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November 2011 iYAN Newsletter

November 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.

Sharing Our Passion

Featured blogs from International Year of Youth journalists

Teenage Pregnancy in Ghana (Nana, Ghana) Teenage pregnancy calls for the attention of Ghanaians. Statistics differ in different regions of Ghana; for example in the Eastern region alone, 33 females failed to sit for middle school final exams as a result of pregnancy in 2009.

The Western region also recorded 572 teenage pregnancies with girls as young as 10 getting pregnant and dropping out of schools. In the Ashanti Region at least 5 girls have sat their middle school graduation exams while pregnant, and a minimum of 3 have written their papers as mothers. The statistics are much higher and worrisome in other regions of Ghana.

Read more

Tackling Emerging Youth Issues: Showcasing the Gains of Young People (Leo, Philippines)

The cause for meaningful youth participation does not end with the conclusion of the International Year of the Youth. It is just the BEGINNING…

Moving forward from the success of co-organizing the KA JAM International Youth Day Celebration, the Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) Pilipinas together with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Philippines is hosting the Annual Y-PEER Global Advisory Board Meeting that will gather a delegation of 50 young people from international and local regions across Eastern Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, and Asia and the Pacific region who are members of the Y-PEER Network. This five day event will be held on October 3-8, 2011 at the New World Renaissance Hotel in Makati City, Philippines.

The Annual GAB Meeting is the premiere gathering of Y-PEER International Coordinators (ICs), selected Y-PEER Focal Point in-Charge (FPCs), chosen Y-PEER Alumni Board Members, and partners that consists of the Global Advisory Board – the highest decision-making body of Y-PEER International. They meet to discuss their annual working plans, award the best and promising Y-PEER country networks respectively, budgetary allocations, deliberate on funding grants and proposal, elect new ICs, propose new strategies on Peer Education, and update toolkits in Peer Education among others. Read more

What’s New at Advocates for Youth?

Advocates Launches United States Campaign for Abortion Rights, the 1 in 3 campaign.

In the United States, 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime.

Advocates for Youth recently launched the 1 in 3 Campaign, a movement to reach over 1,000,000 people with personal stories about abortion and the importance of access to basic health care. This movement starts with each and every one of us — coming together to have individual conversations and working to engage our campuses and communities.

Youth from all across the United States are getting involved by pledging to start a new conversation about abortion with three people in their community; hosting events in their communities and campuses; and, sharing their own personal story about having an abortion. Learn more about the 1 in 3 campaig.

Watch videos of women in the United States sharing their stories

Read “Unsafe Abortion and Youth: A Global Snapshot”

The Time is Now Campaign Continues for Climate Change and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights!

By now, you are probably well aware that 215 million women around the world have an unmet need for contraception. Further, in some regions young women ages 15-19 are twice as likely to lack access to contraception as women over age twenty.

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 and mitigate the effects of climate change. So why is it that ensuring access to voluntary family planning is not identified as a priority within discussions about climate change? If it were, not only could we mobilize to decrease the unmet need for contraception, but by doing so, we could also contribute to addressing climate change.

Fortunately, we can work together to bring attention to these connections between climate change and sexual and reproductive health and rights. To get involved, check out Advocates online campaign, The Time Is Now, hosted on Amplify (www.amplifyyourvoice.org/thetimeisnow). The campaign website provides information on sexual and reproductive health and rights and climate change with pages for blogging, resources and links of interest, and take action items, including signing our petition.

The petition calls on Ms. Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to elevate the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people within the climate change discussion at the 2011 Climate Change Conference, which starts later this month in Durban. We are also calling on her to ask member states to include and further prioritize sexual and reproductive health rights and family planning programs for women and youth in their National Adaption Plans of Action (NAPAs). Our goal is to secure 1,000 signatures and this is your last chance to sign the petition before it is sent to the UNFCCC prior to Durban! Sign the petition here!

To view the online campaign and share it with others, check out the website here.

To learn more about the 2011 Climate Change Conference, to be held in Durban, South Africa, click here.

Are you going to Durban? If so, let us know! Email mimi@advocatesforyouth.org.

Tools You Can Use

Clinic Assessment of Youth-Friendly Services: A Tool for Improving Reproductive Health Services for Youth By Pathfinder This tool helps program managers and clinicians determine the extent to which current reproductive health services are youth-friendly. Results from the tool can be used to tailor services to better meet the needs and preferences of young people. Under the African Youth Alliance (AYA) Project, Pathfinder conducted baseline assessments in Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana using this tool.

Tools for Research on Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing and Reproductive Health Services for Youth in Tanzania By Family Health International/YouthNet Below are tools used in research that described the health needs of youth seeking HIV voluntary counseling and testing services (VCT) and contraceptive services using several sources (mystery clients, youth clients, and providers). Research tools also examine the quality of care offered to youth at these clinics and the relationship between youth’s intended and actual risk behaviors following VCT.

  1. Structured Client Exit Interviews Interviews were conducted for youth clients attending VCT services and those attending other RH services who had never used VCT but who were sexually active. The interview includes both open and fixed-response questions concerning knowledge, risk behaviors, perceived risk, referrals, and experience with the service.
  2. Provider Interviews This survey includes questions on VCT provider’s knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding adolescent sexual and reproductive health
  3. Provider Survey: VCT and Youth Semi-structured Interviews These qualitative interview guides aimed to document youth’s intended and actual risk behaviors following VCT among a subset of youth participating in the exit interviews.

4. Mystery Clients This tool can be used to gather information from mystery clients about the services they encountered.

Guide to Monitoring and Evaluation of the National Response for Children Orphaned and Made Vulnerable by HIV/AIDS By United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) This document provides guidance for monitoring and evaluating the national response for children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. It includes methods and tools for measurement at the national level. The indicators in this guide supplement the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS/AIDS) and MDG ‘orphan school attendance’ indicator with a set of recommended standardized core indicators that each country could monitor to assess the effectiveness of its national response.

Read All About It

Global Survey Reports Increase in Unsafe Sex among Youth The “Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception” study, prepared for World Contraception Day (WCD), reports that the number of young people having unsafe sex with a new partner increased by 111 percent in France (from 19 percent to 40 percent), 39 percent in the USA (from 38 percent to 53 percent) and 19 percent in Britain (from 38 percent to 43 percent) in the last three years. “No matter where you are in the world, barriers exist which prevent teenagers from receiving trustworthy information about sex and contraception, which is probably why myths and misconceptions remain so widespread even today,” a member of the WCD task force, Denise Keller, said in a statement with the results of the study. “When young people have access to contraceptive information and services, they can make choices that affect every aspect of their lives which is why it’s so important that accurate and unbiased information is easily available for young people to obtain,” Keller said. To read the original article, click here: Young people worldwide having more unsafe sex (MSNBC/Reuters)

Male Birth Control Technology Makes Groundbreaking Advances The female birth control pill has been on the market for more than 50 years and scientists are now on a race for a male birth control pill to hit the market. “What we’re seeing is that men are more interested than they were in both taking responsibility and sharing the risk associated with using a product,” said John Townsend, the director of reproductive health for the Population Council. “What we haven’t had are anything in between condoms and vasectomy,” Townsend said. In addition to preventing pregnancies, condoms have worked especially well at protecting both men and women against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. “They’ve worked for over 10, 20, 30 years and they still work good today,” one person said. The latest innovations include a male birth control gel — an implant, a shot, even a pill. To read the original CBS article, click here: Sexual Revolution: Big Advances Made In Male Birth Control

Young girls in South Africa obtain contraceptive injections without parental consent: A primary school in the South African city of Port Elizabeth has given girls a contraceptive injection to prevent early pregnancies, a spokesman said Thursday, infuriating parents. A spokesman for the provincial health department said 18 girls at the Emzomncane primary school were involved in a programme meant to educate students about the dangers of early pregnancy. “Three kids were under the age of 12,” he said, adding that all the girls given the contraceptive were already sexually active. They were treated by a family planning programme from a local hospital, which the school had invited to speak with the students, he added. The Herald newspaper said parents had only been informed that their children would be taught about menstruation and birth control. To read the original article, click here: S.Africa school gives girls contraceptive jab Kenya backstreet abortions kill thousands every year As a result of a Kenya’s law criminalizing abortion, at least 2,600 Kenyan women die in public hospitals each year after having botched backstreet abortions. Many more die at home without seeking medical care. And another 21,000 are admitted for treatment of abortion-related complications. Emily, a Kenyan woman explains her experience in a back alley abortion, saying “I was bleeding like hell. I knew that I was going to die.” To read the original article, click here: Kenya backstreet abortions kill thousands every year

My Voice Counts!

Join the Crowd Out Initiative, launched by UNAIDS! The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is launching CrowdOutAIDS.org, an online collaborative project to crowdsource its new strategy on youth and HIV—a first in the UN system. Crowdsourcing is a technique used to rapidly engage large numbers of interested people to develop strategies, solve problems or propose relevant and fresh ideas. With around 3000 young people aged 15-24 becoming infected with HIV daily, leveraging new modes of communication and online collaboration with young people is essential for an effective response to HIV. Mr. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said “We’re asking youth around the world to debate, draft and work with UNAIDS to implement this new strategy. It is absolutely critical that we engage young people—not as recipients of our messages but as the actors and creators of change.” CrowdOutAIDS.org is a completely new way for UNAIDS to develop policy on HIV. It will use crowdsourcing technologies and familiar online tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Renren to ensure youth engagement and action in the AIDS response. CrowdOutAIDS.org follows a four-step model and is open to anyone aged 15-29. Young people will be able to shape the new strategy from conceptualization to final drafting via a wiki-platform. The project will run over a period of two months with the final crowdsourced strategy being produced in January, 2012. To find out more, visit www.CrowdOutAIDS.org, and follow @UNAIDS and #CrowdOutAIDS on Twitter.

Read the groundbreaking report by UN Special Rapporteur on Reproductive Rights that calls for decriminalization of abortion and more! On October 24, 2011, Anand Grover, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Health, presented his report to the United Nations on criminal laws and other legal restrictions relating to sexual health, reproductive health and the right to health. The report calls for decriminalization of and the removal of legal barriers related to abortion, contraception, family planning, and provision of sexual and reproductive health education and information.

As youth activists, this report is a huge step towards holding governments accountable for human rights agreements and international commitments supportive of youth sexual and reproductive health and rights, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action, and the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action. The report can also help advocates like you inform policies in your own countries and mobilize others to demand access to sexuality education, reproductive health services and commodities, safe abortion, and the elimination of laws and policies that criminalize and restrict access to these.

Read the Report Read Advocates’ Fact Sheet “Youth and Unsafe Abortion: A Global Snapshot” click here: Read Advocates’ Fact Sheet “Affirming the Rights of Young People at UN World Summits and Conferences” New Funding for Innovative Projects Reaching Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) communities AmfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is offering new funding for innovative projects that address HIV/AIDS among gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals in the Caribbean. Grassroots organizations led by or closely linked to MSM/LGBT communities in low- and middle-income countries in the Caribbean are encouraged to submit relevant proposals. Funds for this round of awards are made available through the generous support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Visit www.amfAR.org/grants for forms, instructions and detailed information about this opportunity. Available Funding: Each organization may apply for an award of up to $20,000 USD to support project-related costs for up to 12 months. Only one application may be submitted per organization. Proposals for general operating support will not be considered. Areas of Interest: This request for proposals (RFP) solicits proposals for innovative HIV/AIDS-related, community-led projects that increase access to HIV/AIDS services among gay men, other MSM and/or transgender individuals. Visit www.amfAR.org/grants for detailed information.

Who is Eligible to Apply? Community-based organizations located in low-and middle-income countries in the Caribbean with annual budgets less than $1 million (USD). Application Deadline: November 30, 2011, 5:00 p.m. in New York City, USA (GMT/UTC 21:00) For more information about the MSM Initiative visit www.amfAR.org/msm. Participate in Youth, the Arts, HIV and AIDS Network’s Global Student Podcast Competition! The Youth, the Arts, HIV and AIDS Network (YAHA net) is hosting a global student podcast competition, where participants ages 15 to 24 can create their own audio podcast on the theme “Turning the tide together to reach zero.” Podcasts can be created by individuals or groups from the same organization or institution, or you can team up with a group or individual from another educational institution or youth organization. The contest will be accepting submissions until December 2, 2011.

Submission categories, guidelines, judging criteria, and prize information can be found here: Conferences coming up: Will you be there? 2011 International Conference on Family Planning, November 29-December 2, 2011 in Dakar, Senegal The Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Ministry of Health and Prevention in Senegal will co-host the second International Conference on Family Planning: Research and Best Practices from November 29-December 2, 2011 in Dakar, Senegal. The 2011 Conference is the second of its kind with the first held in 2009 in Kampala, Uganda. As in 2009, the 2011 Conference will bring together participants to share research, best practices, and progress on national strategies to deliver family planning services, with the ultimate goal of universal access to family planning. Registration is open and the Conference welcomes participation from researchers, program managers, clinicians, parliamentarians, policy makers, jurists, and journalists.

The Conference is co-sponsored by over 30 international organizations including USAID, UNFPA, WHO, World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Conference program will include an opening plenary, multiple concurrent oral sessions, special panel presentations, poster sessions, luncheon roundtables, and an exhibit area. Journalists will be able to work through a Conference media support center. Organizations can arrange side meetings and skill-building workshops pre- and post-Conference. The Conference’s official languages are English and French. For more information, click here. 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), December 4-8, 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The 16th ICASA, sponsored by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), UNAIDS, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO), will host the five-day regional conference in Addis Ababa with the theme: “Own, Scale-up and Sustain.” The meeting will aim to:

  • Serve as an advocacy platform to mobilize African leaders, partners, and communities to increase ownership, commitment and support to the response to HIV/AIDS.
  • Provide a forum for exchange of knowledge, skills and consolidation of experiences and best practices in Africa and around the globe to scale up evidence-based response on HIV/AIDS/STIs, TB and Malaria to achieve the MDGs. • Link and hold political and national leaders, the scientific community, practitioners, communities, civil societies, the private sector and partners accountable to scaling-up and sustaining the HIV/AIDS response.
  • Create opportunities to define priorities and set policy and program agenda to enhance mobilization and effective utilization of resources.

For more information, click here. Join the Amplify family! Advocates’ blogosphere for sexual and reproductive health and rights Amplify, a project of Advocates for Youth, is the youth activist website and community blog that is focused on changing society’s negative approach to sexual health and reproductive rights. Amplify is an online community working together for a larger cause—the move that you, as young people, have to lead. When it comes to sexual health, reproductive justice, and making sure that the rights of young people—all young people, everywhere—are respected by those in power…Well, there’s an awful lot of work to do! You can write your own blogs/vlogs and comment on others! Click here: www.amplifyyourvoice.org

Learn more about our campaigns in Ethiopia, Jamaica, Nigeria and Nepal. Be a fan of Amplify on Facebook

Find Amplify on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/AmplifyTweets. If you have any difficulties joining Amplify, just email mimi@advocatesforyouth.org. 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 mimi@advocatesforyouth.org. Do it soon!! You could be one of the first 10!

Coming Up

World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011: Getting to Zero.

Each year, December 1 marks World AIDS Day, when activists around the world come together to raise awareness of the global HIV epidemic, fight stigma and discrimination, and advocate for increased efforts to support comprehensive HIV education and prevention.

This year’s theme is “Getting to Zero” supports UNAIDS’ multi-year Getting to Zero strategy that puts forward three core visions: Zero New Infections, Zero AIDS Related Deaths, and Zero Discrimination. As such, this year’s theme underscores the importance of continuing to focus on preventing new infections, ensuring access to treatment, and ending stigma and discrimination of marginalized communities, such as young people who are living with HIV/AIDS, LGBT, sex workers, and injecting drug users, among others. Thirty years into the epidemic, while there have been important declines in HIV prevalence among young people in some of the most affected countries, 41 percent of all new HIV infections are still among youth age 15-24.

Find out more about World AIDS Day Read UNAIDS’ Getting to Zero Strategy Join Advocates’ World AIDS Day Blog-a-thon From December 1-8, Advocates will be host its annual World AIDS Day blog-a-thon on Amplify as a part of the global movement of young people fighting to end HIV/AIDS. Share your stories about how HIV/AIDS has affected you, post your perspective on HIV policies and programs in your country, reflect on your successes and lessons, or upload pictures or video to share your ideas about where we are today–30 years into the epidemic. All new blog-a-thon posts will be featured on this page – and many will be spotlighted on the Amplify home page as well.

Learn More about HIV/AIDS by clicking here:

  • Amplify Issues: HIV Amplify
  • HealthFacts: HIV Youth 
  • Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic

And please don’t forget to spread the word about the iYAN. 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! www.advocatesforyouth.org\iYAN

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