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June 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?

AMAZE América Latina Launches in Mexico City!

AMAZE is an initiative of Advocates for Youth, YouthTech Health, and ANSWER, which produces and disseminates funny, informative, and animated sexuality education videos for very young adolescents in the United States and around the world, ages 10-14, along with information and resources for parents and educators. In April, AMAZE América Latina was launched in Mexico City, in collaboration with DKT Mexico and IPPF/WH, along with IPPF affiliate organizations MEXFAM, PROFAMILIA and Iniciativas Sanitarias. Held at the Papalote Museo del Niño, the national children’s museum in Mexico City, about 200 participants attended, including press, colleague organizations working on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and young people, including primary school students.

The panel was moderated by well-known journalist Fernanda Tapia and speakers (in photo above) included:

  • Victoria Fuentes – Executive Director, Mexfam

  • Ana Karina de la Vega – Programs Director, DKT Mexico

  • Nicole Cheetham –International Youth Health and Rights Director, Advocates for Youth

  • Marissa Billowitz – Associate Director Youth, Gender and Rights, IPPF/WHR

  • Karla Sophia Rodríguez – Student

  • Alan Vera – Marketing Director, DKT Mexico>

You can access the AMAZE videos that were formally presented during the launch, which included:

To read about the event, check out these press articles:

You can also watch this television interview on Noticieros Televisa.

To check out AMAZE América Latina, you can go to the AMAZE en español website, theAMAZE en español YouTube playlist, and the AMAZE LATAM FaceBook Page (for parents).

Advocates Attends the 51st Session of the Commission on Population and Development

Also in April, Advocates’ staff and a member of the International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC), Caroline, attended the 51st session of the Commission on Population and Development. This year’s priority theme was “Sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration.” While at the CPD, Caroline and staff advocated for sexual and reproductive health and rights and worked with international coalition partners to report out on UN plenaries and sessions, engage in side events, participate in social media, and coordinate efforts to advocates for progressive language in the outcome document. Unfortunately the U.S. failed to champion sexual and reproductive health and rights at this year’s CPD and member states were unable to come to consensus and adopt a resolution. In this difficult political environment, Advocates is committed to continuing to defend young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and calling out harmful positions taken by the U.S. government that impact their health and well-being domestically and abroad.

Advocates’ New International Youth Leadership Council Members Demand an End to the Global Gag Rule

On May 1st, the two newest members of IYLC, Angela and Katie, headed to Capitol Hill to lobby their representatives on the Global HER Act. The Global HER Act would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule, a harmful piece of legislation that severely impacts the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people in the global south. The IYLC has focused on ending the Global Gag Rule all year, with educating policy makers as one of their most preferred and influential tactics. Katie and Angela met with 6 offices from Kentucky and Connecticut. They did an incredible job educating their Members of Congress and prompting them to make change. Currently, the Global HER Act has 157 cosponsors in the House and 46 in the Senate.

My Voice Counts!

Apply for the UN’s Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative!

The United Nations`Secretary-General Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), managed by the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) has launched another round of its Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative (GYPI). The initiative is an expression of the Fund’s commitment to inclusive peacebuilding, which supports the empowerment of women, the advancement of gender equality, and which recognizes the role of young people as central to its peacebuilding efforts.

Particular preference will be given to innovative proposals addressing a particular peacebuilding challenge, such as:

  • Facilitating women’s and/or young people’s access to decision-making bodies;

  • Innovative ways to integrate gender and/or youth in justice processes;

  • Natural resource management and climate change mitigation;

  • Projects involving the use of social media and innovative technologies.

Proposals may be submitted from: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Yemen.

To find out more, go here. Application scan be submitted between June 1 and 17, 2018 at midnight New York Time. Selected concept notes will then be invited to develop full proposals for final approval by the end of September 2018.

Tools You Can Use

Accelerate progress—sexual and reproductive health and rights for all
By the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

A collaboration of global health, development, and human rights experts from around the world has examined the landscape of evidence on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This seminal report lays out a vision to achieve health, equitable development, and human rights for all. To access the report, go here.

World Contraceptive Use 2018
By the By the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division

Contraceptive prevalence and the unmet need for family planning are key indicators for measuring improvements in access to reproductive health. The data set, World Contraceptive Use 2018, includes country-specific estimates of these and other indicators, based on survey data available as of February 2018. To access the report, go here.

Social and Behavior Change: A critical part of effective family planning programs.
By High Impact Practices in Family Planning (HIPs)

This document provides a general overview of high impact practices pertaining to social and behavior change (SBC), including guiding principles for designing and implementing effective SBC programs. SBC refers to activities or interventions that seek to understand and facilitate change in behaviors and the social norms and environmental determinants that drive them. The overview includes tips for SBC implementation and tools and resources to consider when designing family planning program activities. To access the document, go here.

Policy Paper: Achieving gender equality in education: don’t forget the boys

Achieving gender equality in and through education is central to meeting the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While the emphasis tends to be on the effects of gender norms on girls, this paper puts the spotlight on the less recognized effects of these norms on boys’ schooling, particularly at the secondary level and amongst those from the poorest families. It argues that addressing boys’ disadvantage and disengagement in education is an essential part of a response to the challenge of gender inequality, in education and beyond. To access the article, go here.

Excess under-5 female mortality across India: a spatial analysis using 2011 census data
In the Lancet, Volume 6, No. 6, e650–e658, June 2018

This journal article reports on a study that seeks to estimate excess female under-5 mortality in India’s 35 states and union territories and 640 districts using 2011census data. Findings show that more than 90% of districts had excess under-5 female mortality and that the four largest states in northern India (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh) accounted for two-thirds of this mortality. To access the article, go here.

Care of Girls & Women Living with Female Genital Mutilation: A Clinical Handbook

This handbook is for health care providers involved in the care of girls and women who have been experienced any form of female genital cutting/mutilation. This includes obstetricians and gynecologists, surgeons, general medical practitioners, midwives, nurses and other country-specific health professionals. This clinical handbook is based on the WHO Guidelines on the management of health complications from female genital mutilation, 2016. To access the handbook, go here.

The 2015-2016 Global Resources Report: Philanthropic & Government Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Communities
By the Global Philanthropy Project and Funders for LGBTQ Issues

This is the most comprehensive report to date on the state of foundation and government funding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) issues. It captures data on 12,964 grants awarded by 511 foundations, intermediaries, and corporations and by 15 government and multilateral agencies over the two-year period of 2015-2016. The report also provides a detailed snapshot of LGBTI funding in each of the following regions: Asia & The Pacific; Canada & the United States; Eastern Europe, Russia, & Central Asia; Latin America & the Caribbean; the Middle East & North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; and Western Europe. To access the article, go here.

Unity in Diversity, A Case Study on the Achievements, Good Practices and Lessons Learned from the Consortium of MSM and Transgender Networks
By the MSMGF

The Consortium is an international partnership consisting of ten regional and global networks of advocates which are dedicated to the sexual health and human rights needs of men who have sex with men and transgender people in the global HIV epidemic response. This report describes the Consortium’s good practices and lessons learned. It is framed around the Consortium’s eight key achievements in the areas HIV, sexual health and human rights. To access the article, go here.

Read All About It!

Argentine women see legal abortion closer than ever. Pushed by a wave of demonstrations by women’s groups, the homeland of Pope Francis seems closer than ever to legalizing abortion. The protests and shifting public opinion have led conservative President Mauricio Macri to call for Congress to launch a debate on a broader legalization of abortion in Argentina, which currently allows the procedure only in cases of rape or risks to the mother’s health. To read this article, go here.

As teenagers die, Zimbabwean lawmakers call for abortion reform. When her 15-year-old daughter fell pregnant last year, Irene Ndlovu secretly arranged for an abortion before the pregnancy became visible so that she could continue with her education. Abortions are only allowed in Zimbabwe if a woman’s life is in danger, if there is a risk that the child will be “seriously handicapped” or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. Those who break the law can be jailed for five years. To read this article, go here.

Discrimination kills 230,000 girls under five in India each year, study shows. Hundreds of thousands of young girls in India die every year because of “invisible discrimination”, according to research published in the Lancet Global Health. Researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis estimate an average of 239,000 girls under five in India die each year, or 2.4 million in a decade, because of their gender. To read this article, go here.

India teen fights for life after being raped, set on fire: police. An Indian girl is battling for her life after allegedly being raped and set ablaze in the eastern state of Jharkhand, police said, days after another teenager was burned to death in the same state. The 16-year-old suffered first-degree burns to 70 percent of her body after being set on fire in a village in the Pakur district of Jharkhand on Friday, police said. To read this article, go here.

Pakistan passes landmark transgender rights law. Activists laud move by Pakistan’s parliament as new law accords transgender citizens right to self-identify. Pakistan’s parliament has passed a law guaranteeing basic rights for transgender citizens and outlawing discrimination by both employers and private business owners, a move hailed by activists as “historic” for the conservative South Asian country. To read this article, go here.

Breaking down barriers to healthcare access for transgender people in Argentina. Nadir Cardozo proudly displays her ID card. Nadir is a transgender woman, and since Argentina passed the Gender Identity Law in 2012, she and others have had the right to have their personal documents issued with the name and gender of their choice. This measure has enabled many women like Nadir, who once shied away from visiting a health center for fear of ridicule and discrimination, to do so and take care of her health. To read this article, go here.

New masculinities: meet Uganda’s transgender men fighting sexism. Shawn, a young transgender man, was sitting in a public minibus in the Ugandan capital, when an old schoolmate boarded and started loudly calling him by his former female name, astounding other passengers in the conservative east African nation. The conductor then attempted to lock Shawn in the vehicle so that everyone could ‘check’ if he was male or female. 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: http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/

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

  • An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home.

  • Among them are nearly 22.5 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.

  • Approximately 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution.

  • 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.

  • 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: http://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html

  • Learn more about young people and women refugees, here: https://www.womensrefugeecommission.org

  • 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: http://www.unhcr.org/refugeeday/

  • Invite a 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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