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June 2015 iYAN Newsletter

Advocates for Youth Newsletter

June 2015

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 contributes to elevating discussion about menstrual hygiene management.

In collaboration with the DC Coalition for Menstrual Hygiene and THINX, an underwear company that supplies menstruation kits to young women in Uganda, Advocates co-hosted an event in Washington, DC, on Menstrual Hygiene Management Day to raise awareness about the stigma and challenges that girls face just because they menstruate and solutions that can make a difference. Check out the articles and blog posts below that talk about menstrual hygiene management and let’s keep the conversation going!

Advocates trains teacher trainers from East and Southern Africa for pre-service teacher training on sexuality education. As part of efforts to support the development and implementation of comprehensive sexuality education in East and Southern Africa, in collaboration with UNESCO and UNFPA, Advocates has developed a pre-service teacher training module on sexuality education to support teacher trainings in the region. Advocates tested the module in Uganda last year and traveled to South Africa earlier this month to conduct a regional pre-test by training 25 teacher trainers from 10 countries within East and Southern Africa.

The module includes sessions on: adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights in Southern and East Africa; sexuality education benefits, outcomes, challenges, myths and the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education; adolescent development; sexuality; exploration of values; teaching methodologies and activities on reproductive anatomy and physiology, puberty, pregnancy, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, stigma and discrimination and people living with HIV/AIDS, gender, relationships, decision-making, child marriage, peer pressure, and communication skills; classroom management; application and practice; and understanding policy and procedures.

Participants included teacher trainers from South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. Feedback from the trainers was positive and affirming of the training strategy and content. One of the main concerns raised was related to the length of the module and how it would likely need to be delivered in portions rather than all at once. As the module is laid out by sessions with indications of time required for each activity, however, participants felt that it would be easy for trainers to deliver the module across available time periods for teacher training. Participants also expressed interest in securing support to advocate for use of the module and developed action plans for replication and integration of the module within existing pre-service teacher training frameworks at the university level.

Lastly, some participants also expressed interest in making the module available in additional language. Where possible, UNESCO and UNFPA will be providing support through their in-country offices to these efforts to advocate, replicate, and institutionalize the training, in addition to seeking support for translation of the final material. Advocates will also continue to support these efforts in the region in collaboration with UNESCO and UNFPA and will be making final adjustments to the module based on this second pre-test.

My Voice Counts!

Join the Girl Rising Campaign! Girl Rising is a global campaign for girls’ education. They use the power of storytelling through film to share the simple truth that educating girls can transform societies. Girl Rising unites girls, women, boys and men who believe every girl has the right to go to school and the right to reach her full potential.

Join the Girl Rising community and become a champion for girls’ education. Use your voice and talent to help us create meaningful change: spread the message, raise funds, and rally your community to advocate for policies supporting girls’ education.

To find out more about the campaign, go here.

Coming up

World Population Day, July 11, 2015. 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 still remains out of reach for women and girls in developing countries where as many as 222 million women have an unmet need for contraception.

World Population Day 2015 is an opportunity to reaffirm the right of all people, including young people, to decide if, when, and how many children to have. Community and youth leaders can organize activities and events to encourage access to comprehensive sexuality education and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services. The theme of this year’s World Population Day is Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies.

There are many ways to raise awareness about the rights of young people to access contraception and sexual and reproductive health services on World Population Day:

  • Organize events to generate widespread attention about the importance of sexual and reproductive health 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 the importance of access to contraception and services.
  • Blog about it at: http://amplifyyourvoice.org/

To find out more, check out the World Population Day website.

And check out on the following publications from Advocates that talk about these important issues:

Tools You Can Use

Evidence in Action: Effective Community-Led HIV Interventions for GMT Individuals by amfAR. In conjunction with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia (IDAHOT), which took place on May 17th, amfAR launched a new report documenting findings from a three-year project examining the effectiveness of community-led HIV interventions for gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and/or transgender individuals (collectively, GMT) in Africa, the Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin Am

The report profiles the successes and challenges experienced by nine of the organizations during their projects and offers recommendations for scaling-up such interventions throughout the world.

The report is available in English and Spanish here.

The State of the World’s Fathers by the MenCare Campaign. The world’s first-ever report on the State of the World’s Fathers provides a global view of -the state of men’s contribution to parenting and care-giving around the world. Around 80 percent of the world’s men and boys will become fathers in their lifetime and virtually all men have at least some connection to children in care-giving relationships. Yet despite this, engaging men in care-giving is only just beginning to find its way onto the global gender equality agenda.

This report is intended to provide a periodic, data-driven snapshot of the state of men’s contributions to parenting and care-giving globally by addressing four issues related to fatherhood: unpaid care work in the home; sexual and reproductive health and rights, and maternal, newborn and child health; men’s care-giving and violence against children and women; and child development. It defines a global agenda for involving men and boys as part of the solution to achieve gender equality and positive outcomes in the lives of women, children, and men themselves.

To access the report, go here.

To access the report summary, go here.

Scaling up Evidence-Informed HIV Prevention for Adolescent Girls and Young Women by various partners.

Adolescents are a critical priority in HIV prevention programming. Today, 1.8 billion young people ages 10–24 comprise 25 percent of the world’s population. Young women are especially vulnerable, with HIV infection rates nearly twice as high as those for young men.

This brief offers priority interventions for programmers based on evidence from successful programming for women and girls; though a number of the interventions listed also benefit men and boys. The brief is divided into three parts: evidence-informed priority areas for programming; implementation and research gaps that must be addressed; and considerations for scaling up successful programming for girls and young women.

To access the brief in English, French, Spanish or KiSwhahili, go here:

English | KiSwhahili | French | Spanish

Negotiation briefs: Achieving youth needs on HIV and SRHR in the Post-2015 agenda by the PACT. A series of Post 2015 negotiation briefs developed to provide youth with the necessary tools to advocate for a Post-2015 global development agenda that is committed to HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The documents seek offer insight into the current state of these issues at the United Nations, regional processes and in the sustainable development discussions, and include guidance on common indicator language.

The Post 2015 negotiation briefs cover the following topics:

  • Comprehensive Sexuality Education
  • Drug-related Harm Reduction
  • Youth and HIV
  • Mental Health
  • SRHR
  • Social and Political Determinants of Health
  • Youth Engagement and Accountability Mechanisms
  • Youth Friendly Services in Universal Health Coverage
  • To access the briefs, available in English, Russian and French, go here.

Let’s Start the Conversation about Menstruation by Menstrualhygieneday.org. 

Even if Menstrual Hygiene Management Day is past (May 28), this does not mean that efforts to break stigma around menstruation and advocate for policies that let girls manage their periods safely should stop. Check out this infographic from the campaign that provides information about what is needed versus what the reality is for girls globally related to facilities, information about reproductive anatomy, puberty and menstruation, hygiene materials and disposal options, as well as persisting taboos that fuel stigma and discrimination of girls and women during menstruation.

Read All About It!

LGBT people suffer widespread violent abuse, discrimination: new UN report. The United Nations human rights chief has said in a new report that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people are victims of “pervasive violent abuse, harassment and discrimination” in all regions of the world and cites hundreds of hate-related killings.

To read this article, go here.

WHO expands list of recommended birth control options. The World Health Organization on Monday added a series of long-acting, hormonal contraceptives to the list of globally recommended birth control methods, which will significantly reduce mothers’ risk of dying during childbirth, experts say.

The WHO’s guidelines relax restrictions on the use of hormonal methods for breastfeeding women who are less than six weeks postpartum, according to researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

To read this article, go here.

Nigeria’s ban on female genital mutilation is a big win for women’s rights In a move welcomed as a step in the right direction by international advocates, outgoing Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has signed a bill officially banning the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). The Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015, which was passed by the Nigerian Senate earlier in May, also will prevent men from leaving their families without proving financial support, according to Reuters.

To read this article, go here.

Kenya: 80 Percent of Girls Cannot Afford Sanitary Pads – Survey Over eighty per cent of girls in the country still cannot afford to buy sanitary pads.

A survey done by Proctor and Gamble and Heart Education, 42 per cent of girls interviewed did not use sanitary towels during their menses.

The girls said they used other alternatives such as blankets, rags, mattress pieces, handkerchiefs, tissues paper and cotton wool because sanitary towels are expensive.

To read this article, go here.

Ghana: Use of Concoction for Abortion High Among Girls The Chronicle has gathered that most girls at the basic school level at Atronie, Antwikrom and Atuahenekrom in the Sunyani Municipality prefer the use of various concoctions to terminate pregnancies, rather than attending health facilities to have safe abortions.

To read this article, go here.

Child marriage a form of slavery: African Union goodwill ambassador. Child marriage should be seen as a form of modern slavery and is tantamount to sanctioning child rape, the African Union’s goodwill ambassador said at a conference on ending the practice.

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda said child marriage inflicted life-long trauma on many girls and far more must be done to address its psychosocial impact.

To read this article, go here.

Struggle to end child marriages in rural India. The day Santa Devi Meghwal turned 16, she began trotting out excuses to her parents: “I need to finish next year’s exam. I am not feeling well. Let’s wait till after Diwali. Let me lose a bit of weight.”

For three years, she put off the inevitable – going to the home of the man she was married to when she was just 11 months old.

To read this article, go here.

Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council rejects “Gay Propaganda” bill. Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council has thrown out a Russian-style bill that would ban “propagandizing non-traditional sexual orientation” to minors. The bill passed Kazakhstan’s Senate in February but had not yet been signed into law by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

To read this article, go here.


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