Take Action

Join the movement of young people working to protect our health and lives

Action Center

Take action to help ensure young people's health and rights.


Donate now

Support youth activists working for reproductive and sexual health and rights.


Sign up

Get text and email updates


November 2014 iYAN Newsletter

November 2014 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 facilitates regional meeting on peer review of sexuality education materials for East and Southern Africa in collaboration with UNFPA and UNESCO. Advocates’ staff recently returned from Johannesburg, South Africa, where they facilitated a 4 ½ day regional consultative meeting for curriculum developers, teachers, stakeholders, and other youth-serving professionals from 10 countries within East and Southern Africa. A total of 30 representatives from Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Kenya, Malawi, and South Sudan participated in the meeting. The goal of the meeting was to facilitate peer review of illustrative sexuality education materials from within the region by participants with an eye to completeness of content, gender equality, rights, and training methods, and to inform the development of regional scripted lesson plans that Advocates for Youth will be spearheading in the months to come.

My Voice Counts!

You Can Still Apply for the 2015 Avon Communications Awards. Futures Without Violence and the Communications X-CHANGE are continuing to host a digital library that showcases and shares materials to prevent and end gender-based violence around the world. It now showcases nearly 1,000 amazing, diverse, provocative communications campaigns from over 80 countries, which you can access here: Communications X-Change.

Now you too can become part of the library competing in the 2015 Avon Communications Awards. The awards recognize organizations worldwide whose strategic communications tools are changing our communities, institutions, policies, and behaviors to prevent and eliminate violence against women and children. Materials submitted to the X-CHANGE until January 31, 2015 will be considered for one of five grants totaling $25,000.

To learn more, visit here.

Be Part of the Youth Voice for the Future We Want in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Check out the youth campaign, “Youth Voice – The Future We Want in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.”

What is it? A youth campaign, to ensure a broad consultation and coordination with the young people in the region and our full participation in the ongoing discussion around the post-2015 development framework

When is it? Starting now, until September 2015 Where is it? At both regional and national level Why? The post-2015 development agenda process is arriving at a critical stage which will require our intensified advocacy efforts. The campaign is aiming to ensure that we, young people are placed in the center of the future development agenda, which can only be achieved with our full participation. How can you contribute?

  • Write an article! Tell us your story, share your opinion, speak out about the issues that are a priority to you and should be part of the future development framework from 2015 onward
  • Make the case for investing in youth! Take a selfie photo and write a short message
  • Mobilize and organize! Build your Action Plan, prepare an advocacy campaign in your country
  • Share resources! Contribute to the Youth Library, at the dedicated web-site for our Campaign, with publications, tool-kits, brochures, fact sheets, info-graphics that you have developed and used and will help youth advocates to plan their actions

For more information, go here.

Read All About It

Top UN human rights body condemns violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A United Nations Human Rights Council resolution was adopted (L.27/Rev.1) that is a critically important step towards combating violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 25 human rights groups have said.

The resolution builds on a resolution adopted three years ago in June 2011, when the Council passed the first ever UN resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The resolution condemns violence and discrimination against LGBT persons and calls for the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a report on good practice in laws and policies to uphold their rights. To find out more, go here.

How women are bearing the brunt of the Ebola epidemic.The deadliest Ebola outbreak on record is sweeping West Africa, with over 3,400 lives claimed already. The World Health Organization estimates that 20,000 additional cases will be reported by November. And women are being affected most severely. In fact, 75 percent of those who have died from Ebola are women.

To read this article, go here.

Nurse’s death sentence reignites abortion debate in Kenya. Nurse Jackson Namunya Tali was not the first person Christine Atieno approached when she sought help to end an unwanted pregnancy in Kenya.

Tali says that Atieno asked for assistance after undergoing a botched abortion, in a country where the procedure is illegal. Last week, the high court in Nairobi sentenced 41-year-old Tali to death for murder, after the death of both mother and foetus. To read this article, go here.

We’re also sexually active, say the disabled. Disability activists have demanded the recognition of their sexual rights and inclusion in HIV related interventions by both government and NGOs.

National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (Nascoh) head of research and advocacy Tsarai Mungoni told an HIV and Aids seminar at weekend that the disabled were as sexually active as their able bodied counterparts. To read this article, go here.

FGM in Egypt: Doctor and father cleared in landmark trial. The doctor and father of a 13-year-old girl who died after allegedly undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) have been acquitted in a landmark trial in Egypt.

Doctor Raslan Fadl was cleared of all charges alongside the father of Suhair al-Bataa, a lawyer in the case said. The practice of FGM was banned in Egypt in 2008 but is still widespread. To read this article, go here.

Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya — When will it end? Consider this: Nashiru, a practitioner of female genital mutilation (FGM) in a Maasai community in Kenya, says, “Cutting girls is something our people have done for hundreds of years. No one can convince us that it is wrong.”

FGM refers to all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is incredibly painful, traumatizes girls and results in numerous negative health consequences that last decades. It can even cause death. It is also a form of violence against girls, exacerbating a vicious cycle of oppression and poverty that prevents them from fully participating in their country’s long-term progress. Yet Nashiru’s vehemence shows us just how entrenched this practice is. To read this article, go here.

School children in Nepal to learn about sexuality and gender diversity. Nepal’s education board has included sexuality and gender diversity as part of the school curriculum on sexual and reproductive health for Classes 6, 7 and 8. The new syllabus on the subject of ‘Health and Physical Education’, includes components on homosexual attraction and third gender (transgenders), among other topics related to sexual health and awareness. Guidelines for instructors emphasize that these topics need to be taught in a way such that students learn to be respectful and sensitive towards transgender and homosexual communities.

To read this article, go here.

Comprehensive sex education: A pending task in Latin America. In most Latin American countries schools now provide sex education, but with a focus that is generally restricted to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases – an approach that has not brought about significant modifications in the behaviour of adolescents, especially among the poor.

The international community made the commitment to offer comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) during the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. Although some advances have been made in the inclusion of sexual and reproductive education in school curriculums in Latin America and the Caribbean, we have found that not all countries or their different jurisdictions have managed to fully incorporate these concepts in classroom activities,” Elba Núñez, the coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defence of Women’s Rights (CLADEM), told IPS. To read this article, go here.

Tools You Can Use

State of World Population 2014. The Power of 1.8 Billion: Adolescents, youth and the transformation of the future by UNFPA. This latest UNFPA State of the World Population provides data and information about the now 1.8 billion young people who inhabit the world. The report makes it clear that young people matter yet, in a world of adult concerns, young people are often overlooked.

  • To access the report in English go here.
  • To access the report in French, go here.
  • To access the report in Spanish, go here.

Fast-Track: ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 by UNAIDS. UNAIDS has announced that taking a Fast-Track approach over the next five years will allow the world to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The new report outlines that by taking the Fast-Track approach nearly 28 million new HIV infections and 21 million AIDS-related deaths would be averted by 2030.

To access the report and additional resources, go here

Scaling Up Evidence-Informed HIV Prevention for Adolescent Girls and Young Women by the Public Health Institute.

This brief offers priority interventions for programmers based on evidence from successful programming for women and girls; though a number of the interventions listed also benefit men and boys. The brief is divided into three parts: evidence-informed priority areas for programming; implementation and research gaps that must be addressed; and considerations for scaling up successful programming for girls and young women. For more information on these and other interventions, see www.whatworksforwomen.org. The interventions described here are based on a thorough review of global evidence; however, each country and community response must be tailored to meet the specific opportunities and challenges faced locally.

To access the brief, go here.

Action with Local Impact: Why Advocacy Matters by Bridging the Gaps Global Partners. This new report examines the role of global-level advocacy in addressing HIV among key populations, including people living with HIV (PLHIV), people who inject drugs, sex workers, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The report details strategies used and outcomes achieved by five constituency-led global network organizations focused on key populations, providing numerous case study examples illustrating the concrete impact of advocacy at the global level.

The report focuses on global-level work conducted as part of the Bridging the Gaps program, an international multi-agency effort devoted to achieving universal access to HIV services and ensuring full human rights for key populations. Supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the program is collaboration between five Dutch-based organizations, five global key population networks, and 80 grassroots organizations across 16 countries.

To access the report, go here.

Coming Up

World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014. 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 HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care.

With UNAIDS’ multi-year Getting to Zero strategy culminating in 2015, 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, much more has to be done to close the gap in prevention and treatment for young people, including adolescents.

Adolescents are the only age group among which AIDS-related deaths are actually increasing. AIDS-related illnesses are the second leading cause of death among adolescents aged 10–19 years globally, and the leading cause of death among adolescents in Africa. Further, in 2013, there were an estimated 2.1 million adolescents living with HIV, more than 80% of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. Many still do not know their status. Almost two thirds of the 250, 000 new infections among 15–19 year olds in 2013 were among adolescent girls.

In fact, recently at a meeting during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, global leaders committed to take action towards ending the AIDS epidemic among adolescents. Leaders pledged their support to reduce new HIV infections among adolescents by at least 75% and increase HIV treatment to reach at least 80% of adolescents living with the virus.

To find out more about this meeting so that you can hold officials accountable, go here.

And if you are looking for campaign materials to support World AIDS Day events, you can check out the World Health Organization’s World AIDS Day Close the Gap campaign information here.

For the campaign materials go here.

You can also check out the latest UNAIDS report that makes the case for a fast-track approach to end the epidemic by 2030 here.

And don’t forget the difference that you can make in your own communities and by speaking out. Here are some things that you can do to mobilize on World AIDS Day:

  1. 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 adolescents have the information and services that they need to prevent HIV, get tested, and get treatment and support.
  2. 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, treatment and support; and elimination of stigma and discrimination.
  3. 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.
  4. Share the resources above with friends and colleagues—spread the world about World AIDS Day and the need to prioritize young people to end the epidemic.

There’s still time NOW to take action to end violence against women! November 25th is the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and the first day of 2014’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, that runs through December 10 (International Human Rights Day). During the 16 Days of Action, Advocates for Youth and our allies highlight violence against women as a human rights issue and call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. This year, the theme of the 16 Days of Activism is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence!” In observance of the 16 Days, advocates from around the world are using blog posts, radio, and other media, and hosting events to lift up the stories of women and girls, emphasize the intersectional nature of gender-based violence and push for an end to violence against women.

To find out more about International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, click here or here.

To find out more about the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, go here.

To check out Advocates for Youth’s posts by young leaders from around the world talking about ending violence against women, go here.


Please spread the word about the iYAN!

Send this link to your friends so they can sign-up too! https://www.advocatesforyouth.org/iyan

They can also check out the iYAN Facebook page by going here:


Was this e-mail forwarded to you? If so and you would like to subscribe to Advocates for Youth’s iYAN mailing list, please visit https://www.advocatesforyouth.org/iyan.

Advocates for Youth

Sign up for Updates