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: Blogs from Advocates’ international youth bloggers and other Amplify posts!
My name is Timidi and I deserve an Education by By Timidi, Nigeria My parents have two girls, my younger sister and me, and they strove so that we got the best of all they could provide, especially education. I remember those days when my parents, especially my mother, had to make the bulk of the sacrifices just so we could go the best schools. Read More Public Transportation and Violence against Women by Anupa, Nepal On public transportation, women and girls are sexually harassed by fellow passengers or even the bus staff. This harassment destroys self esteem and the confidence of women and girls. They often face double victimization – first being sexually harassed and next, not being able to speak out. Society blames the victim in cases of sexual abuse, so women fear stigma. Instead of speaking out, they keep quiet and endure the violence. Read More Woman Should Have the Right to Choose By nosaj_8, Jamaica How long will it take the parliamentary committee to reach a decision regarding the amendment of the laws that continue to criminalize females who wish to perform abortion; especially in cases of rape, incest and where it threatens the very life of the mother? Abortion is still seen as a criminal act under sections 72 and 73 of the Offences Against the Persons Act in Jamaica. Read More
What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?
International Women’s Day Video Series Advocates for Youth, in collaboration with the Atlas Corps Fellowship program, hosted “Young People Speak Out For Women’s Empowerment,” whereby young people from around the world posted short video clips talking about women’s empowerment and the post-2015 development agenda and also wrote blogs in honor of International Women’s Day. Thanks to all of you who participated! Don’t’ miss out on hearing and reading perspectives from amazing youth activists from around the world–you can view the videos and related posts here.
Advocates Conducts Training to Support Advocacy and Program Efforts in Jamaica Advocates’ staff traveled to Jamaica in February to work with the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network to deliver trainings on advocacy, peer education programming for LGBT youth, and US foreign policy. Youth leaders from the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network and colleague organizations based in Jamaica attended the trainings. In addition, Advocates’ staff and a number of the youth leaders focusing particularly on advocacy efforts to advance young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights also attended meetings with stakeholders. Advocates Meets with Stakeholders, Peer Educators and Providers in Leo, Burkina Faso as Part of its Project to Improve Sexual and Reproductive Health Education and Access to Services Advocates and its partner organizations, Mwangaza Action and the Association des Jeunes pour le Développement de Leo, continue efforts in the province of Sissili in Burkina Faso, to improve access to sexual and reproductive health education and services through community participation, peer education, and youth-friendly services. Advocates’ staff traveled to Leo in Burkina Faso and met with key stakeholders, including the High Commissioner, the Mayor’s Office, and the Prefect to thank them for their support and request continued collaboration. Advocates and its partners also prepared, conducted, and analyzed preliminary results of a rapid survey carried out among 50 in-school youth to inform upcoming information, communication, and education (IEC) materials destined for young people and providers. Staff and partners also held a workshop with providers, presided over by the Prefect, to secure technical inputs for these same materials. Finally, Advocates and its partners also met to review the project’s workplan, identify gaps, make adjustments, and plan for upcoming activities. Some key areas of need include additional assistance with the IEC materials development and design, support materials for the peer educators on contraceptive methods, and creating spaces within two of the existing facilities to ensure greater privacy for young people to access and wait for services.
My Voice Counts!
Check out the information below about ProjectInspire and submit your ideas to win US $25,000! Project Inspire presents 18-35 year olds across the world with a platform to pitch their inspired idea to the world and win a US$25,000 grant. The grant must show creativity and sustainable impact in the lives of women and girls across Asia, Pacific, the Middle East or Africa through access to business and livelihood skills.To qualify for the US$25,000 grant, the project must meet all of the following requirements:
- The program must enable disadvantaged women and girls to attain sustained livelihood through business and livelihood skills
- An existing women’s empowerment program
- Beneficiaries must be women or girls in Asia/Pacific, Middle East or Africa
- The winner(s) of this competition will have to commence fieldwork by 1 December 2013
- The project is designed to be implemented with a US$25,000 budget
To read more about applying, go here. The deadline is June 30th, 2013. Check Out the Sexuality Leadership Development Fellowship Programme The Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre, located in Lagos, Nigeria, announces the tenth edition of its annual Sexuality Leadership Development Fellowship Programme. The two-week residential course will address contemporary issues and emerging best practices in policy and programming for sexual well-being in Africa. The curriculum will focus on sexuality, sexual health and rights, sexual diversity, pleasure, HIV/AIDS and vulnerabilities, gender, and violence against women. This course is designed for young professionals in public service, civil society activists, and programme officers/ managers in health and social development organisations including media practitioners. Applicants should be aged 35 years or below. Minimum educational qualification required is a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and demonstrable experience/interest in the area of sexuality, sexual health, and rights. The course fee for the two-week programme is US$2,500. Click here for more information about the course. The deadline for application is April 30, 2013.
Read All About it!
UN commission on women ends with adoption of global plan to end gender-based violence
Michelle Bachelet addresses participants at a CSW side event. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon looks on. UN Photo/E. Debebe
Top United Nations officials today welcomed an agreement by more than 130 Member States on the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, and urged governments to translate the outcome of the ‘historic’ gathering into concrete actions to protect and promote women’s human rights and fundamental freedoms. “Violence against women is a heinous human rights violation, global menace, a public health threat and a moral outrage,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement attributable to his spokesperson. Read the article New UN Envoy for Youth and Executive Director Discuss Priorities for Young People
Dr. Osotimehin and the new UN Envoy for Youth. Photo: UNFPA/Omar Kasrawi
Just after his first week in office, Ahmad Alhendawi, newly appointed United Nations Envoy for Youth, met with UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin to discuss shared priorities around young people in the years to come. As incoming co-chair of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, UNFPA will work very closely with the UN Envoy, which is a new position. To read this article, go here. Woman challenges tradition, brings change to her Kenyan village When she was 14 years old, Kakenya Ntaiya entered the cow pen behind her home with an elderly woman carrying a rusty knife. As a crowd from her Maasai village looked on, Ntaiya sat down, lifted her skirt and opened her legs. The woman grabbed Ntaiya’s most intimate body parts and, in just moments, cut them out. “It (was) really painful. I fainted,” recalled Ntaiya, now 34. “You’re not supposed to cry.” For generations, this ceremony was a rite of passage for every Maasai girl, some as young as 10; soon afterward, they would marry and drop out of school. To read this article, go here. South Africa: ‘Over 25% of schoolgirls HIV positive’ At least 28% of South African schoolgirls are HIV positive compared with 4% of boys because “sugar daddies” are exploiting them, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has said. He said 94,000 schoolgirls also fell pregnant in 2011, and 77,000 had abortions at state facilities, The Sowetan newspaper reports. About 10% of South Africans are living with HIV, official statistics show. To read this article, go to here. Thailand struggles to curb high teen pregnancy rate When Mallika told her parents she was pregnant at 17, they pulled her out of school and ordered her to marry the baby’s father. But the marriage didn’t happen and the one-time aspiring singer now cares for her baby girl alone. “I love her, but at the time I hid in shame,” said Mallika, now 23 and a vendor of cheap, made-in-China clothing at a weekend market in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. To read this article, go to here.
Tools You Can Use
Pacific Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Statement Formulated during the inaugural regional meeting of women and trans people from key Pacific civil society organizations (CSOs), networks and alliances, this statement outlines an urgent call to action towards advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights of women in the region. The meeting was co-convened by Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN); Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM); Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA), for Equality; and Pacific Youth Council (PYC) and took place in February in Nadi, Fiji. To read the statement, go here. The Interagency Gender Working Group Gender and Health Toolkit By the Knowledge for Health Project This updated electronic toolkit is a collection of select, practical tools for integrating a gender perspective in the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of programs and policies across different areas of health. These tools include instruments and methodologies that can help you to collect and analyze information on gender roles, identities and relations and apply this information to make programs and health systems more equitable and effective. A companion to the IGWG website (http://www.igwg.org/), the Gender and Health Toolkit is intended to help move health practitioners, program managers and policy makers from awareness and commitment to direct application and practice. To access the tool kit, go here. Practical Guide for Civil Society: Human Rights Funds, Grants and Fellowships By the Civil Society Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights This Practical Guide – the fourth in the series of practical guides for civil society – provides a brief description of funding sources, grants and fellowships administered by or with the participation of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The purpose of the Guide is to provide guidance to prospective applicants interested in these funds and programs to further contribute to the promotion of human rights in their own countries and worldwide. The guide is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish and can be accessed here. Cervical Cancer and HIV in Women (video) By Julia Nagel, Janet Fleischman, and Christopher Letendre The 5 minute video looks at the correlation between cervical cancer and HIV among women living in Zambia. It highlights the growing improvements being made in HIV treatment and care while illustrating how many women who are living with HIV and using ARVs, continue to die from cervical cancer because of lack of information and infrequent testing. It discusses the Pink Ribbon-Red Ribbon initiative, a program brought to Zambia to bring HIV and cervical cancer together by screening women, especially those who are HIV positive, for cervical cancer and highlights the need for continued resources, training, and equipment to eradicate this cancer. To access the video, go here.
April 22nd is International Mother Earth Day! The proclamation of 22 April as International Mother Earth Day is an acknowledgement that the Earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance. It also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity. You can use this day to honor the earth and to urge others to take actions that support the environment, including promoting young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Did you know that there are 222 million women around the world with an unmet need for contraception and that in some regions young women ages 15-19 are twice as likely have an unmet need for contraception than women over twenty? If you care about young people, women’s rights, reproductive health, climate change, and the environment, the good news is that fulfilling the unmet need for contraception is a highly cost-effective way of addressing climate change. When women have power over if, when and how many children to have, communities are better equipped to adapt to climate change and contribute to a more sustainable environment. What can you do?
- Host a community event to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our environment and ensuring that everyone can exercise their right to sexual and reproductive health information and services.
- Engage with coalitions or organizations working in your community to advance environmental sustainability and/or sexual and reproductive health and rights
- Identify and request a meeting with community leaders and/or decision-makers to inform them about the connections between climate change and the importance of ensuring that young people can access sexual and reproductive health education and services.
- Blog on Advocates’ youth activist website, amplifyyourvoice.org, and write about why you care about the earth, how you see the connections between youth sexual and reproductive health and rights and environmental sustainability, or about what you think governments and communities should be doing to make a difference.
For background information about this day, you can go here. You can also check out the Earth Day Network here. and upload your photo to the Face of Climate Change wall here: Don’t forget to visit Advocates’ Time is Now Campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about the connections between climate change and young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, here. You can also check out Advocates’ fact sheet about sexual and reproductive health and rights and climate change here. In English In Spanish
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