Advocates’ International Youth Activist Network (iYAN) consists of youth activists and adult allies from low and middle-income countries who are working to influence policies and programs in their countries and internationally to support improved youth reproductive and sexual health. Members of the iYAN connect to share information about their work; are provided information about scholarships and networking opportunities; get up-to-date information on downloadable advocacy materials and tool kits; and receive a monthly newsletter with information on advocacy, youth activism, and mobilization on important issues like sex education, access to contraception, and prevention of adolescent maternal mortality and HIV.
Sharing Our Passion: Blogs from Advocates’ Youth Activist Website, Amplifyourvoice.org
Why it Matters to Invest in Girls By senatorOJ, Nigeria 125 million children around the globe are denied the rights to proper education, 70 % among them are girls. There are primarily African countries among 30 countries with the highest percentage of marriages before the age of 15. Read More… Child Marriage By Siyu, China The other day I attended a “Too Young to Wed” briefing, which was very impressive and instructive. The briefing was held in Russell Office Building by The United Nations Foundation, The Ford Foundation and Girls Not Brides. The panelists illustrated the issues in a way that was easy to understand and detailed true stories of the impact of early marriage. The panelists also talked about ways to reduce early marriage in many developing countries. Read More…
What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?
Advocates Hosts its Annual Urban Retreat Training for Youth Activists!
Advocates hosted its annual Urban Retreat training from September 26-30thfor a total of 120 youth leaders from across the United States as well as activists from Nepal, Nigeria, Uganda, and Jamaica. This year’s Urban Retreat was truly inspiring! Our global south activists began preparing months ahead of time, prepping for their youth-led workshop sessions,speaking roles, and policy meetings while also gathering signatures to show their community’s support of comprehensive sexuality education. They presented at Advocates’ board reception, spoke at the opening session, delivered a youth-led workshop, presented at a campus event at a local university, met with funders, engaged with colleague organizations, and lobbied policy makers including Senate and House offices, as well as Administration officials from the US State Department and USAID. This year’s training focused particularly on organizational sustainability and leadership, in addition to providing global south youth leaders with updates on global sexual and reproductive health and rights trends and relevant US foreign policy. Participants have since returned home and are actively working to advance their program and advocacy efforts to respond to the needs of LGBTQ youth and young women in their communities and inform relevant national and global policy
My Voice Counts!
Get Ready for the 2014 International AIDS Conference! July 20-25, Melbourne, Australia The International AIDS 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 2014 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 Youth Programme, the Global Village, satellite meetings, exhibitions and affiliated independent events, will contribute to an exceptional opportunity for professional development and networking. So far, the Abstract Mentor Programme is already open! If you would like guidance on abstract submission, take advantage of this programme through which you can submit abstracts in order to receive feedback from experienced abstract submitters. For more information on the Abstract Mentor Programme and how to sign up, click here. This programme closes on 22 January 2014, though, which is 10 working days before the conference abstract submission deadline! Other important dates:
As of December 1st, the following will be open:
– Abstract submissions – Registrations – Workshop applications – Global Village and Youth Programme applications – Satellites applications – Exhibition applications – Accommodation bookings – Tour bookings And keep an eye out for scholarship applications! These open December 5th and close February 13th! For more information on the conference, click here, and stay tuned for upcoming information about the YouthForce!
Help Create a New Narrative in AIDS—Join ACT 2015 Throughout the months of November, December and January (2013/2014), youth activists from around the world will start organizing to ensure HIV remains a priority in the post-2015 agenda and that sexual and reproductive health and rights gets recognized for the first time ever in major UN goals. The PACT, a collaboration of 25 youth-led and youth-serving organizations along with UNAIDS, are launching ACT 2015: one goal, many voices. A movement building initiative, ACT 2015 aims to secure a post-2015 development framework that advances the SRHR and HIV response for young people. ACT 2015 also aims to inspire action on the priorities of youth activist within national AIDS responses. Using online technology to reach young people on the ground, in the first phase organizers are asking youth activists to sign up and host community dialogues for social action. In the second phase of ACT 2015, after the community dialogues, organizers will follow-up at the country-level and provide tools to mobilize and take actionbased on the needs identified in the dialogues. Check out how you can get involved here!
Take part in the “Free & Equal” Campaign! If you have not already, check out the “Free and Equal” Campaign launched by the Officer of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Itis an advocacy push to raise awareness for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world. During this campaign, OHCHR will work to reshape the educational and legal landscapes surrounding the issue of gay rights. According to its 2011 report on LGBT discrimination, existing laws in 76 countries outlaw same-sex sexual relationships. The report also documents global cases of violence against the LGBT community, from beatings and torture to rape and murder. To check out and engage in the campaign, go here.
Read All About It!
UNFPA Calls for Development Goal on Youth As international conference on family planning concludes, UNFPA calls for a focus on youth in the post-2015 agenda Young people are a vital force that must be front and centre in global development efforts, said Dr. BabatundeOsotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, announcing UNFPA’s call for a youth centered goal in the Post-2015 development agenda. To read this article, click here.
United Nations reports ‘dramatic’ progress in fight against AIDS The global rate of HIV infection and the number of AIDS-related deaths have been dramatically reduced, thanks to expanding access to treatment, the United Nations said in a report issued on Monday. In its annual update on HIV, which it said now infects around 35.3 million people worldwide, UNAIDS said deaths from AIDS and HIV infection rates were falling, while the number of people getting treatment is going up. To read this article, click here.
Gay Ugandan Activists Arrested, Detained Without Charge A prominent LGBT activist in Uganda has been arrested and detained for more than 48 hours without being informed of the charges against him. Samuel K. Ganafa is the executive director of Spectrum Uganda and the board chairman for Sexual Minorities Uganda, two of the most prominent LGBT rights organizations in the East African nation, where homosexuality is illegal. To read the article, click here.
Virginity Tests’ Throw Spotlight on Indonesia’s Conflicted Sexual Morality A small-town education chief in Indonesia made headlines last week after he reportedly planned to impose mandatory virginity tests on female students entering high school. He cited concerns over premarital sex and teen prostitution as the reason. But H.M. Rasyid, the Education Agency chief of Prabumulih, a town in South Sumatra province, wasn’t saying anything Indonesians hadn’t heard before. To read this article, click here.
Social customs: ‘Nearly half of Pakistani women are married before the age of 18’ Approximately half of all Pakistani women are married before 18 years of age and nine per cent of girls begin childbearing between 15-19 years, ShirkatGah – a non-governmental organisation – revealed on August 29. The organisation states that 64.6 per cent of women in Pakistan are illiterate and 74 per cent are deprived of being a part of the formal economy, while female life expectancy is 66.1 per cent. It was also said that the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime is 4.1, while the number of mothers dying due to complications during pregnancy is 276 per 100,000 live births. To read this article, click here.
Tools You Can Use
The Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young People in Low and Middle Income Countries By Advocates for Youth This fact sheet provides updated information on the sexual and reproductive health of young people in low- and middle-income countries, including data on HIV, adolescent pregnancy, contraceptive use, unsafe abortion, stigma and discrimination, and gender-based violence. To view the fact sheet, click here.
The State of World Population 2013. Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy. By UNFPA The State of World Population 2013 notes that out of the 7.3 million births, 2 million are to girls who are 14 or younger, many of whom suffer grave long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy such as obstetric fistula, and an estimated 70,000 adolescents in developing countries who die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The report seeks to offer a new perspective on teenage pregnancy, looking not only at girls’ behavior as a cause of early pregnancy, but also at the actions of their families, communities and Governments. The report notes that countries must not only increase efforts to prevent teenage pregnancies, they must also invest more in girls as the currently the global community directs less than two cents of every dollar spent on international development to adolescent girls. To access the report in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic, click here.
Afghanistan: Ending Child Marriage and Domestic Violence By Human Rights Watch This 15-page briefing paper, “Afghanistan: Ending Child Marriage and Domestic Violence,” Human Rights Watch highlights the health and economic consequences of marriage under age 18 and violence against women and girls. To view the publication, click here.
UNAIDS Report on the Global Epidemic 2013 By UNAIDS UNAIDS’ Global Report on HIV is out just in time for World AIDS Day. It notes that across sub-Saharan Africa, diverse countries have achieved notable reductions in HIV prevalence among young people (15–24 years). In sub-Saharan Africa, HIV prevalence among young women and men fell by 42% from 2001 to 2012. Yet, even with these favorable trends, HIV prevalence among young women remains more than twice as high as among young men throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Trends are mixed among other regions and evidence is limited regarding HIV prevalence among young people who are members of key populations at higher risk. To access the report, click here. To access related materials, click here.
Visions, Voices and Priorities of Young People Living with and Affected by HIV By the International HIV/AIDS Alliance Young people most affected by HIV have a strong emerging advocacy agenda on access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning. This paper highlights five key priorities that surfaced from the online global survey and community dialogues, and recommends actions to increase access to sexual and reproductive health services (including family planning) for, and realize the sexual and reproductive rights of, young people most affected by HIV.
Ending AIDS in Uganda: What Will It Take By various civil society organizations Civil society organizations at the front lines of the response to HIV in Uganda have released this shadow report calling for bolder government action to begin to end AIDS in Uganda.The report takes stock of an off-track AIDS response, describes encouraging developments, and makes recommendations for key actions to end AIDS in Uganda. To view the report, click here.
“The Time Has Come,” Enhancing HIV, STI and other sexual health services for MSM and transgeder people in Asia and the Pacific By UNDP and WHO In many Asian cities MSM already make up the majority of new HIV infections. Experts and now recognize that in order to stop the spread of HIV among MSM and transgender people, limiting access to health care and prevention services and failure to fully recognize other basic individual rights, must stop. UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre (APRC) and WHO (SEARO and WPRO) have jointly developed a training package focusing on skills training of health care providers for HIV/STI related services among MSM and transgender people, and reducing stigma in health care settings. UNDP supported the development and pilot testing of this training package. For more information on the training package, please visit here.
Including Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Youth Sexual and Reproductive Rights & Poverty By the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) Focused on the connections between youth sexual and reproductive rights and poverty, this brief is one in a series focused on“Including Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Post-2015 Development Agenda process has become an important platform to advocate for human rights and this brief helps make the connections between youth sexual reproductive health and rights and poverty. To view the brief, click here.
World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011 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. Two years into the UNAIDS’ multi-year Getting to Zero strategy, there has been significant progress but much work remains to be done to reach an AIDS free generation and realize the vision of Zero New Infections, Zero AIDS Related Deaths, and Zero Discrimination. 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. To find out more about World AIDS Day, click here. Here are some things that you can do to mobilize on World AIDS Day!
- Reach out to community groups and organize events like skits, debates, or contests to raise awareness of the importance of HIV/AIDS and ensuring that young people have the information and services that they need to protect themselves and stay healthy.
- Mobilize others to take action and advocate for changes in local or national level policies in support of comprehensive sexuality education; access to condoms, HIV testing, and treatment and support; and elimination of stigma and discrimination.
- Blog on www.amplifyyourvoice.org about what the day means to you, challenges facing young people in your community, and how you think these could be addressed.
- Inform yourself and others! Here are some new resources:
- Check out the new MTV/durex three-year global campaign called: #SOMEONELIKEME: A GLOBAL CONVERSATION ABOUT SEX, SEXUAL HEALTH AND A WORLD FREE FROM HIV