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
This Month’s Blogs from our International Year of Youth journalists
“Win-win opportunities that improves the lives of young people” (Leo, Philippines
To watch the video, click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/leovlauzon/2011/1/7/Kathleen-Mogelgaard–Message
This video provides a message from Kathleen Mogelgaard, who works for the Climate Change Initiative at Population Action International. Kathleen attended last month’s UN Climate Change conference in Cancun, Mexico.
A blog and video from Roli in India on “Cancun and US on November 2010 Session”
Cancun reminds one of sand, sea and clean air as well as sunny beaches, lazy days and sex!
So here we were in the land of sunny beaches in the middle of our winter and their warm days to participate in the Youth pre-conference of COP 16. On 27thNovember, 2010 we did a session on the connections of climate change and sexual, reproductive and health rights. We were scared. In the midst of all climate activists we were small in number and were not sure of how welcome our talk would be, since population is a taboo topic at such meetings.
To watch the video and read the rest of the blog, click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/bookfreak
“Protect Lesbian and Gay Jamaicans from Violence” (Jaevion, Jamaica)
The issue of violence meted out against persons who are known or perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and to a lesser extent transgender is not uncommon to Jamaicans. Scores of headlines in daily news and other print tabloids often sensationalize the death or beating of homosexuals, especially men.
Since 1997, more than thirty persons have been murdered because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Reports suggest that between 2007 and 2009, sixty-seven males and twelve females reported homophobic discrimination and violent incidents to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays (J-FLAG). Many may recall the father who in 2004 found naked pictures of men in his son’s bag, brought him to school and sanctioned his son’s classmates to beat him. In that same year, Brian Williamson, a gay rights activist, was murdered at his home in St Andrew. The Hated to Death report (by Human Rights Watch) reports that his murder was not thoroughly investigated by the police. His death was seen as another crime of passion by other members of the gay community in Jamaica. In 2009, John Terry, former British Consular was violently killed at his home in Montego Bay, St James.
To read the entire blog, click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/Jaevion/2010/12/16/Protect-Lesbian–Gay-Jamaicans-from-Violence
“Sport as a tool for sex education” (Abongwa, Cameroon)
When you walk around Mendankwe, a small enchanting village in the North West Region of Cameroon, you find young boys and girls engaged in one game or another. This is a community where sport is held at a very high esteem. Sport to the members of this community generally evokes a feeling of belonging, togetherness, team spirit, dependence on one another and trust.
It was in this light therefore that Youth Outreach Programme (YOP) Cameroon decided to use sport as a tool to bring young people together. While having fun these young people also get a chance to discuss issues of sexual reproductive health and rights.
To read more of “Sport as a tool for sex education, click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/papavic/2010/12/20/SPORT-AS-A-TOOL-FOR-SEX-EDUCATION
“Children of the street” (Taonga, Zambia)
Fften refered to as ‘Street Kids’, these children are ignored and abused. The policy makers often say ,’we take a holistic approach to respond to HIV/AIDS with all vulnerable groups of society’. But very few people pay attention to this particular vulnerable group.
I had the chance to chat with my friend Mwape, a 13 year old boy who took to the streets because both his parents died and his grandmother too old to take care of him so he lives off begging.
To read the rest of “Children of the street,” click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/Zee23/2011/1/12/Children-of-The-Street
What’s New at Advocates for Youth?
Meet YUWA, our new partner organization in Nepal
YUWA is a not-for-profit, youth-led organization working to promote youth participation through empowerment and advocacy. YUWA was born in 2005 out of a group of committed youth, working in various social sectors. In 2009, YUWA registered with the Nepalese Government as an official NGO. The initial focus of YUWA was to develop leadership skills among youth to advocate for change. Today, YUWA’s vision is: a situation whereby youth, as indispensible change agents, are valued partners in decision making at all levels. YUWA’s mission is to empower youth to participate in global issues, engage in sustainable and intergenerational partnerships, and advocate for greater youth participation at all levels.
The word “YUWA” has its root in the Nepali language and refers to youth. True to its meaning, YUWA’s decision-makers include youth between the ages of 16 to 27. However, YUWA also aims to create youth-adult partnerships. YUWA is committed to working with and for youth regardless of their origin, area, ethnicity, race, religion or political beliefs. YUWA believes in and maintains “unity in diversity” and “diversity in unity.”
Since its formal establishment, YUWA has concentrated on holistic youth issues and works in five thematic areas: active citizenship; sexual reproductive health & rights and HIV & AIDS; environment & sustainable development; economic initiation & innovation; and global information access. Given its strong networking capacity, good leadership, and youth friendly environment, YUWA provides an important platform for youth to explore themselves and to discuss and act on global and local issues.
Note from YUWA to the International Youth Activist Network
As YUWA is continuously advocating for solutions with meaningful youth involvement, we are very hopeful that our partnership with Advocates’ on the International Youth Speak Out (iYSO) project will elevate our advocacy efforts one step further. We are driven to help build a new generation of leaders to advocate on issues of our generation and solutions that are youth-relevant. YUWA will actively work to bring together various youth activists under a single platform of a Youth Activist Leadership Council, which will strengthen advocacy for sexual and reproductive health and rights issues through formal and informal youth groups and activities in order to achieve universal access to reproductive health. This partnership will help maximize our advocacy efforts and disseminate information through local media and new technologies. YUWA will also be educating the public on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues and policies, including HIV/AIDS and related issues though peer information sharing and youth friendly activities like music, new media, and mass media campaigns. Lastly, council members will also work to influence U.S. foreign policy so as to increase funding for international family planning and the prioritization of reproductive health within existing U.S. global initiatives and/or emerging policies.
YUWA believes that we have just laid the stone and hopeful that our mutual and collaborative efforts, with Advocates for Youth and the International Youth Activist Network, can enable us to build house of rights, respect, and responsibilities in Nepal.
Advocates conducts youth-friendly services training with Education as a Vaccine in Akwanga, Nigeria
Located in Nassarawa State, Akwanga is a rural town located about two hours east of Abuja. Akwanga is the site of a program spearheaded by Advocates for Youth and Education as a Vaccine (EVA) to improve access to reproductive health services for youth. In January, EVA and Advocates’ staff conducted a youth-friendly services training for a total of 35 health workers from public and private clinics, as well as two pharmacies that serve the area. This training immediately followed a training for a total of 40 EVA peer educators who will be working closely with the service-providers to educate young people not only about sexual and reproductive health, but also about their rights as clients for sexual and reproductive health services and access to contraception.
The peer educators will provide referrals to the youth-friendly health workers and where possible, the health workers will coordinate community-based events with the peer educators in order to raise awareness about their services and demystify the process of seeking care. Advocates and EVA are also developing two educational brochures—one for youth and one for health workers, which outline client rights as well as information on what to expect during a clinic visit, contact information for youth-friendly providers and components of youth-friendly services.
Advocates and the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN) conduct a youth advocacy training for JYAN’s national youth council
As a part of the International Youth Speak Out project, Advocates, in collaboration with Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN), hosted a three-day residential training in January in Kingston, Jamaica to build the capacity of a national youth leadership council, Jamaicans Safely Tackling Adolescent Reproductive Health (JSTAR), working together to advocate for better policies in Jamaica that support young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
The training brought in key speakers highlighting national policies on SRHR and skills regarding public speaking and messaging, videography and new media strategies. In addition, local community leaders from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) community and young people living with HIV/AIDS (YPLWHA) presented the priority issues and how the council can collaborate in the future. Advocates staff presented on campus organizing, US foreign policy and international advocacy opportunities.
By the end of the training, the council created an action plan of activities to be implemented throughout the year. Some activities include:
Developing a publication called “Good Practices in providing SRH including HIV/AIDS Services for Youth in Jamaica” that includes research framed to inform policy and programming at the national, regional and international levels by creating a profile for youth-friendly pharmacies and clinics.
Writing a policy brief that includes recommendations for the Jamaican country delegation to negotiate at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June in New York City. The policy brief will be disseminated to members of the delegation in Jamaica and presented by Advocates and JYAN in New York.
Hosting a campus tour in September visiting four parishes/regions in Jamaica: Mandeville, St. Ann, Montego Bay and Kingston. The tour will include video screenings, Q&A, and participating in an action that will support the council’s advocacy efforts.
Organizing at least twelve meetings with policy makers to (1) present the research findings of the council and (2) advocate for increased funding and support for sexual and reproductive health services for youth. These meetings are aimed at reinforcing the importance of and the need for substantial budgetary support for youth-specific policies.
Following the training, council members attended meetings with various organizations including Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, Eve for Life, AED/C-Change Project and JFLAG. In addition, two of the council members facilitated an advocacy training with a student leadership organization of approximately 30 students on the University of the West Indies-Mona campus.
Check out the council members presenting their action plan for the year:
Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council Starts a New Semester and Welcomes Two New Members!
Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC) started out a new semester of work with a total of 9 members from Washington, DC-area universities, including American University, Georgetown University, The George Washington University, and the University of Maryland College Park. Advocates for Youth is especially pleased to welcome our two newest IYLC members this semester—Makda from University of Maryland College Park and Meredith from George Washington University.
The IYLC will be adjusting to the new political climate after the U.S. mid-term elections, whereby many decision-makers who were supportive of sexual and reproductive health and rights have been replaced by leaders who are hostile to global health and/or the notion of Rights. Respect. Responsibility.® for youth. The IYLC will nonetheless hold steadfast to its vision and work to defend previous increases in international family planning that are now threatened; support efforts to prevent future reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy; otherwise known as the Global Gag Rule; protect funding for UNFPA; support the re-introduction of legislation that authorizes U.S. assistance to support comprehensive sexual and reproductive health programming for youth and discourage traditional harmful practices such as child marriage; and advocate for the prioritization of youth sexual and reproductive health and rights within the Global Health Initiative, United States Agency for International Development programming, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
The IYLC will also be actively engaged in upcoming 2011 United Nations Meetings, including the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Population and Development, the High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, and the International Year of Youth Conference. Members will also continue to organize events on their campuses to educate peers about U.S. foreign policy and actively blog and vlog about sexual and reproductive health issues on amplifyyourvoice.org.
Tools You Can Use
Check out Guttmacher Institute’s new International Data Center!
Allows Users to Create Customized Tables, Graphs and Maps with the Most Current Data Available from 75 Countries and 22 World Regions
The Guttmacher Institute announces the launch of its new International Data Center. This new tool allows researchers, advocates, policymakers, journalists and others working on reproductive health issues at the international level to build, download and print custom tables, graphs and maps using the most current information available from a wide range of countries and regions.
The International Data Center includes country and regional level data, which the user can compare and customize to meet his or her needs. The available data include:
- safe and unsafe abortion rates;
- ntended and unintended pregnancy rates;
- maternal health care provision;
- contraceptive use and unmet need for family planning; and
- reproductive health indicators for adolescents.
- It is an easy-to-use tool that allows the user to find, display, download or print information and to:
- create tables, comparing up to 10 measures, for up to 75 countries or 22 world regions;
- map indicators related to adolescents, contraception and pregnancy across countries; and
- generate country profiles of all available indicators.
Population Council’s “Girl-Centered Program Design: A Toolkit to Develop, Strengthen and Expand Adolescent Girls Programs
The Population Council’s publication, “Girl-Centered Program Design: A Toolkit to Develop, Strengthen and Expand Adolescent Girls Programs, ” is a user-friendly, practical toolkit contains best practices, critical questions and step by step guidance on a comprehensive array of issues relevant to girls program design. The content is drawn from a three-year program that brought together various girls program practitioners in Kenya to discuss various elements of program design, as well as the collective wisdom of the Council’s long history of work with adolescent girls programs.
As they make the transition from childhood to adulthood, adolescent girls face poorer health outcomes, are more likely to become infected with HIV, become more socially isolated, are less likely to attend secondary school or to complete it, and have fewer income-generating opportunities than boys. In addition, general programs for youth can fail to adequately reach adolescent girls. In order to reach them, programs must be designed with adolescent girls as the target audience – this toolkit will help you do just that!
“Girl Centered Program Design” is meant for those interested in working with adolescent girls ages 10–24. It can be used by anyone who is designing or running a program, someone writing a proposal to work with girls, or staff working directly with girls who need fresh ideas on how to strengthen program activities. It can be used by people who are starting to work with girls in a targeted way for the first time, or those who already have a girls program but are trying to strengthen or expand it.
The toolkit has three main sections: the first focuses on structure, the second on content, and the third on monitoring and evaluation. Within each chapter is an introduction to the topic, examples from existing programs for girls, and practical, user-friendly tools.
The toolkit is available on the web at www.popcouncil.org/2010AdolGirlsToolkit.
In addition the tools are available as word documents so that they can be easily adapted and used. If you are interested in hard copies, or a CD version, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNAIDS Tools for Data Collection, Reporting and Analysis
UNAIDS and partners have recently developed a wide range of tools for data-collection, reporting, and analysis including guidance on monitoring and evaluation and improved tools on HIV/AIDS epidemiology, demography and social impact.
Check out a brief description of each tool below:
Monitoring and evaluation guidance and tools: A series of introductory and expert guidelines and tools for individuals and organizations involved in monitoring and evaluation on HIV/AIDS.
To learn more, click here: http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/tools/monitoringandevaluationguidanceandtools/
Estimation and Projection Package: The Estimation and Projection Package (EPP) is used to estimate and project adult HIV prevalence and incidence from existing surveillance data, such as HIV prevalence among pregnant women, as well as data from national population-based surveys. EPP is then used to fit a simple epidemic model to the data.
To learn more, click here: http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/tools/estimationandprojectionpackageepp/
Spectrum: Spectrum is a suite of models (DemProj, FamPlan, AIM, RAPID, Ben-Cost, NewGen, PMTCT, ProTrain, and SupplyPlan). Essentially, Spectrum is a computer software program that makes HIV/AIDS projections and examines the demographic and social impacts of AIDS. Each tool includes a detailed user manual that describes how to use the software and includes sections on data sources, interpreting and using the results, a tutorial, and a description of the methodology.
To review the various manuals, look under ‘Spectrum’ here: http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/tools/
Workbook Method: The workbook method is a spreadsheet used to estimate and project adult HIV prevalence from surveillance data in countries that lack HIV prevalence data from consistent sites over time. Estimates are based on HIV prevalence in populations with high risk behaviors and populations at low risk, as well as estimates of the size of populations with high risk behaviors. The national prevalence projection produced by Workbook can then be used in estimation and projection package (EPP) to develop a national incidence curve. The incidence curve is imported into Spectrum to calculate the number of people living with HIV, new HIV infections, AIDS cases, AIDS deaths, treatment needs, AIDS orphans, and other variables.
Learn more here:http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/tools/workbookmethod/
Modes of Transmission spreadsheets: The Modes of Transmission (MoT) spreadsheet helps to calculate the expected number of new infections per year on the basis of a description of the current distribution of infections and patterns of risk within a population.
To review the various manuals, look under ‘Modes of Transmission’ here: http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/tools/
Check out all of the tools here:http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/tools/
Read All About It
The Connections of Family Planning and Climate Change
Mrs Kizito, 29, a mother of six, traveled 7km from her home in rural eastern Uganda to her nearest clinic for a check-up and her next dose of contraceptive pills. After her regular blood pressure check, she was told by the nurse that the type of pills she normally takes were not in stock. Her second and third next most suitable alternatives were not available either.
Instead, she was offered male condoms and advised to persuade her husband to use them until her regular stock of contraceptives were available – at least a few of months. She returned home, not knowing whether she would convince her husband to use the condoms, and well aware of her husband’s ambivalent attitude towards family planning.
These challenges, however, are solvable. To learn how family planning connects with climate change, check out this article: Family planning helps women … and slows climate change
Small success on LGBT Rights in Uganda
A Ugandan High Court judge has ruled that media companies in the country should not publish the identities of people they say are homosexuals. The decision was described as a “landmark ruling” by gay rights activists.
The case was brought against The Rolling Stone newspaper which last year published several lists of people its editor said were gay. Many said they were attacked after their names and photos were printed.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda and activists say the gay community still lives in fear.
“The judge granted a permanent injunction against Rolling Stone from publishing these names,” lawyer John Francis Onyango, who represented the three gay rights campaigners who brought the case, told AFP.
“But the ruling went beyond these applicants and extended to all media,” he added. To learn more, check out this article: Uganda bars media from outing gays and We are free to be gay in Uganda – for the moment
Fidelity Campaigns in Kenya: Are they really changing behaviors?
“Let go of your side relationship: escape HIV,” one of many fidelity campaigns marketed by Population Services International’s (PSI) in Kenya, could take some time before its message has a significant impact. The question is: has it made married Kenyans, who account for an estimated 44 percent of new infections annually,change long-held habits?
A married father of two from Nairobi said, “We broke up when I got married but we have since reconciled and we do have sex occasionally. I don’t know whether she has other boyfriends. We do use a condom once in a while, but this is somebody who was my girlfriend so most of the time we just go without a condom. I believe it does no harm because she isn’t a stranger to me.”
Lucy Maikweki, PSI’s director of HIV, said “We are hoping to have an evaluation report out later this year, but this is a hard indicator to change – it could be years before we begin to see a transformation in behavior.”
To read more, click here: KENYA: Fidelity campaigns could take years to see result
My Voice Counts!
Meet Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS’ Regional Focal Points!
The Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA) is glad to announce the elected regional focal points (RFPs) for the 2011/12 term. GYCA recently ran an election in 9 of the 12 regions through an application and short-list process. Members within these regions had the opportunity to vote for the RFP to lead GYCA activities within the region. Below are GYCA’s elected RFPs who have started an orientation exercise to take over the work their predecessors started! Want to meet the RFP in your region?
Contact them here!
– *Mawethu Zita – Southern Africa Region * (http://profiles.takingitglobal.org/mawethuzita)
– *Yvonne Akoth – East Africa Region *(http://profiles.tigweb.org/vyonne)
– *Jean Luc Ugirashebuja- Central Africa Region *(http://profiles.tigweb.org/ujeluc)
– *Damilare Gabriel Adeyemo – *West Africa*(http://profiles.tigweb.org/oludrey)
– *Salma Zaky – MENA Region *(http://profiles.tigweb.org/salmazaki)
– *Ajay Uprety – South Asia Region *(http://profiles.takingitglobal.org/liberalajay)
– *Tyler Spencer – **North America *(http://profiles.tigweb.org/AthletesUnited)
– *Jermaine Spencer – Caribbean *(http://profiles.tigweb.org/ShaneMcCarthy)
– *Rachel Judhistari – Asia Pacific *(http://profiles.tigweb.org/rachelarinii)
– * Muge Cevik – Western Europe *(http://profiles.tigweb.org/mugecevik)
– * Manuella Donato – Latin America *(http://profiles.tigweb.org/Manuella)
The new set of regional leaders are a blend of old and new RFPs who will combine forces, experiences and skills to support the work of GYCA and young people’s sexual and reproductive Health and rights.
Get Ready for a Year of United Nations Meetings!
There are a number of United Nations meetings of significance to youth sexual and reproductive health coming up in 2011. Youth advocates play a crucial role in advocating at these or preceding consultative meetings in order to influence country delegations and the negotiations of agreements or declarations. The voice of young people is critical to ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and rights are prioritized within agreements, not traded off during negotiations, and that governments are held accountable for commitments made to youth.
Below is a brief description of some of these key United Nations meetings with links for obtaining further information. Advocates will keep you posted on our efforts to elevate youth voices at these meetings throughout the year.
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 55th Session, New York, February 22-March 4, 2011
What is it?
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional mission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) dedicated to gender equality and advancement of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges and set global standards and formulate concrete policies to achieve its mission.
Why is this meeting important?
The priority theme of this meeting is access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion for women’s equal access to employment and decent work. Youth advocates have an opportunity to prioritize sexual and reproductive health and rights within the context of the meeting’s theme by underscoring how sexual and reproductive health is an essential component to achieving participation of women and girls in education and employment.
For more information about the CSW in general:
For information available to date on the upcoming meeting in February/March:
The Commission on Population and Development (CPD) 44th Session, New York, April 11-15, 2011
What is it?
The Commission on Population & Development was established to follow-up on the implementation of the Program of Action (PoA) of the International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD) in order to review and assess progress at the national, regional and international levels. The Program of Action of the ICPD signified a “new era of population” by 2015, as the 20-year action plan placed the individual needs of men and women front and center as the single most important factor for governments in determining population and development policies and strategies.
Why is this meeting important?
The Commission on Population and Development (CPD) will be focused on “Fertility, reproductive health and development..” Therefore, reproductive health issues and access to family planning will be a major focus of the meeting. However, this focus does not guarantee recognition of young people’s needs. Therefore, it’s important that youth activists raise their voices to make sure that discussions and any negotiated documents recognize, prioritize and adequately address the needs of young people.
For more information about the CPD in general: http://www.un.org/esa/population/cpd/aboutcom.htm
For information available to date on the upcoming meeting in April:
United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, New York, June 4-8, 2011
What is it?
The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS started in 2001 and a high level review meeting was since been held in 2006. This year, another high level review meeting will be held, marking the 10 year anniversary of the initial General Assembly Special Session.
Why is this meeting important?
This year’s High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS will serve as a comprehensive review of progress achieved to date in realizing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS of 2001 and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS of 2006. The meeting comes at a turning point given that targets in the original declaration have now expired and must be re-negotiated in order to chart the way forward. Articulating young people’s needs in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic will be critical to ensuring that any new targets and commitments adequately prioritize young people and comprehensive programs that adequately respond to their needs.
Regional consultation meetings are being planned leading up to this meeting. Please see the list below for locations and dates of remaining consultations as well as contact information.
Latin America – Mexico City, Mexico, 1-2 March 2011 (Civil Society Organizations – CSO pre-meeting on 28 February)∙
-Andrea Boccardi, email@example.com
Eastern Europe and Central Asia – Kiev, Ukraine, 17-18 March 2011 (CSO pre-meeting on 16 March)∙
-Michelle Williams-Sherlock, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Caribbean – Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 22-23 March 2011 (CSO pre-meeting on 21 March)∙
-Michel de Groulard, email@example.com
Asia and the Pacific – Bangkok, Thailand, 29-31 March 2011 (CSO pre-meeting on 28 March)∙
-Kah Sin Cho, ChoKS@unaids.org
West and Central Africa – Dakar, Senegal, 1-4 March 2011 (CSO pre-meeting on 28 February 2011)
-Kate Nightingale, firstname.lastname@example.org
For general information on the High Level Meeting, please go here:
United Nations: http://unclef.com/en/ga/president/65/issues/hivaids.shtml
International Year of Youth Conference, August 2011, location to be determined
What is it?
The United Nations General Assembly resolution 64/134, proclaiming the International Year of Youth, calls for a World Youth Conference under the auspices of the United Nations as the highlight of the International Year of Youth. The conference date and place are yet to be determined by the Member States and it is likely take place at the end of the International Year in August of 2011. On April 21st, 2010, the President of the General Assembly appointed H.E. Mr. Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Benin, as the Facilitator for the consultations on the organization of the UN World Youth Conference.
Why is this meeting important?
This meeting will be important because it focuses exclusively on youth and will bring attention to young people’s issues within the United Nations. While details have yet to emerge on the actual content of the meeting, youth activists should keep an eye on this one in order to make sure that substantive issues, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, are a part of the dialogue and any negotiations that may be taking place.
For more information about the International Year of Youth and the conference as it becomes available, go here:
United Nations Climate Change Conference, November 28 – December 9, 2011, Durban, South Africa
What is it?
Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty — the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. Annual meetings are held to review progress and negotiate new priorities for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Why is this meeting important?
Increasingly, meeting the unmet need for family planning globally is being recognized as a viable and cost-effective strategy for mitigating and adapting to climate change but more work needs to be done to advocate for prioritizing women’s and young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights within climate change policy discussions. In communities where women have power over if, when, and how many children to have, families are better equipped to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. Furthermore, given young people’s vulnerability to unintended pregnancy and maternal death, responding to their reproductive health needs is key. Finally, young people if allowed to engage in such climate change policy dialogues, can greatly contribute to finding solutions and helping sustain a movement for a healthier planet for all.
For information on the conference, go here:
Not on Amplify? Join Now!
Have you heard about Amplify but don’t know exactly what it is? One of Advocates for Youth’s main strategies is the use of new media technologies to empower young people to access information, share perspectives, connect to peers and services, and take action on issues that they care about.
Advocates communicates with its domestic and international networks of young people regularly via Amplify (www.amplifyyourvoice.org), a groundbreaking global Web site for young people working to improve youth sexual and reproductive and rights.
Amplify allows registered users to automatically stream their activities on Amplify to Facebook, so that a young person writing a blog about international family planning can share it instantly with hundreds of his/her friends. Amplify has been instrumental during the past year in successfully launching a campaign in favor of increased international family planning funding and in building Advocates’ International Youth Activist Network of more than 800 young people and youth-led/serving organizations around the globe.
You probably already know, but POWER comes with you as leaders who want to make a difference.
So, if you’re not already on Amplify, JOIN!
If you know people who are interested, get THEM to JOIN!
Blogging is fun, easy, and you can AMPLIFY your OWN voice by giving it a try!
Go to www.amplifyyourvoice.org and make your voice heard!
You mean that I can submit an essay and get a free Advocates for Youth notebook?
YOUR voice is an essential part of what makes this newsletter a SUCCESS. Please submit your stories to share with other youth activists from around the world! If you are one of the FIRST 10 iYAN members to submit an essay that follows the guidelines below, you will WIN a blue Advocates for Youth notebook and pen (to write more essays, of course!).
Here are the guidelines for writing an essay:
Keep your essay to no more than 500 words.
Use language that is simple and easy for non-native English speakers to read.
Write about sexual and reproductive issues that you care about and/or what you are doing to make a difference. Share your experiences working on sexual and reproductive health issues and policies—tell your story. What’s going on with access to contraception and family planning services for youth, abortion, gender disparities, maternal mortality, traditional harmful practices, HIV/AIDS, stigma and homophobia, etc.? What are the challenges facing young people in your country? What are the challenges for you as an activist? Why did you get involved in this movement to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people? What is working to improve programs and policies and young people’s sexual and reproductive health?
Also, please note that:
· If you have a photo, would like us to include it with your essay, and can send it via email, please do! It’s okay if you do not have a photo, but we would like to bring a face to your words when we have the chance.
· Advocates for Youth edits all published materials, so we will send you the revised draft for your approval before it is featured in the newsletter. We want to make sure that you are happy with the final product as well!
· When you submit an essay, it may not appear right away in the next issue but we will be sure to include it in the next possible newsletter.
· Even if you submitted an essay, you can still send others for upcoming issues of the newsletter.
· You will receive an email by the next iYAN edition as to whether or not you are one of the first 10 people to submit an essay.
If you have questions on how to submit your essay, please contact Mimi at email@example.com. Do it soon!! You could be one of the first 10!
International Women’s Day, March 8
Putting women and women’s rights to equality on the global agenda is the moving force behind International Women’s Day. The idea of a day for women, celebrated all over the world, began at the beginning of this century in America and Europe. The focus was the movement for women’s rights and achieving universal suffrage for women. International Women’s Day really took hold between 1913 and 1917 when women held rallies either to protest World War I or to express solidarity with their sisters. In December 1977 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.
Since those early years, much progress has been made for women: in many countries, provisions guaranteeing the enjoyment of human rights without discrimination on the basis of sex have been included in constitutions; legal literacy and other measures have been introduced to alert women to their rights and to ensure their access to those rights; the world community has identified violence against women as a clear violation of women’s rights; and incorporating gender perspectives into regular programs and policies has become a priority at the United Nations and in many member states.
Although much remains to be done to achieve full equality, the voices of women are being heard. March 8th provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the achievements of women and to highlight the needs and concerns of women on national, regional and global agendas.
International Women’s Day also gives us an opportunity to discuss the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights as an essential part of women’s rights, particularly young women. It’s our role to raise sexual and reproductive health and rights in the broader discussions and work with global, regional and national decision-making bodies to make this a priority.
How can you get involved?
Mark your calendar! Advocates will be hosting a week-long International Women’s Day Blog-a-thon March 6-12, 2011.The blog-a-thon will be hosted on Amplify, www.amplifyyourvoice.org. If you check out the home page, there will be more information about how you can participate. In the meantime, you can join Amplify by signing-up on this page: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/main.cfm?actionId=globalShowStaticContent&screenKey=userLogin&s=amplify
Once you sign-up, you will be able to post blogs, videos (vlogs) and photos to share why women’s rights and gender equity are important to YOU in the global movement for young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. You can raise your voice on Amplify whenever you want—but this blog-a-thon provides a designated time to elevate the fight for gender equality and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the blogosphere through consolidated blogging and vlogging by youth activists like you.
If you have any questions with joining Amplify, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s new at the UN for Women? The new United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women!
In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment: Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW); International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW); Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI); and, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
The main roles of UN Women are:
To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms.
To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
To hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
Grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the UN Charter, UN Women, among other issues, works for the: elimination of discrimination against women and girls; empowerment of women; and, achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
There’s not better time to learn about UN Women than in the weeks leading up to International Women’s Day. To learn more, go to: www.unwomen.org
Advocates for Youth has a form to sign-up for the iYAN on our website. Send this link to your friends so they can sign-up too!