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October 2017 iYAN Newsletter

Advocates for Youth Newsletter


October 2017 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 for Youth Hosts its Annual Urban Retreat training for 120 Youth Activists!

Photo: Advocates’ 2017 Urban Retreat Participants

Last month, Advocates hosted its annual Urban Retreat youth activist training in Washington DC, bringing together 113 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, make connections, and develop action plans to ultimately 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.

During the lobby day that followed the training, youth activists conducted 84 visits with staff representatives of U.S. congressional offices. U.S. activists met with and educated legislative staffers regarding the importance of eliminating funding for abstinence until marriage only sexuality education and the need for funding comprehensive sexuality education instead, as championed in the Real Education for Health Youth Act (REHYA).

Photo: Youth activists in between meetings on Capitol Hill, 2017 Urban Retreat participants

Activists representing the International Youth Leadership Council lead meetings with an internationally focused request to staffers, advocating for the permanent repeal of the recently expanded Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City policy), as outlined in the Global Health Empowerment and Rights 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 and educate women about abortion, refer women to abortion services, provide abortion services, or advocate for access to safe and legal 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 permanently repealing the Global Gag Rule; increasing support for international family planning funding; ensuring continued support for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; and protecting and advancing 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 gender equality and LGBT youth rights globally.

My Voice Counts!

Apply to Become a Member of the African Queer Youth Initiative

The African Queer Youth Initiative (AQYI) was formed by a dedicated group of LGBTI youth in the region during the 2015 Changing Faces, Changing Spaces conference in Kenya. AQYI is committed to advocating for the sexual health, rights and general wellbeing of LGBTI youth in the African continent. AQYI does this through networking, advocating, knowledge generation and information sharing, capacity development, building partnerships and training youth in the community.

AQUI is currently looking for young people in the African continent who are passionate about the sexual health, rights and wellbeing of LGBTI youth in the region. Most of the work of the AQYI is conducted online through skype calls, google docs, doodle polls and emails. They rely on an active volunteer membership to achieve their goals and objectives.

To be a member, you must be between the ages of 18 and 35, be a member of the LGBTI community, have a basic understanding of English, and commit to achieving the goals and objectives of the AQYI.

The deadline to apply is October 16, 2017. For more information and to apply, go here.

Apply for a Small Grant from the Australian High Commission Nigeria

The Australian High Commission Nigeria is seeking applications for its Small Grants – Direct Aid Program (DAP), a flexible small grants program run directly by the Australian High Commission in Abuja. DAP is primarily aimed at supporting small-scale sustainable development projects and activities, which are participatory in nature and actively engage the beneficiaries in the design, development, and implementation of the project.

The upper funding limit for an individual project is 60,000 Australian dollars based on the exchange rate at the time of funding. Eligible sectors include, but are not limited to:

  • education;

  • agriculture;

  • promotion of human rights;

  • governance;

  • health;

  • water and sanitation; and

  • environment/conservation.

Special attention is given to activities that address gender equality and women’s empowerment; or focus on the needs of people with disabilities and vulnerable groups. The deadline to apply is October 31, 2017. For more information, please visit Direct Aid Program.

Tools You Can Use

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index
By the International Youth Foundation

This index gathers and connects youth-related data to assess and compare the state of young people’s wellbeing around the world. The 2017 Index is the second edition, following the inaugural report in 2014. The Index is designed to facilitate both thought and action by elevating youth needs and opportunities and young people’s participation on national and global agendas. It also provides public and private sector decision-makers an easier way to understand the big picture, guide actions and investments, and drive progress over time. The countries included in the 2017 Index represent nearly 70 percent of the world’s youth, and this edition includes youth perceptions data. To access the index, go to here.

Understanding and Tackling the Gendered Drivers of Poor Adolescent Mental Health
By the International Center for Research on Women

This paper provides a starting point for discussion about what is currently known about the connections among gender, adolescence and mental health, and to provide some initial considerations to help guide a research and program agenda moving forward. It begins with a broad discussion of gender and health during adolescence, then turns more specifically to what is known about gender and mental health in this important life phase. It then highlights some existing interventions, poses imperatives for future work, and draws conclusions for further consideration. To access this paper, go here.

Mapping of Organizations Working in Youth-friendly Health Services in Malawi
By Health Policy Plus

Malawi is one of the few countries in the region to have implemented youth-friendly health services (YFHS) and has a national YFHS strategy for 2015–2020. This map provides a glimpse of partners working in YFHS in each district as of 2017. Partners were identified through a mapping exercise, conducted by HP+ in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Reproductive Health Directorate, in which district YFHS coordinators provided information on the partners working in each district. To access the map, go here.

Building Evidence to Support the Provision of Implants at Community Level Through Task-Sharing in Kaduna and Cross River State, Nigeria
By the Evidence to Action Project

This study assessed the effects of Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) providing implants on contraceptive uptake at health facilities in select Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the Cross River and Kaduna state, Nigeria. Evidence from the study can be used to support operationalization of a recent policy shift in Nigeria that expands CHEWs’ family planning tasks to include provision of implants. To read this document, go here.

Evaluation de la mise en oeuvre et des réalisations de l’Approche 3D au sein du Plan d’Action National de Planification Familiale (PANPF) au Sénégal
By the Evidence Project

Cette étude documente l’Approche 3D en relation avec le PANPF à travers une revue documentaire et une recherche qualitative. Elle décrit aussi les leçons apprises de sa mise en œuvre et partage les bonnes pratiques que d’autres pays pourraient adopter, en particulier ceux du Partenariat de Ouagadougou. Enfin, l’étude fournit des évidences pour la prise de décision, notamment en vue de l’élaboration du prochain PANPF. Pour accéder le rapport de synthèse, aller ici here.

Read All About It!

Violence against girls “accepted part of being female”. From girls being coerced to have sex in exchange for school books to being forced into marriage, violence against girls is seen as an accepted part of being female, a report said on Monday. The study by U.K.-based children’s charity, Plan International, interviewed 301 teenage girls and boys in Colombia, Uganda and Spain, about gender roles and stereotypes. To read the article, go here.

This is what happens when gender roles are forced on kids. Most sex education classes begin in high school. But a new study suggests that, no matter where children live, real talk about relationships, identity and sexuality should start even earlier to minimize the negative impacts of gender roles. You’ve probably heard it before: More than biology, family, friends and society influence impressions of what it means to be a boy or a girl, placing rigid gender expectations on children from a young age. In recent years, a growing body of research has focused on health inequities that result from enforced gender norms in children. To read this article, go here.

No pain relief, no running water: the perils of childbirth in Tanzania. At the Nyarugusu medical dispensary in north-west Tanzania, Eva Paulo, 23, is in her 36th hour of labour. She paces barefoot in circles around the dusty yard behind the delivery room, her narrow back hunched in pain. Apart from her belly she is a slim woman with an angular face, her hair scraped back into rows of tidy plaits. When a contraction grips her, Paulo leans hard into the nearest tree, shuts her eyes and breathes silently as the sweat beads off her forehead. To read this article, go here.

For One NGO, the Fight Against FGM in Nigeria is Personal. Despite a law banning the practice in 2015, female genital mutilation (FGM) is still widespread in Nigeria, with young girls who have reached puberty being cut behind closed doors, especially in rural areas. It is estimated that worldwide more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM, which involves the ritual cutting or removal of external female genitalia. The majority are in Africa, as well as in the Middle East and Asia. To read this article, go here.

HIV/AIDS: From Despair to Hope, A Q&A with Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, Part I. NAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé can happily list the recent successes that the global community has scored against HIV/AIDS. And he can update you on progress of the 90-90-90 targets (by 2020, ensuring 90% of people with HIV will know their status; 90% of people diagnosed will have antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of people being treated will achieve viral suppression). But the news is not all good. 17 million people worldwide still need treatment. And people often pushed to society’s margins, including men who have sex with men, sex workers and adolescent girls, are especially vulnerable because of a lack of access to prevention and needed treatment. To read this article, go here.

Indian state investigates “police attack” on female students protesting sex assaults. Authorities in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Monday ordered an investigation into reports that police attacked and beat female students with wooden batons during a protest demanding action after a spate of campus sex attacks. To read this article, go here.

Seven arrested in Egypt after raising rainbow flag at concert. The seven were reportedly detained on Monday for “promoting sexual deviancy”, but have not yet been formally charged. Prosecutors opened an investigation after images from the concert by the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila – whose lead singer is openly gay – went viral. Homosexuality is not explicitly criminalised under Egyptian law. To read this article, go here.

Gender neutral people can change identity documents to X, replacing male or female (Malta). As from tomorrow, anybody who does not identify with the traditional male or female classification on their IDs, passports or residence permits can now opt for the gender neutral ‘X’ grouping. Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli and Parliamentary Secretary for reform Julia Portelli Farrugia this morning addressed a press conference where they announced this change will be in effect from tomorrow and also detailed the practical aspects of the process. To read this article, go here.


October 11: International Day of the Girl

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child, in order to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

Here are some things that you can do to mobilize and take action on the International Day of the Girl!

    1. Reach out to community groups, your school, or student organizations to organize events like skits, debates, or contests to raise awareness of the importance of ensuring girls’ rights.

    2. Sign up to participate in the Girls Speak Out at the United Nations on Wednesday, October 11the 3:00pm – 5:00pm EST. For more information go here and to register, click here.

    3. Share lesson plans with teachers in your community for Global Goals 3 and 5 of the new Sustainable Development Goals, located here. Global Goal 3 | Global Goal 5

    Remember that: Goal 3 is to: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, with targets to reduce the global maternal mortality and ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programs.

    Goal 5 is to: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls with targets to discrimination against women and girls, eliminate violence against women and girls, eliminate harmful practices, including child marriage and female genital cutting/mutilation, and ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in accordance with the Programme of Action of the ICPD and Beijing Platform for Action and outcomes of their review conferences.

    4. Mobilize others to take action and advocate for changes in local, national and global level policies in support of increasing girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health, including to decide if, when and whom to marry; if, when, and how many children to have; to safety, free from violence, stigma and discrimination, rape and exploitation; to economic security; and to citizenship and participation.

    5. Contact your Ministries of Health, Education, Youth and Sports, and/or Women, and Finance to educate them about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and specifically the goals related to girls’ rights.

    6. Inform yourself and others! Check out and share these resources and organizations:

• International Day of the Girl Child UN Web page, visit here.

• International Day of the Girl UN Women web page, visit here.

• Day of the Girl Summit web site, visit here.

• Advocates for Youth’s Fact Sheet: The Reproductive and Sexual Health of Adolescent Girls in Low and Middle Income Countries

• Invest in Girls and Women infographics by Women Deliver, located here

Sustainable Development goal #3 on Good Health, targets and indicators

Sustainable Development goal #5 on Gender Equality, targets and indicators

Partners and Allies: Toolkit for Meaningful Adolescent Girl Engagement

The Coalition on Adolescent Girls

Girls Not Brides

Together for Girls

The United Nations Education Initiative


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