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May 2013 iYAN Newsletter

Advocates’ International Youth Activist Network (iYAN) consists of youth activists and adult allies from low and middle-income countries who are working to influence policies and programs in their countries and internationally to support improved youth reproductive and sexual health. Members of the iYAN connect to share information about their work; are provided information about scholarships and networking opportunities; get up-to-date information on downloadable advocacy materials and tool kits; and receive a monthly newsletter with information on advocacy, youth activism, and mobilization on important issues like sex education, access to contraception, and prevention of adolescent maternal mortality and HIV.

Sharing Our Passion: Blog Posts from Advocates’ Youth Activist Website, Amplifyourvoice.org!

My thoughts of the 46th UN Commission on Population and Development By Yuxan, China/United States Being able to attend the 46th Untied Nation Commission on Population and Development during the 22nd and 26th of April was definitely a great experience for me. While entering the UN not as a tourist excited me since my dream since childhood is to be able to work for the UN, attending the sessions enabled me to have a deeper understanding of the political debate of sexual and reproductive health and rights at an international level. Click here to Read more.

Women in Hinduism By Smarika KC, Nepal We have heard and seen that women are somehow suppressed and discriminated in all religions of the world. The same goes with Hinduism as well. Hinduism believes that women are synonyms to divinity, power, beauty, wisdom, erudition and leadership down the ages. It highlights the central role that women have always played in Hindu dharma, society, politics, humanities and other fields of scholarship, and in the families. However, a woman’s life is always controlled by a man in this religion. She has to live up to the expectation of her male counterparts and follow their command whatsoever. Click here to Read more

What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?

Youth Leadership Council in Nigeria Recruited, Trained, and Ready for Action As part of the International Youth Speak Out Project, Education as a Vaccine (EVA), Advocates’ partner NGO in Nigeria, has recruited its new national youth leadership council, which includes 13 young leaders, including 9 young women and 4 young men, ages 18-26. EVA also hosted its annual youth advocacy training, which was held in April in Abuja, Nigeria. The training focused on improving participant’s knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues and policies that affect young people, advocacy, and action planning. Policy priorities that the council is particularly excited about working on include the HIV/AIDS Anti-stigma Bill and exploring how accessible contraception really is for young people at the facility level, as per existing commitments to contraceptive access. This year, council members will be engaged in meetings with stakeholders at the national level, media outreach efforts, including radio, blogging, and using facebook or tweeting; community and campus awareness raising events; campaigns; producing and disseminating briefs; and engaging in regional and international-level advocacy at meetings and consultations to help inform the post-2015 development agenda.

Advocates Engages at the 46th United Nations Commission on Population and Development in New York  Advocates’ staff and a member of the International Youth Leadership Council participated in this year’s Commission on Population and Development (CPD), held in April in New York City. The theme for the meeting was “New Trends in Migration: Demographic Aspects.” Throughout the week-long deliberations, governments, UN agencies, demographers, and NGOs debated the topic of migration and its relationship to the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action—a groundbreaking declaration which signaled a major shift in population policy from one based on population control to one based on human rights, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH). While in New York, Advocates served as co-organizer of the Youth Caucus, which brought together about 35 young people who worked to develop a Youth Caucus oral statement, which was read on the floor of the General Assembly. Advocates also participated as a member of the International Sexual and Reproductive Rights Coalition, attending a 2-day strategy session, daily morning briefings, and serving on two working groups. Advocates livetweeted on the plenary sessions, country statements and priorities, and monitored opposition activities. Advocates also signed on to a statement submitted by the Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), which you can view here.

To view the final resolution for the 46th Commission on Population and Development, click here: For an analysis of the resolution, check out this blog post by Advocates’ Public Policy Director, Janine: here.

Advocates Pushes for a National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day in the United States: In the United States, almost 40 percent of new HIV infections are young people ages 13 to 29. Despite this harsh reality, young people and their allies are determined to end this pandemic once and for all. Advocates believes that it’s more important than ever to recommit to the fight against HIV and AIDS and so has been working to secure partnerships to launch a National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) in the United States. Such a day would provide an organizing entry point whereby young activists in schools, colleges, and universities across the country could mobilize and educate about HIV and AIDS, promote HIV testing, fight stigma, and hold their leaders accountable to commitments that they have made to realizing an AIDS-free generation. Well, on Wednesday, April 10, that day came! Alongside youth activists across the country and collaborating partners, we celebrated the very first National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day! Young people organized more than 50 events to raise awareness of the impact of HIV and AIDS on the campus of Howard University, tabled in Kansas, provided free testing in Florida, got cities to officially recognize the day, held open-mic nights in Arizona, participated in a #youth #HIV Twitter chat with youth activists @lstallworth0 and @GeminiInstinct, and helped get the NYHAAD hashtag shared 130,480 times! While more work needs to be done to have the day officially recognized across the United States, this was a great start! For more information go here: http://amplifyyourvoice.org/nyhaad To view NYHADD tool kit, go here: http://advocates.wpengine.com/images/nyhaad_assets/nyhaadframe/toolkit/NYHAADCAMPAIGNSTARTERKIT.PDF

My Voice Counts!

Campaign to End Sex Discrimination in Nationality and Citizenship Laws, Equality Now Equality Now’s full report, Campaign to End Sex Discrimination in Nationality and Citizenship Laws, which has been sent to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, documents a wide range of harmful consequences and calls on governments to remove all discrimination against women in passing on their nationality to their husbands and children. It highlights those countries where women do not have the same rights as men to convey their nationality, engendering much hardship for the families concerned. To take action on the campaign, go here: http://www.equalitynow.org/nationality_report To access the report, go here: http://www.equalitynow.org/sites/default/files/NationalityReport_EN.pdf  

You Can Still Engage in the 50 Days of Action for Women and Girls Campaign! On February 1, 2013, John Kerry assumed the role of U.S. Secretary of State. For the previous four years, Secretary of State Clinton had been a champion of women and girls within the U.S. government and around the world, ensuring that the rights of women and girls were elevated as a matter of foreign policy and were key concerns of the State Department and White House. Secretary Kerry has stated that he will continue Clinton’s legacy in regards to these issues, but it remains unclear how the State Department and other U.S. agencies will shape foreign policy to advance the rights of women and girls worldwide. You don’t have to be from the United States to make your voice heard. Now is the time to demonstrate mass support for policies and programs that will allow women and girls to be healthy, empowered, educated, and safe around the world. The “50 Days of Action for Women and Girls” Campaign includes a broad spectrum of organizations seeking to advance progress in U.S. foreign policy efforts on the following issues:

  • Ending Early and Forced Marriage
  • Ensuring Quality Education for Women and Girls
  • Preventing Violence against Women and Girls
  • Improving the Health of Women and Girls
  • Promoting Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls
  • Achieving Peace and Security for Women and Girls
  • Protecting Human Rights & Promoting Leadership and Participation of Women and Girls
  • Putting Women and Girls at the Center of the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda

How can you get involved?

  • Tweet and retweet using #usa4women and/or #usa4girls – and watch for Tweet Chats and Google Hangouts each week
  • Twibbon:Visually show support for the campaign by adding the hashtags to your Facebook or Twitter profile pictures! Go to http://twibbon.com/Support/usa4women and http://twibbon.com/Support/usa4girls.
  • If you have a blog or tumblr account, please blog about why you support the 50 Days of Action for Women and Girls Campaign.
  • If you have a blog or tumblr account, please blog about why you support the 50 Days of Action for Women and Girls Campaign.

Check out Amplify for weekly updates and sample tweets! Apply for a Grant from the Global Fund for Women! The Global Fund for Women invests in women’s groups that advance the human rights of women and girls. They strengthen women-led organizations based outside the United States by providing grants ranging from $500 to $30,000 for operating and program expenses. They value local expertise and believe that women know best how to determine their needs and propose solutions for lasting change. The Global Fund for Women is committed to providing support to women’s groups throughout the world in a fair and just way. They have application forms available in five languages: Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish and have capacity to process applications in other languages. They award grants based on criteria and priorities determined in partnership with women’s rights activists working on the ground—the deadline to apply is June 30th! To find out more, go here: http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/apply-for-a-grant

It’s Not Too late! Apply Now for a Scholarship to attend the 17th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa, December 7-11, 2013, Cape Town South Africa  The organizers of the 17th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) have created an International scholarship program in order to promote the participation of the maximum number of actors in the response to HIV, AIDS and STIs, particularly persons living in resource-limited countries, PLHIV and young scientists in ICASA 2013. More than 800 citizens of developing countries, NGO workers, members of marginalized communities, PLHIV, persons with disabilities, young scientists and other youth will receive financial aid to participate in the 17th ICASA Conference. Anyone can apply to the International Scholarship Program. Priority will be given to those whose participation in the 17th ICASA Conference will enhance their work in their own communities, to those who are able to transfer skills and knowledge acquired at the conference and to those whose abstracts have been selected for presentation at the conference. Every attempt will be made to assist as many Africans as possible to attend the 17th ICASA Conference. However, the number of international scholarships available is limited. Participants are, therefore, strongly encouraged to seek other funding. Click here to apply for a scholarship: https://www5.shocklogic.com/scripts/jmevent/Registration.asp?Client_Id=%27FPD%27&Project_Id=%27ICASA_S%27&Form_Id=1&Form_Number=2&Stand_Id=0&A=&Language_Code=&role=

Read All About it!

Child Marriage Blamed for Gender Inequality in Tanzania The national website on gender issues clearly states that the government of Tanzania recognizes that women’s advancement and achievement of gender equality are a matter of human rights and a condition to social justice. It also states that the government reaffirms its commitment to enhancement of women’s rights for national and world progress. However, activists and international organizations advocating for better reproductive health services and gender equality have blamed practices of child marriage in the country for perpetuating gender inequality and violation of the rights of women and girls. To read this article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201304240251.html Pakistan passed the Reproductive Healthcare and Rights Act 2013 Description: http://gallery.mailchimp.com/653153ae841fd11de66ad181a/images/transparent.gifThe National Assembly of Pakistan unanimously passed the Reproductive Healthcare and Rights Act 2013 on March 12, 2013. The Private Member Bill was introduced by Hon. Dr. Attiya Inayatullah, MP. The bill seeks to promote reproductive healthcare and rights in accordance with the Constitution and to fulfill International commitments made by the Government of Pakistan under the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). To read this article, go to: http://www.afppd.org/news/pakistan-passed-reproductive-healthcare-and-rights-act-2013/

Rape of Girl, 5, Draws Focus to Child Assault in India The case of a 5-year-old girl who was raped, tortured and nearly killed last week has shocked India, stirring memories of a gang rape on a medical student in December. Over the weekend as the girl was being treated at a hospital here, doctors tended to another child in a nearby bed. In a message posted Saturday on her Twitter account after she visited the first girl in her hospital room, Sushma Swaraj, a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said, “I saw another 5-year-old girl child in the next room. She is also a rape victim.” To read this article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/world/asia/rape-of-girl-5-draws-focus-to-child-assault-in-india.html?_r=0

Uruguay to become 3rd country in Americas to legalize gay marriage after Canada and Argentina Uruguay’s lawmakers were debating Wednesday night whether to legalize gay marriage. Their vote would make Uruguay the third country in the Americas after Canada and Argentina to eliminate laws making marriage, adoption and other family rights exclusive to heterosexuals. In In all, 11 other nations around the world have already taken this step. To read this article, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/uruguay-to-become-third-american-country-to-legalize-gay-marriage-after-canada-and-argentina/2013/04/10/4f535372-a22a-11e2-bd52-614156372695_story.html

Tools You Can Use

Pacific Youth: Their Rights, Our Future By the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development (NZPPD) This report is based on the submissions received by NZPPD for the Open Hearing from various individuals and organizations with insight into the poor sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of adolescents in the Pacific. The report gives a background overview on the current situation faced by adolescents in the Pacific, including which relevant international and regional agreements Pacific Island countries have signed up to, and outlines what is needed to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Pacific Youth: Their Rights, Our Future concludes with recommendations from NZPPD, encouraging action to ensure adolescents sexual and reproductive rights can be realized.

Young Men Who Have Sex with Men: Health, Access, & HIV By the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) This policy brief presents results from a new study, which indicates that young men who have sex with men (YMSM) around the world experience higher levels of homophobia, unstable housing, violence, and other factors that hinder access to HIV services, compared to older MSM. The analysis uses data from the 2012 Global Men’s Health and Rights study (2012 GMHR), a multilingual online survey of 5779 MSM from 165 countries, including 2491 YMSM (aged 30 and below). To access the brief, go here: http://www.msmgf.org/files/msmgf//Publications/MSMGF_YMSM_PolicyBrief.pdf

The Future Young Women Want: A Global Call to Act By the YWCA This report from the YWCA outlines and articulates specific goals, values, barriers and challenges faced globally by young women in the context of the Post- Millennium Development Goals agenda (Post-2015).The report was produced through consultations, workshops, interviews and online surveys with young women from the YWCA movement. To read the report, go here: http://www.worldywca.org/Events/Commission-on-the-Status-of-Women-CSW/CSW-2013/The-Future-Young-Women-Want-World-YWCA-report-launched-at-CSW-57

Resources for the Clinical Management of Children and Adolescents Who Have Experienced Sexual Violence By PEPFAR and Together for Girls Partnership Five technical considerations and accompanying job aids serve as a guide for medical providers to address and respond to the unique needs and rights of children and adolescents who have experienced sexual violence and exploitation. These resources focus on the delivery of clinical post-rape care services and include information on establishing services tailored to the unique needs of children and adolescents, preparing for and performing a head-to-toe physical examination, conducting forensics evidence collection, and ensuring follow-up care and referrals for psychosocial and community support services. To view the materials, go here.

Coming Up

World Refugee Day, June 20 Syrian refugee camps In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 20th as World Refugee Day to recognize and celebrate the contribution of refugees throughout the world. Since then, World Refugee Day has become an annual commemoration marked by a variety of events in over a hundred countries. Did you know…

  • More than 42 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced from their homes and communities.
  • Recently, waves of conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Sudan and Syria have resulted in thousands of new refugees who have been upended, whose communities have been destroyed, and whose future remains uncertain.
  • Refugees constitute one of the most difficult populations to reach with health prevention and care services. In most cases, armed conflict leads to the formation of large groups of refugees. When conflict subjects civilian refugees to food shortage, displacement, and poverty, a “complex emergency” is often the result. The combination of these factors increases the risk to refugees of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS.
  • Typically, reproductive and sexual health risks are greater under crisis conditions, which coincide with limited access to reproductive and sexual health information and services.
  • Young women and girls are commonly targeted in armed conflict; however, their special needs are frequently overlooked or ignored.
  • More than 140 million girls live in fragile states affected by armed conflict. Of the 42 million people who have had to flee their homes because of war, 80 percent are women, children and young people. At least 10 million are estimated to be girls and young women.

Here are some ways you can commemorate the day:

  • Invite a former refugee to speak at your school, church, and community center to share their experiences.
  • Volunteer at a local refugee resettlement agency to help newly arrived refugees.
  • Host a World Refugee Day gathering where you might show the movie “Hotel Rwanda” or another movie that shows the plight of refugees, like “Beyond Borders”, “I am David”, or “Return to Afghanistan.”
  • Set up a World Refugee Day discussion at your home, place of worship, or community center.
  • Wear light blue (the international color of UN Aid workers) on World Refugee Day (June 20) and talk to friends about why you are wearing blue that day.
  • Invite 10 or more of your friends to subscribe to newsletters that address refugee issues, such as the UNHCR Insider Update.
  • Participate in any of these UNHCR campaigns here: http://www.unrefugees.org/site/c.lfIQKSOwFqG/b.4803607/
  • Read the 2012 State of the World’s Refugees Report here: http://www.unhcr.org/4fc5ceca9.html







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