all the empathy that transpired in the speeches and talks of policy makers I listened to today at the Women Deliver pre-youth conference could immediately be converted to action? This is the question I asked myself during my reflection on the pre-youth conference that ok place on the 27th May 2013 in Kuala Lumpur. Read More… After one week interning with Advocates for Youth By Siyu, China I am Siyu Zhang and I have been working at Advocates for Youth for a week. I am 20 years old now and I spent my first 18 years in a small city Hengshui, which is in the north part of China. I currently study in City University of Hong Kong and feel grateful for getting into a university in Hong Kong because it enables me to get an international view point and look at China and the world in an open and objective way. This is technically my first internship but I have been helping in a non-profit organization Technology & Education: Connecting Cultures (TECC) as well as a university organization called City Youth Empowerment Project. You can google it if you are interested in volunteering in mainland China because TECC also recruits volunteers from the U.S. Read More… 

What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?

Advocates Attends the Women Deliver Conference From May 28-30, Advocates’ staff and eight of Advocates’ International Youth Activist Network members (from Jamaica, Cameroon, Nigeria, Namibia, and Nepal) attended the 3rdGlobal Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In preparation for the meeting, Advocates served on the conference’s Advisory Board as well as the Youth Working Group. Staff encouraged youth activist network members to apply for conference scholarships; contributed to informing preparations and communication messages for the conference; disseminated information about the conference through social media; participated in the professional and peer allies program; and tweeted from sessions. In addition, two of Advocates’ International Youth Activist members presented during the conference. Advocates also helped organize a very fun Youth Reception hosted by the Youth Health and Rights Coalition, of which Advocates is a member. The reception was launched by three exciting speakers who offered opening remarks, including Chelsea Clinton (daughter of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton) who currently serves as a board member of the Clinton Foundation; Barbara P. Bush (daughter of former US President George W. Bush) who currently serves as the CEO of Global Health Corps; and Mandy Moore, singer-songwriter, actress and PSI Ambassador.

Read All About it!

A High-Risk Pregnancy Is Terminated. But Was It an Abortion? The woman’s doctors urged an end to her pregnancy, saying her life could be at risk and that the fetus would not survive anyway. El Salvador’s highest court rejected the plea, knocking down a challenge to one of the strongest anti-abortion laws in the world. But on Tuesday, less than a week later, the woman, known publicly only as Beatriz, was recovering from a Caesarean section that ended her high-risk pregnancy after almost seven months of gestation, raising a fundamental question: Did doctors in a country that bans abortion under any circumstances manage to terminate the pregnancy without violating the law? To read this article, click here.

Russia OKs Bill Banning Gay ‘Propaganda’ A bill that stigmatizes gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality won overwhelming approval Tuesday in Russia’s lower house of parliament. Hours before the State Duma passed the Kremlin-backed law in a 436-0 vote with one abstention, more than two dozen protesters were attacked by hundreds of anti-gay activists and then detained by police. The bill banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” still needs to be passed by the appointed upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, but neither step is in doubt To read this article, click here.

As Rape Reports Increase in Delhi, a Call for Uncommon Men and Women Last December, a young woman we call “Nirbhaya” was so brutally assaulted and raped by six men on a bus that she died from her injuries two weeks later. She was barely older than my daughter Mira. Grieving, I looked for solace in student memories. I had resisted going to a women’s college at Delhi University, but a few years later at Mount Holyoke, a college for women in Massachusetts, I discovered a world where no one had to remind you to “lean in” because every woman already had her shoulder to the wheel and was moving the needle on everything from microbiology to challenging history with herstory. I was surrounded by women who wrote poetry, discussed politics, dismantled engines, designed buildings, managed newspapers, and danced for the joy of being able to do so. It was a world where women were not less than but equal to – a world, as the playwright Wendy Wasserstein put it, of “Uncommon Women.” To read this article, click here.

Irish Lawmakers Expected to Approve Limited Abortion The Irish Parliament is expected to legalize limited abortion before its summer break after the publication of final government proposals that would allow terminations in cases when there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, including the threat of suicide. In the face of intense opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups, Prime Minister Enda Kenny has pushed ahead with the changes while disallowing members of his party a free vote on conscience grounds. Given the large government majority in favor of the legislation, barring unforeseen circumstances it will pass into law. To read this article, click here.

My Voice Counts!

Participate in the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS and the ATHENA Network online survey! The Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS and the ATHENA Network are asking for you to share your experiences, hopes, and vision for realizing and claiming your sexual and reproductive health and rights. The goal, as part of the Link Up project, is to collect data through an online questionnaire that can be used to develop clear, forceful advocacy messaging to be utilized by youth in post-MDG and ICPD+20 dialogues. GYCA and ATHENA want to support increased participation and visibility of young people from marginalized populations at important international advocacy forums. They are also working especially hard to include the voices of young people living with HIV, young LGBTQI people, young men who have sex with men, young people who use drugs, and young people engaged in sex work. Please click here to fill in the questionnaire and share YOUR voice! And please forward to everyone and anyone in your networks—every voice counts. The questionnaire should take no more than 10 or 15 minutes. Please note that the survey is also available in French, Russian, and Spanish, which you can access by clicking on the corresponding language.

Take Part in the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) Consultation to Inform Post-2015 Reports! In partnership with the Post-2015 Development Planning Team/Executive Office of the Secretary-General, the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is facilitating a consultation to gather critical analysis from civil society on four post-2015 reports submitted to the Secretary-General:

  1. High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (Post-2015 HLP)
  2. UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
  3. UN Global Compact (UNGC)
  4. UN Development Group (UNDG): The Global Conversation Begins

Civil society is invited to contribute to this online space. The consultation will also include regional teleconferences in four languages (Arabic, English, French, and Spanish) aimed at increasing the analytical contributions from South-based civil society. This is part of UN-NGLS’s strategy to decentralize the debates and deepen substantive engagement with civil society at the regional level. For more information about the regional teleconferences, please see this document. To read more and to provide your feedback to the consultation, please click here.

You Can Also Comment on This Report- The Global Conversation Begins: Emerging Views for a New Development AgendaThe United Nations presents the first findings from an unprecedented global conversation through which people from all over the world have been invited to help Member States shape the future development agenda that will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after their target date at the end of 2015. So far, the United Nations has engaged more than 200,000 people from 189 countries through a mix of digital media, mobile phone applications, conferences, and paper ballot surveys. UN teams in Member States are undertaking special efforts to ensure that groups that are usually absent from participation in global processes – for example, women, indigenous communities, the youth, people with disabilities – are consulted on what they see as priorities for development of their communities. Three priorities for the future development agenda, referred to as ‘the Post-2015 agenda, emerged from the global conversations to date:

  • First, the progress on MDGs should be accelerated and adapted to contemporary challenges, such as growing inequalities within countries and the impact of globalization.
  • Second, the consultations point to the need for a universal agenda to address challenges like environmental degradation, unemployment, and violence.
  • Third, people want to participate, both in the agenda-setting as well as monitoring the progress in implementation of the Post-2015 framework.

To read the full report and to comment, please go click here.

Participate in the Campaign to End Sex Discrimination in Nationality and Citizenship Laws, Equality Now Equality Now’s full report, Campaign to End Sex Discrimination in Nationality and Citizenship Laws, which has been sent to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, documents a wide range of harmful consequences and calls on governments to remove all discrimination against women in passing on their nationality to their husbands and children. It highlights those countries where women do not have the same rights as men to convey their nationality, engendering much hardship for the families concerned. To take action on the campaign, click here. To access the report, click here. 

Tools You Can Use

The World’s Youth 2013 Data Sheet By the Population Reference Bureau Girls and boys in developing countries are enrolling in secondary school in greater numbers than ever before, giving them knowledge and skills for healthy, productive lives. While this is good news, many young people still face challenges to employment, and they must also navigate serious risks to their health, such as smoking, early marriage and childbearing, or having unprotected sex. The World’s Youth 2013 Data Sheet provides a comprehensive portrait of the well-being of youth ages 10 to 24 across the globe, including such indicators as the current and projected size of youth populations, educational enrollments, labor force participation, marriage and fertility, and health risks and behaviors. To read the Data Sheet, click here. To view the Data Sheet PowerPoint, click here. To view the video, click here.  

Women Deliver Resources

By The Lancet The Lancet, a leading global medical journal, published a special theme issue ahead of the 2013 Women Deliver Conference’s call for action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women. The latest issue of The Lancet highlights some of the most current research and views on maternal health. For more information please click here.

The Intersection of Economic Empowerment and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health By the Interagency Youth Working Group Addressing young people’s economic vulnerability has been cited as a promising strategy for improving their sexual and reproductive health. This brief reviews various types of “economic empowerment” approaches, discusses some promising programs and talks about next steps for this relatively new topic of the intersection of economic empowerment and youth sexual and reproductive health. For more information please click here.

The Impact of Discriminatory Social Norms on Adolescent Girls

By Health Behavior in School-aged Children research network, Wikichild, Wikigender, The Department for International Development, ASCD-The Whole Child, the Girl Hub, the Overseas Development Institute, and Plan (UK) This brief summarizes an online discussion on the impacts of discriminatory social norms on adolescent girls. With adolescents making about one sixth of the world’s population, the report’s findings can inform policy and practice to improve the lives of millions of young people. For more information please click here.

Coming Up

World Population Day, July 11, 2013

In 1968, world leaders proclaimed that individuals have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. Forty years later, modern contraception remains out of reach for hundreds of millions of women, men and young people. World Population Day 2013 is an opportunity to reaffirm the right of all people, including young people, to plan their families. Community and youth leaders can organize activities and events to encourage access to voluntary family planning services and contraception for young people and to support young people’s freedom to decide if, when, and how many children to have. When people can plan their families, they can plan their lives. They can plan to beat poverty. They can plan on healthier mothers and children. They can plan to gain greater equality for women. So, plan to support World Population Day this year! There are many ways to raise awareness of the rights of young people to sexual and reproductive health and rights on World Population Day:

  • Organize events to generate widespread attention about the importance of sexual and reproductive health and family planning services that are youth-friendly.
  • Consider inviting local community leaders to an event to help spread the message.
  • Spark discussion with seminars, conferences and debates.
  • Host music, theatre, poster, or essay contests.
  • Work with community groups to create skits that educate others about the importance of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and family planning programs in your community.
  • Blog about it at: http://amplifyyourvoice.org/

To find out more, check out the World Population Day website at: http://www.un.org/en/events/populationday/ You can also read and use materials from UNFPA’s family planning resource kit: http://www.unfpa.org/rh/planning/mediakit/And don’t miss out on the following publications from Advocates that talk about these important issues:


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