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March 2016 iYAN

March 2016 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’ launches new partnership with Supporting Primary Education Across Kenya (SPEAK) for sexuality education in Homa Bay, Kenya.

Advocates for Youth is pleased to announce the selection of its partner organization for a new community-mobilization program for school-based sexuality education, with generous support of the Johnson and Johnson Foundation. Advocates will be partnering with Supporting Primary Education Across Kenya (SPEAK) in Homa Bay county, Kenya. SPEAK was founded in 2012 and works to advance health, education, water and sanitation, and environmental conservation in rural areas in Western Kenya.

Advocates implements similar programming in rural Burkina Faso whereby community mobilization efforts have led to teacher-driven delivery of sexuality education in 11 primary schools. Advocates has also recently developed sexuality education lesson plans in collaboration with UNESCO and UNFPA for the East and Southern Africa Region.

Advocates and SPEAK will be working in Homa Bay county to mobilize community support for the programming while engaging with 12 primary schools and other stakeholders in support of teacher engagement, training, development of lesson plans, and ultimately delivery of sexuality education in the school setting. Homa Bay County is located in the former Nyanza Province of Kenya and has a population of approximately 963,794 people. Home to the highest HIV prevalence rate of all counties in Kenya at 25,7% and highest adolescent pregnancy rate in the country, adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to HIV infection, unintended pregnancy, and child marriage. There is a tremendous need for sexuality education and opportunity to foster an enabling environment to provide information, skills and linkages to services at the primary school level. It is Advocates’ pleasure and honor to initiate this important work in Homa Bay county with SPEAK—welcome to the Advocates family!

My Voice Counts!

Join the Every Hour Matters Campaign: A Call for Post-Rape Care. cThe Every Hour Matters campaign aims to increase awareness about the critical importance of quickly accessing post-rape care and calls on national and community leaders to ensure comprehensive services are available in all communities. Spread the word with campaign fact sheets and share the campaign using social media by going here.

New Call for Proposal for the Intersex Human Rights Fund. The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is proud to announce a new call for proposals for the second cycle of the Intersex Human Rights Fund, launched in 2015 to honor the resilience, creativity and growth of intersex activism and to ensure the human rights of intersex people.

The Intersex Human Rights Fund supports organizations, projects and timely campaigns led by intersex activists working to ensure the human rights, bodily autonomy, physical integrity and self-determination of intersex people. Given the dearth of funding to intersex issues globally, intersex groups/projects based anywhere in the world are eligible to apply. Astraea particularly seeks proposals from intersex activists who have never applied for a grant or received foundation funding. Groups with small or no budgets, staff or structures are eligible and encouraged to apply. The deadline is April 8. For more information, email Astraea staff at IntersexFund@astraeafoundation.org. Proposals may be submitted in English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin or Russian.

Call for Nominations is Still Open for Women Activists and Groups Working in Rural Communities. WWSF Women’s World Summit Foundation, an international, non-profit, humanitarian NGO, is seeking nominations for the Prize (US$ 1,000 per laureate), which honors women and women’s groups around the world exhibiting exceptional creativity, courage and commitment for the improvement of the quality of life in rural communities.

The Prize aims to draw international attention to laureates’ contributions to sustainable development, food security and peace, thus generating recognition and support for their initiatives and projects. While rural women are vital in providing examples of sound practices in their communities, they still do not have full access to tools needed for development, such as education, credit, land rights and participation in decision making. By highlighting and awarding creative development leaders and their work, innovations and experiences enhancing the quality of rural life, WWSF participates in empowering rural women in their contribution to end rural poverty, improve gender equality, and advance women’s rights to peace and well-being.

Prize laureates are selected by an international jury composed of WWSF Board of Directors, are announced officially in October, and are celebrated in their countries on October 15th – International Day of Rural Women. WWSF has a commitment to award annually between 5-10 creative rural women and women’s groups around the world. The deadline is April 30, 2016.

For more information, go here.
To download the nomination form, go here.

Attend the Women Deliver Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark May 16-19, 2016. The Women Deliver 4th Global Conference will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark from 16–19 May 2016. The conference is a critical platform to engage participants to advocate to political leaders and influencers to support policy and resource recommendations emerging from the conference both during the event and upon their return. The focus of the conference will be on how to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so they matter most for girls and women, with a specific focus on health—in particular maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights—gender equality, education, environment, and economic empowerment.

Registration is still open but deadlines are ongoing so please check the website at: http://wd2016.org/. Also, if you are planning to attend, you need to request your visa as soon as possible as this process takes time. For more information about visas, go to the Danish Immigration Service website. Important note: A registration confirmation letter from Women Deliver will be required when applying for a visa, which is provided by Women Deliver through the online registration system.

For a one-pager on the conference in English, French or Spanish, go here: English | French | Spanish

Don’t Miss the International AIDS Conference, Durban, South Africa July 18-22, 2016. The AIDS 2016 conference will be held at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) from 18 to 22 July 2016. The conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It is a chance to assess where we are, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward.

The AIDS 2016 programme will present new scientific knowledge and offer many opportunities for structured dialogue on the major issues facing the global response to HIV. A variety of session types – from abstract-driven presentations to symposia, bridging and plenary sessions – will meet the needs of various participants. Other related activities, including the Global Village, satellite meetings, exhibitions and affiliated independent events, will contribute to an exceptional opportunity for professional development and networking.

Early registration ends April 28, 2016, 24:00 CET. The deadline to request a Letter of Invitation and to submit a visa application is May 31, 2016.

Tools You Can Use

Study Assesses Zika Microcephaly Risk
By S. Cauchemez, et al. in The Lancet

A new analysis of a Zika virus outbreak in French Polynesia further supports the association between maternal Zika infections and microcephaly, showing the risk is about 1 in 100 women infected in the first pregnancy trimester.

To access the article, go here.

The Training Resource Package for Family Planning (TRP)

This is a comprehensive set of materials designed to support up-to-date training on family planning and reproductive health. The TRP was developed using evidence-based technical information from World Health Organization (WHO) publications: Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers; the latest WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use; and Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use. The TRP contains curriculum components and tools needed to design, implement, and evaluate training. It provides organizations with the essential resource for family planning (FP) and reproductive health trainers, supervisors, and program managers. The materials are appropriate for pre-service and in-service training and applicable in both the public and private sectors.

To access the package, go here.

Parliamentary Good Practices for Effective Implementation of Laws and Policies for Prevention of Child Marriage
By the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD)

The report aims to address the root causes of child marriage in target communities, identify barriers and obstacles to the effective implementation of relevant laws and policies, and assess a variety of programmatic and policy approaches to overcoming the problem of child marriage, with a particular focus on measureable, proven results. The new report can provide parliamentarians with major lessons learned through these good practices and a toolkit for child marriage prevention programming.

To access the report, go here.

Emerging Evidence, Lessons and Practice in Comprehensive Sexuality Education – A Global Review 2015

A new report examining CSE in 48 countries across the world provides evidence that comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) leads to improved sexual and reproductive health, resulting in the reduction of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and unintended pregnancy. It not only promotes gender equality and equitable social norms, but has a positive impact on safer sexual behaviors, delaying sexual debut and increasing condom use.

To read the report, go here.

‘Leave No One Behind’: Gender, Sexuality and the Sustainable Development Goals
By the IDS Sexuality, Poverty and Law programme

Findings from this report reveal social exclusion of populations on the basis of SOGIE in seven development priority areas: (1) poverty; (2) health; (3) education; (4) gender equality and women’s empowerment; (5) economic growth and opportunity; (6) safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements; and (7) justice and accountability.

In mapping these findings against the brand new SDG framework, the report highlights the importance of SOGIE-inclusive development in the post-2015 era. It argues that unless deliberate steps are taken by development actors at an international and national level, billions of people will be excluded from the benefits of international development because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

To access the publication, go here.

Coming up

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.

Further, in December 2015, the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21/CMP1) convened in Paris, France, and adopted the Paris Agreement, a universal agreement to keep a global temperature rise for this century below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This past September in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Member States expressed their commitment to protect the planet from degradation and take urgent action on climate change. Sustainable Development Goal 13 aims to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact.” Increases in global temperature, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other climate change impacts are seriously affecting coastal areas and low-lying coastal countries, including many least developed countries and Small Island developing States. Women and girls are also disproportionately impacted by climate change.

You can use this day to honor the earth and to urge others to take actions that support the environment and women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights. There are 222 million women around the world with an unmet need for contraception and in some regions, young women ages 15-19 are twice as likely to have an unmet need for contraception than women over twenty. 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, the importance of ensuring that young people can access sexual and reproductive health education and services, and how these fit into the New Sustainable Development Goals.
  • 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 Advocates’ fact sheet about sexual and reproductive health and rights and climate change here:

In English | In Spanish

Read All About It!

Ghana: Teenage Pregnancy Increases From 6 to 26 Percent – Della Sowah [Ghana]MRS. DELLA SOWAH, Deputy Minister of Children, Gender and Social protection, has expressed worry over the increase in Teenage Pregnancy in the country as shown by statistics in the latest health survey. According to her, the last statistics of health survey in 2014 revealed that teenage pregnancy in Ghana increased from 6% to 20%, with the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Volta regions registering increases of 6%, 12% and 22% respectively.

To read this article, go here.

Rwanda: New Initiative for Working Mothers. Three Rwandan ladies have come up with an on-site day care program where mothers would stay with their babies at workplace through employer sponsored care. Their justification is that, women are more present in Rwandan workforce and childcare needs have to be taken into consideration, to decrease anxiety for some parents, improving their ability to concentrate on their jobs.

To read this article, go here.

Punjab Assembly passes Protection of Women Against Violence Bill. The Punjab Assembly on February 24 passed the long-awaited Protection of Women against violence Bill 2015 which contains remedies for victims of violence, criminalise all forms of violence against women and also provides them with special centers which remove the usual red tape hurdles that complicate a woman’s quest for justice.

To read this article, go here.

Men join campaigns in India against FGM rituals among the Bohra. Men in India and Pakistan are joining a campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM), adding greater heft to the movement in the deeply patriarchal Dawoodi Bohra community.

Little is known about FGM in India where the ritual is carried out in great secrecy by the close-knit Shi’ite Muslim sect thought to number over 1 million.

To read this article, go here.

FGM spreading to minority groups in Sudan, say campaigners. Female genital mutilation is spreading among minority groups in Sudan despite widespread efforts to eradicate the practice, say campaigners.

Women from communities which previously shunned FGM have told the Guardian they are being pressurised to undergo the procedure as adults to avoid being ostracised in a country with one of the highest FGM rates in the world.

The latest Unicef report estimates that 87% of Sudanese women and girls aged between 15 and 49 have been cut.

To read this article, go here.

People with HIV in Asia ejected from hospitals, women sterilised-study. Some health workers in Asia are refusing to perform surgery and provide services for people living with HIV, and are even expelling patients from hospitals and forcing women to undergo sterilisation, according to grassroots organisations.

In China and Vietnam, discrimination took the form of changing the recommended option for treatment from surgery to topical or oral medication, said the four-country study supported by Asia Catalyst, which provides management training for community-based health organisations.

To read this article, go here.

Infrastructure inequality is catalyst for Brazil’s Zika epidemic. The mosquito, a Brazilian saying goes, is a democratic devil – it bites rich and poor alike.

But an outbreak of the Zika virus has revealed deep inequality when it comes to who bears the brunt of living among the insects.

“You can see the swarms of mosquitoes around the trash heaps here in my neighborhood,” said Gleyse da Silva, who lives in one of the poorest parts of Brazil’s northeastern city of Recife, at the epicenter of the Zika outbreak.

To read this article, go here.

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