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
Youth SRH Activists participate in Anti-stigma bill formulation
By Tope, Nigeria
Recently, my organization, Education as a Vaccine against AIDS (EVA), participated in a public hearing on the anti-stigma bill developed by House committee on HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria in November 2009. The public hearing brought together civil society organizations, human rights activists and other government agencies. After consistent lobbying activities that had been coordinated with the committee for budgetary allocation for youth-focused programs, ours was the only youth group represented. Youths are the most affected and infected by HIV/AIDS, hence perpetuating the stigma and the need for adequate representation of young people.
The hearing started with various presentations but mostly focused on stigma and discrimination in the HIV/AIDS workplace. Our presentation included a speech by Kikelomo Taiwo, a member of the group stated in no uncertain terms that more youth groups should have been given the opportunity to participate in the process but was however grateful for the invitation extended to EVA.
Some of the issues she raised included the recommendation that HIV/AIDS testing shouldn’t be a prerequisite for admission into college as observed in some institutions; appropriate penalties should be included for all schools that do make this requirement.
In his response, the chair of the committee, Hon. Olakunde said, “We are really impressed by your work, and let it be known that all your recommendation will be included in the bill”.
Providing recommendations for the anti-stigma bill was a major achievement for us and we intend to follow through until it is passed fully into law.
Youth Speak Out on Camera!
Check out Videos from Activists from Cameroun and Jamaica…
Videos are a fun and creative way to get your voice heard! You can be a click away from learning about someone’s story, their passion, and why we’re all a part of a global movement working for social change.
Orain is a member of Jamaicans Safely Tackling Adolescent Reproductive Health (J-STAR) through the International Youth Speak Out Project. For more info, visit http://bit.ly/about_orain. This interview was conducted in Kingston, Jamaica during a training organized by Advocates for Youth in partnership with Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN).
To learn more about what brought Orain to the movement for global sexual and reproductive health and rights, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcpmkVEIyk0
Clara, a youth activist from Cameroun, talks about what challenges young women in her community are facing, particularly related to sexual and reproductive health, and what she is doing to empower them. This interview was conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during a training hosted by Advocates for Youth and International Women’s Health Coalition.
To learn more about Clara’s passion for gender equity, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm45Ln4EZAA
Rochelle is a member of Jamaicans Safely Tackling Adolescent Reproductive Health (J-STAR) through the International Youth Speak Out Project. This interview was conducted in Kingston, Jamaica during a training organized by Advocates for Youth in partnership with Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN).
To learn more about Rochelle and why she’s involved in our movement, click here: http://www.youtube.com/user/AmplifyYourVoice#p/u/28/O6awNgDw_Bw
Recently on Amplify…
Young people from all over the world have joined Amplify, www.amplifyyourvoice.org, to share their stories, experiences, passion and work towards ensuring young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Amplify is a website and safe space for young people to express themselves and show the world who they are!
Here are some featured blogs from young people. Who knows? It can be you too! All you have to do is check out the website, join, and post your blogs! It’s that easy!
Check out featured blogs from Amplify’s FIRST International Women’s Week Blog-a-thon
In March, Amplify hosted the first ever International Women’s Week Blog-a-thon from March 7-13. Young people from all over the world posted blogs on various issues confronting young women such as gender inequities, gender-based violence, traditional harmful practices, unwanted pregnancy, adolescent maternal mortality, and Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV.
Here are some of the blogs that youth activists posted:
To read “Unity in Purpose, We Sure Can,” click here:
To read “Commodity for Sale,” click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/justifiable/2010/3/12/Commodity-for-Sale
To read “A Step Backwards,” click here:
To read “Girl Child Education in Nigeria, Why Not,” click here:
To read “Phenomenally Phenomenal Women,” click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/elizabeth/2010/3/13/Phenomenally-Phenomenal-Women
To read “International Women’s Day,” click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/elizabeth/2010/3/8/International-Womens-Day
To read “Progress for ALL women,” click here:
To read a post from Advocates’ International Division Director, Nicole Cheetham, click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/Nicole/2010/3/10/Reflections-on-this-Years-International-Womens-Day-Its-Time-to-Get-Current-Get-Respect-and-Get
To read a post from Advocates’ New Media Strategies Manager, Nikki Serapio, click here: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/AFY_Nikki/2010/3/8/Happy-International-Womens-Day
What’s New at Advocates for Youth?
One Voice Summit: A Conference on Environmental and Reproductive Justice
Hosted by Advocates for Youth, SIECUS, Sierra Club, and Americans for Informed Democracy, the One Voice Summit brought together 70 youth activists from the United States, Jamaica, and Nigeria to attend a two-day training and day devoted to educating policymakers on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Youth activists who attended are interested in environmental and reproductive justice issues in their own countries and globally.
The Summit provides a forum for participants to gather and share information relevant to the intersections of sexual and reproductive health and the environment through a human rights framework; build skills on how to work with the media, policy maker education, community organizing, and advocacy; and discuss and commit to actions that they will take in their own communities to advance reproductive and environmental justice. Finally, the Summit culminates with a policy maker education day during which participants meet with Members of U.S. Congress to request support for domestic and international policies supportive of evidence-based sexual and reproductive health programming.
Check out a blog from a participant who attended this year’s One Voice Summit:
International Youth Speak Out Campus Tour Launches in the United States
For two weeks in March and April 2010, Advocates for Youth and Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) co-sponsored a college campus tour to shed light on global sexual and reproductive health and rights. Youth activists from the global south visited six schools across five states, facilitating discussions about these important issues between the global south youth and students. Students also had the opportunity to educate policy makers in their home state, in partnership with the global south youth.
US students joined fellow activists from Jamaica and Nigeria to fight for arguably one of the most neglected and important issues facing young people worldwide: their sexual and reproductive health and rights. They held campus events at: Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, Western Kentucky University, Missouri University, Northwestern University in Illinois, Rutgers University in New Jersey, and the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. At each event, the youth activists from Jamaica and Nigeria talked about the realities facing young people in their countries and screened a video-documentary that they themselves produced.
Here is the link to the film we screened on tour: www.amplifyyourvoice.org/iYSOfilm
The students also met with policy makers to educate them about the need for increased US leadership in global sexual and reproductive health and international family planning, particularly as it relates to young people. They thanked champions for their previous and future support on these issues and urged other policymakers to follow suit on international family planning and sexual and reproductive health programming in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
One of the highlights of the campus tour was getting on TV! Check out the coverage from a local Western Kentucky news station and other media outlets below.
Western Kentucky media coverage: WBKO Coverage and WKU Herald
Missouri media coverage: KBIA Coverage and Columbia Missourian Coverage
Northwestern University media coverage: North by Northwestern Coverage and Daily Northwestern Coverage
Rutgers University media coverage: Daily Targum Coverage
Also, don’t forget to check out photos and videos from the tour! Just look on the left side of this page, and you’ll be a click away from our photo and video gallery.
Special thanks to the superstar organizers at Swarthmore College, Western Kentucky University, Missouri University, Northwestern University, Rutgers University and George Washington University, and our inspiring international partners and activists: Kemi, Maxalia, Anna-Kaye and James for an unforgettable journey. None of this would have been possible without all of you!
Check out Advocates’ New Fact Sheet: “Gender Inequality and Violence against Women and Girls Around the World”
All over the globe, violence and discrimination against women and girls violates their human rights and severely compromises young people’s sexual and reproductive health. Harmful practices, including female genital cutting/mutilation, femicide, gender-based violence, and early marriage damage girls’ physical being and self-worth by reinforcing gender-based marginalization and inequality. Gender inequalities and biases pervade cultures worldwide, preventing women and girls from fully realizing their rights to reproductive health and equality.
To read the publication, click here: https://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1556&Itemid=177
Say Hi to Advocates’ New Public Policy Director
Janine Kossen is the Director of Public Policy at Advocates for Youth where she promotes international policies on HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and foreign assistance reform. Before coming to Advocates, she was the Director of Federal Policy at ZERO TO THREE where she led the organization’s federal policy agenda on early care and education, child welfare, and maternal and child health. Prior to that, Janine served as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, working with regional and local health professionals on a variety of public health initiatives. During her time in West Africa, Janine worked extensively with adolescent women and community-based youth organizations on programs related to HIV/AIDS, family planning, female genital cutting, and life skills. Janine holds a Juris Doctorate in international human rights law from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters of Public Health, with concentrations in health and human rights and maternal and child health, from Johns Hopkins University.
Feel free to say hi to Janine at Janine@advocatesforyouth.org!
Read All About It
Maternal Deaths Decline Sharply Across the Globe!
For the first time in decades, researchers show evidence that a significant drop of deaths among women due to pregnancy or childbirth complications has declined to approximately 342,900 in 2008 from 526,300 in 1980.
To read more, click on the New York Times article here:
Maternal Deaths Decline Sharply Across the Globe
Low Access to Safe Abortion Causes Deaths Among Kenyan Women
In consequence of Kenya’s restrictive abortion law, women are forced into “backstreet” abortions where they often die a preventable death. The U.S.-based Center for Reproductive Health, which advocates abortions rights, found that women and girls in Kenya use metal wires, knitting needles and other unsafe practices to abort tens of thousands of unwanted pregnancies.
To read more, check out this CNN article: In Kenya, few choices to backstreet abortions
Malawi gay couple unjustly convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison
The judge said he wanted to protect the public from “people like you”.
Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, have been in jail since they were arrested in December after holding an engagement ceremony.
The case has sparked international condemnation and a debate about homosexuality in the country.
The British government, Malawi’s largest donor, expressed its “dismay” at the sentences, but has not withdrawn aid. Human rights groups have protested the sentence.
To read more, click the BBC article here:
Malawi gay couple get maximum sentence of 14 years
U.S. Secrety of State Clinton speaks on Women’s Rights Internationally
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told government delegates and activists here Friday that violence against women remains a “global pandemic” and that their “subjugation” constitutes “a threat to the national security of the United States.”
To read more, click on the Washington Post article: At U.N., Clinton rallies for more women’s opportunities worldwide
Record High HIV cases in the Philippines
The Philippines diagnosed 143 people with HIV in January — a national high — and the country’s health secretary said on Thursday she would seek more public funds to distribute condoms among high-risk groups.
To read more, click on the Reuters article:
Philippines HIV cases spike to record in January
My Voice Counts!
Check out the fourth YouthForce newsletter edition in English, Russian, German, and Spanish:
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Subscribe to the newsletter list here:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Do it soon!! You could be one of the first 10!
Tools You Can Use
Many of us know especially from working in the field that it’s incredibly important to use evidence-based research to support the design, implementation, and evaluation of our programs. Here’s a comprehensive list of tools you can use (in no specific order) for your programmatic work! Thanks to Family Health International for putting this list together. For more information, feel free to contact the email address specified according to the publication below.
1. The Adolescent Experience In-depth: Using Data to Identify and Reach the Most Vulnerable Young People—Guatemala 2002/2006 (2009, 71 pages, 1.7 MB) The purpose of the Adolescent Data Guide series, which draws principally on data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), is to provide decision-makers at all levels with data on the situation of adolescent girls and boys and young women. The age range covered is 10–24. The data are presented in graphs, tables, and maps (wherever possible), providing multiple formats to make the information accessible to a range of audiences. Organization: Population Council, UNFPA Contact: email@example.com
2. Baseline Survey for BCC Strategy for HIV and AIDS Prevention among Youth People Aged 10–30 Years in Swaziland (2008, 84 pages, 1.4 MB) The study described in this document aimed to achieve the following objectives: to develop an appropriate set of indicators for measuring process, outcomes, and impact of a behavior change communication strategy targeting young people in Swaziland; to design a baseline survey instrument to measure indicators, including testing and further refinement of the instrument and indicators based on community response; and to establish benchmarks against which the project will be evaluated. Organization: Swaziland National Youth Council, UNFPA, National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Coordination for Vulnerable Children: Alliance Zambia’s Efforts to Strengthen Government and Community OVC Systems (2009, 6 pages, 679 KB) This policy briefing describes Alliance Zambia’s experience of implementing a program to strengthen community support systems for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). The program highlighted coordination within government, and partnership between government and civil society, as essential building blocks for effective OVC support.Organization: Alliance Zambia Contact: email@example.com
4. Education Programming for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Affected by or Vulnerable to HIV: Moving Beyond School Fees and Uniforms (2008, 66 pages, 546 KB) This document explores the current strategies and activities employed by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to enable orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) to access quality formal education. It also discusses how to apply good practices for education programming for OVC affected by HIV to the CRS context. Organization: USAID, Catholic Relief Services Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Indicators for Education Sector HIV Response Programmes: A Review of Existing Resources (2009, 79 pages, 508 KB) This document describes a review of HIV and AIDS indicators for the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Education. The goal of the review was to help develop user-friendly guidance to measure the coverage, outcomes, and impact of education programs on HIV and AIDS in low-income countries. Organization: UNAIDS IATT on Education Indicators Working Group Contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Missing: Children without Parental Care in International Development Policy (2009, 40 pages, 1.8 MB) Research shows the number of children growing up without parental care is growing most rapidly in less developed countries. This report warns that failure to keep children in families, out of residential institutions, and off the streets, will be another barrier to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Organization: EveryChild Contact: email@example.com
7. Move Together Now! Community and Youth Mobilisation for HIV Prevention among Young People in Uganda (2009, 99 pages, 2.6 MB) This guide covers basic ideas on community mobilization, youth participation, and participatory tools with examples from Africa. It provides tools, processes, and activities for mobilizing young people and communities to address youth sexual reproductive health, including HIV prevention. Organization: Core Initiative Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. New Lessons: The Power of Educating Adolescent Girls (2009, 162 pages, 4.7 MB) This report offers new evidence of the dramatic, immediate returns that girls reap when they remain in school during adolescence. It is a compendium of promising, girl-friendly educational initiatives with key features of hundreds of programs, sorted by region and country. The report includes a ten-step plan to count, invest in, and advocate for adolescent girls’ education. Organization: Population Council Contact: email@example.com
9. Orphanhood and the Living Arrangements of Children in sub-Saharan Africa (2009, 40 pages, 310 KB) Studies have found substantial variability across countries in the negative impacts of orphanhood on child health and education. One hypothesis for this variability is the resilience of the extended family network in some countries to care for orphans. Using household survey data from 21 countries in Africa, this study examines trends in orphanhood and living arrangements, and the links between the two. Organization: World Bank Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Orphans and Vulnerable Children Wellbeing Tool User’s Guide (2009, 38 pages, 355 KB) This tool, a self-reporting measure for individuals aged 13–18, was developed as an answer to the elusive concept of wellbeing. It was piloted during a comprehensive evaluation of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) programs funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Haiti, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia and refined after analysis of the results of that pilot. The tool is 36 questions long and takes approximately 20 minutes to administer. Scoring can be done immediately or via a computer program. Results can be used to monitor OVC programs over time. Organization: Catholic Relief Services Contact: email@example.com
11. South Asia in Action: Preventing and Responding to Child Trafficking -Analysis of Anti-trafficking Initiatives in the Region (2009, 80 pages, 1.4 MB) This publication presents a regional analysis of anti-trafficking measures relevant to children in the countries of South Asia. It assesses national legal and policy frameworks and provides a list of recommended actions for the application of a rights-based approach to child trafficking. Organization: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
12. Special Needs of In-school HIV Positive Young People in Uganda (2009, 38 pages, 871 KB) The objective of this study was to explore the special needs of HIV-positive young people in primary and secondary schools in Uganda with a view to identifying possible responses by the education sector to these needs. It involved a survey of 718 young people aged 12–19 years who were perinatally infected with HIV, in-depth interviews with 52 school officials, and 938 student essays on identified HIV/AIDS themes. Organization: Population Council Contact: email@example.com
13. Supporting the Educational Needs of HIV-Positive Learners: Lessons from Namibia and Tanzania (2009, 42 pages, 1.8 MB) The research documented in this report was designed to address the following questions: What barriers do HIV-positive learners face in accessing education and staying in school? What challenges are faced by teachers and schools in supporting HIV-positive learners? How can HIV education programs be adapted to suit the sexual and reproductive health needs of HIV-positive learners? How does the education sector need to adapt to meet the needs of HIV-positive learners? The inclusion and care of HIV-positive children in schools is a key priority of the education sector. Organization: UNESCO, EduSector AIDS Response Trust, Research and Information Services of Namibia (RAISON), Youth Participatory Development Centre ontact: firstname.lastname@example.org
14. Supporting Youth at Risk: A Policy Toolkit for Middle Income Countries (2008, 135 pages, 1.6 MB) Also available by chapter and in Arabic. This toolkit addresses creating and implementing effective policies for at-risk youth. It highlights 22 policies that have been effective in addressing five key risk areas for young people around the world: youth unemployment and underemployment; dropping out of school; risky sexual behavior leading to early childbearing and HIV/AIDS; crime and violence; and substance abuse. Organization: World Bank Contact: email@example.com
15. Youth-led Organizations and SRHR: A Step by Step Guide to Creating Sustainable Youth-led Organizations Working on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (2009, 51 pages, 2.1 MB) This guide is a resource for young people interested in developing sustainable organizations, specifically those that address youth sexual and reproductive health rights. It draws on the experiences of two independent youth-led organizations and outlines strategic planning, governance structures, fundraising, communications, decision-making models, best practices, and lessons learned. Organization: CHOICE and Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
World Environment Day, June 5:
Healthy Families, Healthy Planet
Join the environmental movement from a sexual and reproductive health and rights perspective! How?
Today, nearly half the world’s population—more than 3 billion people—are under the age of 25. Collectively, young people have a critical role to play in ensuring SRHR for a better world for today and tomorrow. Education girls and boys, empowering women, meeting the demand for voluntary planning, and ensuring access to comprehensive, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive helath services not only play an important role in support human rights—but also in a healthy environment for families to live. Yet, there is a gap between awareness and action on SRHR-environment justice connections.
For this year’s World Environment Day, you can bring awareness to these connections and push for policies to support the integration a multi-sectoral approach that includes prioritizing sexual and reproductive health in environmental strategies.
For more information, you can email email@example.com
You can also learn more about World Environment Day by checking out the website: http://www.unep.org/wed/2010/english/
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!