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October 2016 iYAN

October 2016 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 for Youth Hosts its Annual Urban Retreat training for 120 Youth Activists!

Last month, Advocates hosted its annual Urban Retreat youth activist training in Washington DC, bringing together 120 activists who represent s some of our core youth programs, including the International Youth Leadership Council. The Urban Retreat is a 3-day training followed by a lobby day that gives young people the tools, information, space, and resources to hone their sexual and reproductive health knowledge and advocacy skills.

Activists were able to learn from each other and become part of a youth-led movement to impact local, state, national and international policies and programs that affect young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Training sessions covered a variety of topics, which were informed by an advisory group of young activists as well as an open call process for young people to apply to conduct their own workshops. Some examples of topics covered included: trends and important issues in youth sexual and reproductive health and rights domestically and internationally; HIV prevention; sexual and reproductive health and rights; reproductive justice; working with the media; campaign and movement building; advocacy; public speaking; healthy and unhealthy relationships; ending gender-based violence; careers in sexual health; challenging abortion stigma; race, power and privilege; islamophobia; coalition building; inclusive sexuality education; sexual violence prevention, and self-care.

During the lobby day that followed the training, youth activists met with staff representatives of 90 U.S. congressional offices. U.S. activists met with and educated legislative staffers regarding the need for funding comprehensive sex education in the United States, as championed in the Real Education for Health Youth Act (REHYA) and the need to secure equal access to abortion coverage in health insurance, as covered in the EACH Women Act.

Activists representing the International Youth Leadership Council lead meetings with an internationally focused ask by advocating for the permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City policy), as outlined in the Global Democracy Promotion Act . The Global Gag Rule is a U.S. health policy that can be put in place by the President of the United States through an executive order. It stipulates that non-governmental organizations receiving U.S. assistance cannot use their own, separately obtained, non-U.S. funds to inform the public or educate their government on the need to make safe abortion available, provide legal abortion services, or provide advice on where to get an abortion.

As a follow-up to the Urban Retreat, all activists will be implementing action plans created during the training, which will guide their education and advocacy work on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues throughout the school year. International Youth Leadership Council members will be focusing on increasing support for international family planning funding and US foreign policy that promotes universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights; prevention of gender-based violence, child marriage, and other traditional harmful practices; and advancing gender equality and LGBT youth rights globally.

Advocates and Partners Answer and Youth Tech Health Launch AMAZE—More Info, Less Weird!

Last month, Advocates for Youth and partner organizations, Answer and Youth Tech Health, were thrilled and honored to launched AMAZE—a series of fun, funny and unique animated sexuality education videos deigned to help very young adolescents in the United States, ages 10-14, better understand puberty and the various changes that they are going through. The videos cover topics from changes in your breasts to erections, gender identity to healthy relationships and how to know when you’re ready to have sex.

At this time, there are a total of 8 videos addressing girls’ puberty, boys’ puberty, healthy relationships, and identity and expression. The videos will live on YouTube, with new videos being released weekly for some time. The videos are also available on the web site AMAZE.org, which is a great resource for young people as well as parents and educators.

While these videos are developed with and for a US audience, stay tuned because AMAZE will be going global in the future!!! To access the AMAZE web site, go to: www.AMAZE.org.

Advocates’ International Youth Speak Out Alum in Nepal Selected as Johnson and Johnson Global Leaders

One of Advocates’ former International Youth Speak Out activists from Nepal, Ursula, was recently selected as one of 20 Johnson & Johnson Young Leaders. As a Johnson & Johnson Young Leader, she was invited to attend the Global Citizen Festival that took place in New York City last month. While in New York, Ursula participated in Young Leader program activities and social media efforts, in addition to submitting her own project to Johnson & Johnson’s CARINGCROWD® web site.

Back in 2015, Ursula founded her own organization, the Sauharda Foundation, which is dedicated to countering social injustice and promoting positive peace. She is working to launch a project focused on educating and empowering adolescent girls who survived the 2015 earthquakes with information about puberty, feminine hygiene management, and other sexual and reproductive health and rights topics.

If you are interested in spreading the word about her project or would like to contribute, go to this link to access her page on the CARINGCROWD® web site. Advocates for Youth is serving as a fiscal sponsor and therefore all funds are provided to the Sauharda Foundation for direct implementation in Nepal.

My Voice Counts!

Calling on Adolescents and Young People to Enter the World in Your Hands Art Contest

The Coalition for Adolescent Girls and Together for Girls invite adolescents and young people around the world to submit artwork that illustrates the artists’ understanding of ‘influence.’ The contest organizers encourage interested adolescents and young people to use their creativity and talent to create a piece of art that is built around one of the following questions:

  • Who influences you in a positive way?

  • How do you want to influence others or change other people’s lives?

  • How do you use your influence, or your voice, to make the world a better, brighter place?

RULES: All individuals between the ages of 12-24 may enter. Entries can be photographs, paintings, drawings, sculpture, or poetry. For full contest rules click here.

INSTRUCTIONS: Instructions on how to photograph your art work is available here.

PRIZES: The top entries will be featured in Together for Girls’ Safe magazine and at an event at the 2017 Commission on the Status of Women.

DEADLINE: January 20, 2017 (Winners will be announced in March 2017) Click here to enter the contest! Have questions? Contact Sacha Green-Atchley, CAG Coordinator, at CAGartcontest@gmail.com

There’s Still Time for FRIDA’s 5th Call for Proposals

FRIDA, the Young Feminist Fund, is the only youth-led fund focused exclusively on supporting global young feminist activism to advance social justice movements and agendas. FRIDA was created to bring new resources and new opportunities to young women and trans* youth globally. This year FRIDA is celebrating its fifth birthday and have launched their 5th call for proposals that will support up to 30 new young feminist groups led by young women and trans* youth under 30 years of age.

For more information, go here! There is still time to apply–applications are due November 10, 2016.

Nominate an Inspirational Leader for the 2017 David Kato Vision & Voice Award

The Secretariat of the David Kato Vision & Voice Award (DKVVA) is pleased to announce that the call for nominations for the 2017 award is now open! The award celebrates the life and work of Ugandan human rights activist David Kato, who was murdered in his Kampala home in January 2011. To honor David’s legacy, the DKVVA was founded to recognize leaders who work to uphold the sexual rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world.

The Voice Award is awarded annually to an individual who demonstrates courage and outstanding leadership in advocating for the sexual rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, particularly in environments where these individuals face continued rejection, marginalization, isolation and persecution. The award is accompanied by a one-time grant of $10,000 and the award recipient will be invited to accept the award at a key annual event.

Nominations for the 2017 award close on 14 November and can be completed online @ www.visionandvoiceaward.com/nomination-form.

For more information please visit www.visionandvoiceaward.com. Any questions can be directed to info@kaleidoscopetrust.com.

Apply for the Rapid Response Fund

In many countries lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and men who have sex with men (MSM) experience higher rates of HIV infection and poorer access to HIV services because of stigma, discrimination and the threat of violence. The Rapid Response Fund provides funding when a rapid intervention is necessary to address barriers preventing LGBT people and MSM from accessing HIV services.

The fund is available to civil society organisations that are LGBT led, or that work closely with LGBT people and MSM, in 29 countries where these communities are at high risk of experiencing human rights violations. Grants of up to a maximum of US$20,000 are available for interventions that respond to situations or events that threaten the health and safety of LGBT people and MSM or their access to HIV services.

There are two types of grants are available:

  • Emergency Response Grants: These are available to support activities that respond to immediate and urgent threats to the LGBT community, and where action must happen very quickly to be effective. Emergency Response Grants are available on an ongoing basis.

  • Challenge Response Grants: These are for longer term projects aimed at influencing legal, policy or other developments deemed hostile to LGBT communities and that affect the ability to access HIV services for LGBT people. Challenge Response Grant applications are assessed every two weeks.

For more information, go here.


Tools You Can Use

Fulfil! A Guidance Document for the Implementation of Young People’s Sexual Rights
By The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

Translating the sexual rights of young people into practice not only involves raising awareness among young people for them to claim their rights, but working with duty bearers, such as health providers, educators and policymakers for them to fulfil these rights in law and in services. As adolescence is a time of gradually gaining responsibilities, implementing the rights of adolescents specifically involves a dynamic process of striking a balance between protecting them while respecting their autonomy and promoting their empowerment. Fulfil! was written with the input of a large group of experts from the human rights, sexual and reproductive health and youth communities. It addresses critical opportunities to implement young people’s sexual rights in a global context and provides specific guidance for policy makers, health providers and educators. To access the document, go here.

Harnessing the Power of Data for Girls

This brochure includes the first global estimates on the time girls spend doing household chores such as cooking, cleaning, caring for family members, and collecting water and firewood. The data show that the disproportionate burden of domestic work begins early, with girls between 5 and 9 years old spending 30 per cent more time on household chores than boys. The disparities grow as girls get older, with 10 to 14 year olds spending 50 per cent more time on household chores than boys their age. To access ths brochure, go here.

Every Last Girl
By Save the Children UK

Every Last Girl, the second report in the Every Last Child series, ranks the world’s countries according to five indicators: child marriage, adolescent fertility, maternal mortality (as an indicator to access to good-quality healthcare), women MPs and lower-secondary school completion. To access this report, go here.

Collaborating to Advance Normative Change for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
By USAID/ Passages Project

The Passages Project is a USAID-funded project (from 2015 to 2020) to foster normative environments that enable young people to use modern family planning and achieve healthy timing of first and subsequent pregnancies through scalable programs. This report documents results from a stakeholder analysis consisting of 147 online surveys and 21 in-depth interviews with stakeholders in the sexual and reproductive health and adolescent health fields. Results revealed widespread support for the implementation of social norm change interventions at scale and that there is an urgent need for new evidence, the development of guidance tools, consensus around theories and definitions, and the synthesis and rapid dissemination of information.

The Lancet Series on Maternal Health 2016
By The Lancet

Each year, about 210 million women become pregnant and about 140 million newborn babies are delivered. The sheer scale of maternal health issues makes maternal well-being and survival vital concerns. A decade after The Lancet published a Series on maternal survival, a new Series of six papers brings our knowledge of maternal health, its epidemiology, successes, and current failings together, and at a crucial time within the sustainable development framework to 2030. The Series concludes with a call to action setting out five key targets which need to be met to ensure the progression of broader sustainable development goals (SDGs). To view the Series, go here.

Contraception: past, present and future and why it matters
By the World Health Organization

The video series is intended for program managers and policy makers to reinforce their commitment to prioritize modern contraception programmes and research based on a better understanding of the history and future directions of family planning and contraception. The four videos provide a historical perspective the origins, methods, social norms, attitudes and politics of family planning and contraception; highlight the short and long term developments that are likely to occur in the field of family planning and contraception by 2030; highlight perspectives of youth regarding status and challenges of contraceptive services and priority areas in which they would like to see progress; and outline WHO’s vision, mission and current work in family planning and contraception in the global perspective. To view the videos, go here.

Coming up

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated the 25th of November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day. In fact, since 1981, women activists have marked the 25th of November as a day against violence, following the brutal assassination of the three Mirabal sisters in 1960. The Mirabal sisters were political activists in the Dominican Republic, who were killed on orders of the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961). Unfortunately, still today, 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries, so there is much work to be done.

To find out more about the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, go here.

To access the above infographic, go here.

To honor this day and continue the fight to end violence against women, there are a number of campaigns that you can champion to get the word out.

Explore the UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women

This year’s call for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in 2016 is ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’. The UNiTE campaign is using the color orange to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Organize events to orange streets, schools and landmarks. The campaign also provides a moment to bring the issue of sustainable financing for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women to global prominence and presents the opportunity for resource mobilization.

Get involved and check out the campaign, go here.

To access the campaign tool kit, go here.

Check out the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign

This year marks the 25th year of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, initiated in 1991 and coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. Given insecurity and lack of safety in relation to education, particularly for girls and young women, and informed by the results of a global survey, the theme of the 16 Days Campaign is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All”. This theme recognizes that structural discrimination and inequality is perpetuated in a cycle of violence that does not end even when girls and young women are in the act of gaining an education. Gender-based violence with respect to the right to education is a consistent threat in public spaces, schools, and homes and is a detriment to the universal human right to education. Positioning the 16 Days Campaign from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and December 10 (Human Rights Day) rightfully stresses that gender-based violence is an international human rights violation and this year, calls specifically for making education safe for all.

To engage in the campaign:

1. Stay tuned by visiting the campaign website http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/about/campaign-profile:

2. Access the campaign Take Action Tool Kit and start your own campaign activities, located here.

3. Stay connected through these social media platforms:

4. Contact your Ministries of Finance, Women, Health, Education, Youth and Sports, and ask them to prioritize making education safe for all.

No matter which campaign you choose to engage in, be sure to inform yourself and others by accessing the above tool kits and other resources like these from Advocates for Youth on gender-based violence, located here and adolescent girls, located here.

Read All About It!

Girls spend 40% more time on chores than boys, UN report finds. Unicef said the difference in time spent working amounted to 160 million extra hours a day worldwide. Two out of three girls cook and clean in the home, and almost half collect water or firewood. They also perform more “less visible” domestic work like childcare or looking after the elderly, the report says. To read this article, go here.

Hontiveros laments setbacks in RH law implementation (The Philippines). Senator Risa Hontiveros lamented on Tuesday the setbacks to the full implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, a controversial measure passed by the previous administration four years ago amid Catholic Church opposition. To read this article, go here.

Malaysia reports first case of pregnant woman with Zika virus. Malaysia has reported its first case of a pregnant woman with Zika, who lives in a state bordering Singapore where authorities have already recorded 275 cases. The 27-year-old woman in the southern state of Johor is the third person with Zika in Malaysia, where fears of a full-blown outbreak emanating from Singapore are mounting. To read this article, go here.

Anti-gay sentiment seen threatening Indonesia’s goal to end AIDS by 2030. Growing anti-gay sentiment in Indonesia could hamper efforts to combat fast-rising HIV infections among one of the most at-risk groups, threatening the country’s target to end an AIDS epidemic by 2030, a senior official has warned. To read this article, go here.

Mexico court lets re-education for abortions stand. When Patricia Mendez miscarried in March 2015, she says police and detectives were called into the hospital ward to watch as she writhed in pain and expelled the dead, 20-week fetus. “I was naked, with just the robe they give you, and I had all of them around as I miscarried,” the 21-year-old recalled. “I was in a lot of pain, but nobody did anything. They just said, ‘Confess, you have committed the worst sin. To read this article, go here.

Indian medical students use pads and poems to tackle period taboos. When Kavya Menon first brought up the idea of installing a sanitary pad dispenser in the girls’ bathroom of Calicut Medical College, fellow students said she shouldn’t really discuss such matters openly at a student union meeting, where boys were present. “It was strange. I mean, we’re supposed to become doctors yet some people would say, ‘How can you talk about this here?’” To read this article, go here.

How did Nigeria secure the 21 Chibok girls’ release from Boko Haram? They were handed over to a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross who provided assistance during the transfer of the girls. A few hours later this group of young girls, whose kidnap from their school dormitories in the town of Chibok triggered international condemnation more than two years ago, were arriving in the capital Abuja to be received by the country’s vice-president. To read this article, go here.


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