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October 2014 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.

What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?

Advocates hosts its annual youth retreat!

Advocates hosted its annual Urban Retreat training from September 11-15 for a total of 140 youth leaders from across the United States, including Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council, comprised of six young women leaders ages 19-21 who attend local universities and have a strong interest global issues and/or international backgrounds.

This year’s training for the International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC) focused on global youth sexual and reproductive health and rights trends, US foreign policy and UN advocacy, and new media. IYLCers also participated in a workshop focused on advancing girls’ rights in the post-2015 agenda, during which they became familiar with the Girl Declaration, a call to action developed by adolescent girls from around the world. IYLCers have since been sharing the Girl Declaration and working on a number of projects including updating several of Advocates global fact sheets (coming soon!); organizing campus events including film screenings and tabling; and blogging and tweeting about global youth sexual and

Advocates recruits its Girl Engagement Advisory Board to inform advocacy efforts to inform the post-2015 development agenda. Advocates is excited to announce its new Girl Engagement Advisory Board, which will be informing Advocates’ United Nations level advocacy and media and communications efforts to advance girls’ rights in the post-2015 development agenda. Members, who are ages 15-19, and represent a diversity of regions and countries, including: Egypt, Pakistan, Nepal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar, and Jamaica. Members will be engaging in social media advocacy, informing policy strategies, and engaging at UN meetings leading up to the finalization of the post-2015 development agenda.

Advocates develops and pre-tests a regional teacher training module on sexuality education with trainers in Uganda. As part of efforts to support the development and implementation of comprehensive sexuality education in East and Southern Africa, in collaboration with UNESCO and UNFPA, Advocates has been working to develop a pre-service teacher training module on sexuality education to support teacher trainings in the region. The training module addresses several core content areas, informed by the US national teacher training standards developed by the Future of Sex Education (FOSE), a project of Advocates for Youth, Answer, and SIECUS.

The module includes sessions on: adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights in Southern and East Africa; sexuality education benefits, outcomes, challenges, myths and the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education; adolescent development; sexuality; exploration of values; teaching methodologies and activities on reproductive anatomy and physiology, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; gender, and assertiveness skills; classroom management; application and practice; and understanding policy and procedures.

Advocates and UNESCO carried out a four-day training of trainers in Kampala, Uganda to pre-test the module. Participants included trainers and teachers who will be replicating the training as Uganda launches a newly revised curriculum in schools. Feedback from the trainers was overall very positive and efforts are underway to align the module with existing pre-service training efforts. Advocates will also be making adjustments to the module based on the pre-test and inputs shared, which include modifications of the timing of some sessions and including additional content or time for issues such as national processes, socio-cultural contexts, policies, gender, violence, drug use, mixed-aged learners, and learners with disabilities.

My Voice Counts!

Apply for the Women’s Leadership Institute on Peace and Security. The Women’s Leadership Institute on Peace and Security is a weeklong course designed to build transformative leadership of activists in fragile and conflict-affected areas. The Institute, a first of its kind will apply a feminist, intersectional and inter movement lens and strategies to strengthen women’s voices in conflict affected situations and transformation to peace. The Institute will combine reflection on the current political landscape as well as past organizing strategies for women’s rights and raising women’s voices in conflict and post conflict settings. The Institute will also reflect on fundamentalisms across the world and their influence on women’s rights and security. Participants will be able to relate some of the experiences and lessons from different movements to their own contexts, countries, and regions.

Applications are due on or before 22 November 2014. To apply online, click here. If you experience difficulty with the online method, download the application from CREA’s website and e-mail the completed form to Sushma Luthra at sluthra@creaworld.org or to CREA at crea@creaworld.org. Send any queries to Ms Luthra.

Qualify for the 2015 Avon Communication Awards. Futures Without Violence and the Communications X-CHANGE are very grateful for your help promoting this first ever digital library that showcases and shares materials to prevent and end gender-based violence around the world. Since last year, the library more than doubled its number of materials: It now showcases nearly 1,000 amazing, diverse, provocative communications campaigns from over 80 countries. Take a quick tour of its holdings at: Communications X-Change.

Futures Without Violence and the Communications X-CHANGE are asking for assistance to build the library and help organizations around the world become recognized for excellence in communications through 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.

Youth Voice – The Future We Want in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Campaign. The Regional Youth Leadership Group is announcing a youth campaign called: “Youth Voice – The Future We Want in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” being implemented with the support of UNFPA’s Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Here is some information about the campaign:

  • 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.

Check out the Global Symposium for men and boys for gender equality. The 2nd MenEngage Global Symposium 2014 will be a four-day event to be held in New Delhi from 10-13 November, bringing together academics and practitioners from a broad range of disciplines, civil society organizations working with men and boys and grassroots organizations working on a broad range of issues pertaining to gender equality. The overall theme of the Symposium is ‘Men and Boys for Gender Justice.’ It encompasses a holistic approach to understanding masculinities in different domains in a globalizing world. For more information, go here.

Call for Abstracts! Women Deliver, a global organization advocating for the health and well-being of girls and women, will be holding a groundbreaking symposium titled Girl Power in Play during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015. This symposium will focus on the linkages between sports and girls’ development, particularly in developing countries. The symposium is tentatively scheduled to take place in Ottawa, Canada on June 18 and 19, 2015.

Women Deliver is still accepting submissions for concurrent session presentations on research around girls, sports and development; or case studies of sports-based programs affecting girls. Please note that limited funding may be available for speakers from developing countries only.

Submissions will be accepted until 12pm EST Friday, November 14. All applicants will be notified by January 20, 2015.

You may apply by filling out this form (and also at this link: http://bit.ly/Yf7UcH).


Africa: Investing in adolescent girls for Africa’s development. Adolescence is a time of transition from childhood to adulthood. It is also a time of change and challenge.

Today’s adolescents, connected to each other like never before, can be a significant source of social progress and cultural change.

But they are also facing multiple challenges that seriously impact their future. And nowhere in the world do adolescents confront as formidable barriers to their full development as in Africa

To read this article, go here.

Nigeria: Cervical cancer as consequence of underage marriages. Nigeria has been listed among 10 African countries with highest absolute numbers of cervical cancer, which a new report has said is a consequence of the high numbers of underage marriages. Findings from the 2014 Africa Cervical Cancer Factsheet and Scorecard of the Africa Health, Human and Social Development Information Service (Afri-Dev. Info) released on Monday shows that the high incidence, risk and mortality from cervical cancer in Africa are driven by inadequate multisectoral action by governments on interaction of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) with wide spread HIV, and poor sexual, reproductive and maternal Health.

To read this article, 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 (in Zimbabwe) 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.

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.

One in four HIV-positive women in Central America pressured to sterilize.

HIV-positive women in Central America are being pressured to undergo sterilisation by prejudiced health workers and misled about the risk of the virus being transmitted to their unborn children, a study showed.

A survey of 285 women living with HIV in El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua found that 23 percent of them had faced pressure from doctors and nurses to be sterilised.

To read this article, go here.

Kyrgyzstan moves towards adoption of Russia’s anti-gay law. Lawmakers in Kyrgyzstan have voted in favour of adopting a tougher version of Russia’s law against ‘gay propaganda’. If passed, the Kyrgyz version would mandate jail terms for gay-rights activists and others, including journalists, who create “a positive attitude toward non-traditional sexual relations.”

The vaguely-worded bill passed its first reading on Wednesday with a vote of 79 to 7, AKIpress reported (the 120-seat legislature is rarely full).

To read this article, go here.

Health advocates urge better education to curb China’s AIDS infections. China has a relatively low prevalence of HIV positive citizens, with fewer than point-one (0.1) percent of adults infected. But the number of AIDS cases continues to rise, and health advocates blame a lack of education and prevention.

The number of people with HIV in China is fairly low given the size of the population. According to official statistics, 800,000 Chinese are living with HIV, but health officials are concerned about a rise in HIV transmission, particularly among the young.

To read this article go here.

Sex education can help curb crime against women, children. Union health minister Harsh Vardhan may not approve of sex education in schools, but experts gathered under the aegis of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) felt that sex education could go a long way in reducing crimes against women and children.

At a function organized by the FPAI on Wednesday, experts said the comprehensive sex education (CSE) could help youngsters resist social pressure and say no to exploitation.

To read this article, go here.

Tools You Can Use

Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS (YEAH) and UNESCO’s HIV & Sexual Health Peer Education Hub (Hub) by YEAH and UNESCO. The Peer Education Hub is a cutting edge online platform that encourages free, open source sharing of youth HIV and sexual health peer education resources and tools amongst those working in similar programs around the world. It aims to build a culture of sharing and maximising our collective impact and reach.

You can access the Hub here. If you would like more information about the Hub or would be interested in collaborating on the Hub, please contact alex@yeah.org.au

Geographic Information System Techniques for M&E of HIV/AIDS and Related Programs Certificate Course by MEASURE Evaluation. This course presents a practical guide for using a geographic information system (GIS) to integrate, visualize, and analyze geographically-referenced data extracted from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and other key data sets to facilitate monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of HIV/AIDS and related health programs.

To make the course accessible to learners without commercial GIS software licenses, the course focuses on the use of free and open source software (FOSS).

The certificate course is now available online at no cost to learners. MEASURE Evaluation and the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project collaborated to develop the course, which is published on the USAID Global Health eLearning Center and MEASURE Evaluation M&E Learning Center.

For related information, see a blog post on mapping as a skill for the future and an infographic on MEASURE Evaluation GIS eLearning.

Women, Girls, HIV/AIDS and Conflicts: Situation Analysis of 11 Selected Conflict and Post Conflict Countries by Social Affairs Department and the Peace and Security Department (PSD) of the African Union Commission. In 2008, the African Union Commission commissioned the first desk review on “Women and Girls, HIV/AIDS and Conflicts: Situation Analysis of 11 Selected Conflict and Post-Conflict Countries in Africa”. This second review assesses the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the first Desk Review.

The 11 countries that were included in the First Desk Review were Angola, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. With the South Sudan becoming the newest nation on the continent, this Second Desk Review includes it in the analysis using the available data.

Protecting Schools from Attack in Nigeria and Beyond: How to Support Community-Based Responses by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). This report examines how organizations supporting education programs have engaged communities to protect schools, students, and teachers in countries experiencing attacks on education. GCPEA has documented a pattern of attacks in 30 countries in the last five years.

The report is intended as a guide for people working in the field. In it, GCPEA urges international and local organizations to seek guidance and input from affected communities when working to prevent and respond to violent attacks on education.anizations supporting education programs have engaged communities to protect schools, students, and teachers in countries experiencing attacks on education.

To access the report, go here.

Being LGBT in Asia Mongolia Country Report by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the (UNDP). Mongolia’s first report assessing the challenges for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities reveals they still face discrimination despite significant government policy changes that protect their rights. According to the report, Mongolia was the first country in Asia to integrate LGBT issues in the sex education curriculum for schools in 1998. Despite this progress, Mongolian LGBT people live in a society where there is strong pressure to marry a person of the opposite sex and have children and those who do not are socially isolated and can face discrimination at work.

To view the report, go here.

Map of signatories and ratifications of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol by the United Nations. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol (A/RES/61/106) was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and was opened for signature on 30 March 2007. There were 82 signatories to the Convention, 44 signatories to the Optional Protocol, and 1 ratification of the Convention. This is the highest number of signatories in history to a UN Convention on its opening day. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century and is the first human rights convention to be open for signature by regional integration organizations.

To view a map of signatories and ratifications, go here.

Coming Up

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25. In 1999, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime — with the abuser usually someone known to her. Up to 70 percent of women experience sexual or physical violence from men in their lifetime. Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, it devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development.

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

To view Advocates for Youth’s fact sheet on gender inequality and violence against women and girls around the world, click here.

To get ideas on how to take action, check out these two campaigns for mobilizing to end violence against women!

Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women. Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women is a social mobilization platform on ending violence against women and girls, contributing towards UN Secretary General’s system -wide campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women. Launched in November 2009 by UN Women, Say NO – UNiTE showcases advocacy efforts and engages people from all walks of life, online and on the ground. UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman is the Spokesperson of Say NO – UNiTE.

Based on country data available, between 15 to 76 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime. It happens everywhere – at home and at work, on the streets and in schools, during peacetime and in conflict. Violence against women and girls has far- reaching consequences, harming families and communities, stunting human development, and undermining economic growth. Everyone has a role to play in combating this global pandemic; the time to act together is NOW.

Say NO – UNiTE aims to trigger and highlight actions by individuals, governments and civil society partners. Actions can range from reaching out to students at schools, to volunteering at local shelters, advocating for legislation or donating funds towards programmes that protect women and girls from violence, and more. Every action is counted to symbolize the groundswell of engagement that exists on the issue.

To find out more, go here.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWLG) in 1991. This year’s theme is: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence. Read more…





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