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June 2017 iYAN Newsletter

Advocates for Youth Newsletter



JUNE 2017 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 and SPEAK Kenya Launch Second Year of Community Mobilization Project for Sexuality Education and Reproductive Health and Rights

Last year, Advocates launched a new program in partnership with Supporting Primary Education Across Kenya (SPEAK Kenya) to support community mobilization and initial capacity building of teachers for sexuality education. The need for teacher training and the taboo nature of issues related to sexuality and sexual and reproductive health were recently highlighted in a report by the Guttmacher Institute, which describes the findings of research conducted in 2015 in Nairobi, Mombasa and Homa Bay counties. We are therefore excited to be able to continue this important work in partnership with SPEAK Kenya that will build on the program’s momentum and stakeholder support garnered since 2016.

Action plan review sessions in schools

Due to interest within the community and stakeholders at the county level, Advocates and SPEAK will be working with 4 more primary schools than last year, for a total of 18. SPEAK has also recruited and trained six new youth advocates ages 18- 24 who are residents of Suba south sub-County in Homa Bay County. They will lead efforts to raise awareness about the importance of sexuality education in their communities and support the designated schools that serve them through partnerships established by the program with the schools and implementation of action plans.

In addition, Advocates and SPEAK are pleased to thank collaborators from Iceland who donated sanitary pad packets, which have been provided to schools, contributing to a decline in absenteeism among girl students as well as children’s clubs dedicating a day-long public talk on sexuality education, including discussion of menstrual hygiene management.

Advocates’ International Youth Activist Network Alum Launches Global Website for LGBTI Youth

Stephen Chukwumah is an international youth, sexual health and human rights activist from Nigeria. He is a former fellow of the Center for Applied Human Rights at the University of York and is an alum of Advocates for Youth’s International Youth Activist Network. Inspired by the need that he was seeing within LGBTI youth communities across many countries, Stephen began developing a virtual space dedicated to providing LGBTI young people with a broad range of resources and opportunities. Stephen has since launched Opportunity Point —an opportunity discovery platform for LGBTI and other sexual minority youths around the world. It serves as a safe space for the distribution of information on diverse opportunities and as a forum for conversation on issues affecting young people in the community.

Check it out and share it with your friends! You can go to the website: www.opportunitypoint.org and the facebook page here: Opportunity Point for Queer and Minority Youths.

My Voice Counts!

Apply for a Scholarship to Attend the One Young World Summit 2017 in October in Bogota, Colombia

This year the Johnson & Johnson Global Community Impact Group is collaborating with One Young World to offer scholarships to eight inspiring young leaders to attend the One Young World Summit 2017 in Bogotá, Colombia. If you work for or are involved with a non-governmental organization, social enterprise, community based organization, or you are an individual making an impact through health or care giving, then this scholarship is for you. As well as attending the upcoming 2017 One Young World Summit, scholarship recipients will potentially receive access to mentoring from Johnson & Johnson executives and employees.

Applicants must be between the ages of 18-30 and the deadline to apply is June 19th. To find out more about One Young World, go here.

For more information about the Johnson and Johnson scholarship program, go here.

Apply to Astraea’s International Fund for LGBTQI Communities Working for Progressive Social Change

Astraea’s International Fund supports groups, projects and organizations led by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) communities working for progressive social change and addressing oppression based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Grants range from $7,000 (minimum) – $20,000 (maximum), and average grant size is $10,000. Astrea prioritizes funding to groups that are led by and targeted to the most historically marginalized LGBTQI communities. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2017.

For more information, go here.

Tools You Can Use

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Very Young Adolescents Aged 10–14 in Developing Countries: What Does the Evidence Show?
By Vanessa Woog andAnna Kågesten, the Guttmacher Institute

This new report examines and contributes to the existing evidence on the sexual and reproductive health needs of very young adolescents in developing countries. The report includes a new analysis of data on sexual debut, marriage and childbearing before age 15 from national surveys conducted in more than 100 developing countries. Drawing on these data and published literature, the report maps out ways to advance efforts to meet young adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health needs. To read this report, go here.

Youth Family Planning Policy Scorecard: Measuring: Measuring Commitment to Effective Policy and Program Interventions
By the Population Reference Bureau

This scorecard was designed for users to quickly assess the extent to which a country’s policy environment enables and supports youth access to and use of family planning through the promotion of evidence-based practices. The scorecard can be used by governments, donors, and advocates to not only evaluate a country’s youth family planning policy environment but also to set policy priorities, guide future commitments, and compare policy environments across countries. The current version of the scorecard includes data for sixteen countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sindh (Pakistan), Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. To access the scorecard report, go here.


Country Briefs on Menstrual Hygiene Management
By Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020

A new set of briefs on menstrual hygiene management feature data from the state of Rajasthan in India as well as country-level data from Ghana, Kenya and Indonesia, reflecting information gathered from surveys of women ages 15 – 49 . These briefs offer a one-page snapshot of how menstrual hygiene is managed and the environments in which women and girls manage their menstruation. To access the briefs go here: Rajasthan: in English and Hindi | Ghana: in English | Kenya: in English | Indonesia: in English and Bahasa

Country briefs on Increasing Access to Contraceptive Information and Services for First-Time Mothers in Akwa, Nigeria and Shinyanga District, Tanzania
By the Evidence to Action (E2A) Project

These briefs describe the interventions implemented in Nigeria and Tanzania as part of an E2A program that trained Community Health Extension Workers to provide implants and injectables at health facilities. These programs have shown that these types of targeted interventions for first-time mothers can reduce social isolation and increase knowledge of and access to sexual and reproductive health and family planning services. To access the briefs, go here.

Nigeria: PDF | Tanzania: PDF


Mainstreaming Youth-Friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in the Public Sector in Mozambique and Tanzania
By Pathfinder International

This technical brief explores how youth-friendly services were mainstreamed within public sector facilities and communities supported by Pathfinder International’s cross-country project, MAIS Qualidade, Acesso, Saúde in Mozambique, and Chaguo la Maisha in Tanzania (January 2015 to December 2017). The brief examines project findings—including a significant shift in method mix towards LARC uptake—and offers recommendations for future youth-friendly services programming. To access the brief, go here.

How LGBTIQ Activists Can Develop a High Impact Education Strategy, the GALE Committee Guide
By Peter Dankmeijer

This new guide for LGBTIQ NGOs focuses on how to engage with the education sector and education systems. The key message of the guide is to create a cooperation between NGOs, the government and the education sector. The guide offers a rough situation analysis and broad suggestions for denying, ambiguous and supportive contexts of LGBTIQ rights. To access the guide, here.


Read All About It!

W.H.O. Elects Ethiopia’s Tedros as First Director General From Africa. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia was voted director general of the World Health Organization on Tuesday, the first African ever to head the agency. The election was the first conducted by the W.H.O. under more open and democratic rules. After nearly two years of public campaigning, originally by six candidates, the voting took place in a closed-door session in which the health ministers of 186 countries cast their ballots in secret. To read the article, go here.

Tampons that care: helping girls across the world to end ‘shame of periods.Menstruation is getting its moment: there have been tampon selfies, tampon tax campaigns around the world, and even a day dedicated to menstrual hygiene. Now, a growing crop of companies is promising consumers they can help bring sanitary products to women who cannot afford them. To read this article, go here.

Latin America neglects human trafficking survivors – experts. Tens of thousands of women and children across Latin America are trafficked every year, yet few receive the support they need to rebuild their lives and conviction rates for the crime remain extremely low, rights experts said on Tuesday. They told a conference hosted by the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) that victims of trafficking often face severe trauma and low self-esteem, and need long-term psychological care, job skills training, and access to healthcare and education to recover. To read this article, go here.

Family honour, more than money, fuels child marriage in West Africa. Pregnant and abandoned by the father of her unborn child despite his promises of marriage, 16-year-old Coumba did not think her plight could get any worse – until she told her family. “My mother said she regretted that I was ever born,” the teenager told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an empty classroom of a secondary school in the Senegalese city of Thies. To read this article, go here.

‘Risking lives of mothers and children’: India condemned for cuts to benefits. Campaigners have warned that the lives of mothers and children are at risk after an Indian government scheme that pays women to receive maternal healthcare throughout their pregnancy was amended to apply only to first-borns. The programme was introduced in 2010 to help stem India’s high rates of infant and maternal mortality. An estimated 38 children die for every 1,000 live births, and 55,000 women die of preventable pregnancy-related causes each year. To read this article, go here.

Taiwan’s same-sex marriage ruling could cement its place as Asia’s liberal beacon. Chi Chia-wei will find out on Wednesday if his decades long fight to make Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage has been a success. Chi, 59, a pioneering Taiwanese gay rights activist, is the celebrated face behind one of the most controversial legal cases the island democracy has seen in recent years, where 14 judges must rule if the civil code, which states that marriage is between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. To read this article, go here.


World Refugee Day, June 20

In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 20th as World Refugee Day to recognize and celebrate the contribution of refugees throughout the world. Since then, World Refugee Day has become an annual commemoration marked by a variety of events in over a hundred countries. To read about the day, go here.

Sadly, seventeen years later we are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record:

• An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home.
• Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
Today, approximately 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day as a result of conflict or persecution.
• UNHCR estimates that the average length of major protracted refugee situations at the end of 2015 was about 26 years, most of which (23) have lasted for more than 20 years.
• Refugees constitute one of the most difficult populations to reach with health prevention and care services. In most cases, armed conflict leads to the formation of large groups of refugees. When conflict subjects civilian refugees to food shortage, displacement, and poverty, a “complex emergency” is often the result. The combination of these factors increases the risk to refugees of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS.
• Typically, reproductive and sexual health risks are greater under crisis conditions, which coincide with limited access to reproductive and sexual health information and services.
• Young women and girls are commonly targeted in armed conflict; however, their special needs are frequently overlooked or ignored.

Here are some ways you can commemorate the day:

• Get updated on the latest data by going to UNHCR’s web site here.
• Learn more about young people and women refugees, here.
• Show your support by adding your name to the #WithRefugees petition to send a clear message to governments that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility in support of refugees by going here.
• Invite a former refugee to speak at your school, church, and community center to share their experiences.
• Volunteer at a local refugee resettlement agency to help newly arrived refugees.
• Set up a World Refugee Day discussion at your home, place of worship, or community center.
• Wear light blue (the international color of UN Aid workers) on World Refugee Day (June 20) and talk to friends about why you are wearing blue that day.


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