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, Amplifyyourvoice.org.
By Joe, Lebanon/United States
Young sexual and reproductive rights advocates continue to push for the full integration of a rights-based approach in relation to advancing population and development goals.That was the overarching message of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Regional Youth Summit.
Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, where activists representing over 40 international organizations gathered and developed a Call to Action, ensuring young people sexual and reproductive rights continue to be integrated in development agendas.
By Jayouth, Jamaica
Having spent 9 days in Montevideo, it is safe to say mission accomplished!
The first regional conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean hosted by ECLAC was held in the historic Uruguayan capital, Montevideo. Though at this time I have mixed feelings (relief, disappointment, satisfaction, a bit of annoyance, etc..) related to the views held be some countries on the issues of concern, I am really happy to have had the opportunity to be there.
By Javan, Jamaica
The Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network’s online Petition to the Minister of Health is timely as government has been dragging its feet in addressing swiftly the need to have congruent laws and policies that would seek to promote and protect the sexual reproductive health and rights of young people in Jamaica. The Government is a signatory to several ratified international treaties or conventions such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and CEDAW. The petition therefore calls on the Minister and by extension the government to honour these international commitments and ensure equal access to comprehensive sex education and health services to become a reality for youth in Jamaica. The petition also calls for a clear outline of a vision for the post 2015 development agenda.
By anapas-sharma, Nepal
Sexual behavior of the young people is being one of the major areas of the concern of the government of Nepal. The Government has developed the National Adolescent Health and Development Strategy and the Young People Development Program with interventions planned to increase knowledge on sexual and reproductive health issues and availability of services. Despite of bulgy interventions and programs for reproductive health services, the young people still hesitate to seek the sexual health services.
What’s Going on at Advocates for Youth?
Advocates’ Youth Activist and Staff Present at USAID’s 2013 Education Summit
From August 6-8, 2013, in Washington, DC, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted its biennial Education Summit: State of the Field, State of the Art. The Summit is being hosted halfway through the implementation of USAID’s Education Strategy, which is focused on three main goals:
-Improved reading skills for 100 million children in primary grades by 2015;
-Improved ability of tertiary and workforce development programs to produce a workforce with relevant skills to support country development goals by 2015; -Increased equitable access to education in crisis and conflict environments for 15 million learners by 2015.
Advocates’ staff hosted a brown-bag presentation and discussion focused on meaningful youth engagement from an organizational perspective. Advocates’ staff led a discussion on what it means to engage young people meaningfully, outlined benefits of youth engagement, and shared strategies for engaging young people and lessons learned.
Later that same day, Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council member, Joe, presented on a panel entitled “Youth Engagement: Soliciting Youth Input to Shape Policies, Priorities, and Practice.” Joe shared his perspectives on what motivates him to be an activist and the importance of inter-generational dialogue and partnerships. He also shared some of the challenges he faces when advocating for youth sexual health and rights, such as ageism and how often times policy makers and other adults in positions of power don’t take young people seriously just because of their age. Lastly, in terms of a recent success, Joe talked about his recent experience contributing to a call to action developed by young people at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Regional Youth Summit, held in Istanbul, Turkey from May 30-31st (see his blog in the “Sharing Our Passion Section” above).
Both the brown bag and panel presentations were well-received. Many attendees expressed interest in engaging young people in their work at USAID. Given the new USAID Youth Policy, in addition to the inclusion of youth participation as a topic area within this year’s Education Summit, there is increased momentum to find ways to operationalize the policy and meaningfully engage young people.
My Voice Counts!
Sign this petition hosted by Amnesty International directed to World Leaders, United Nations Permanent Representatives and International Organizations.
All over the world, hundreds of social movements, including millions of young people, are demanding justice. Local, national and international activists are speaking out, calling for the meaningful participation of young people, including young women, in all areas of public life; for their full access to information, education and livelihoods; and for fulfillment of their human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights.
The petition asks for sustained action and accountability to prioritize the health and human rights of young people, particularly young women and adolescent girls, in the ICPD+20 and post-2015 development agenda and beyond…
To view the full petition and take action, go here.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently developing a report, Health for the World’s Adolescents, which will outline recent research, the growing consensus on the importance of adolescent health, and the achievements of the health sector in improving and maintaining the health of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescents (10-19 years). Due to be released in 2014, the report will present WHO guidance; highlight the progress Member States have made in making their health sector more responsive to adolescents needs; strengthen and support global initiatives that have an impact on the health of adolescents; and provide a concrete follow-up to the World Health Assembly resolution 64.28 on Youth and Health Risks from 2011.
WHO recognizes that it is vital to incorporate the perspectives of adolescents in the report. A webpage has therefore been created through which adolescents and others working to improve their health can provide inputs. To access the webpage, go here.
The website is now open for inputs until September 15, 2013.
Global Action for Trans* Equality and American Jewish World Service are inviting all trans and intersex groups, projects and organizations to participate in a survey on the funding situation for trans* and intersex groups around the world.
This is the first ever survey to document the on-the-ground realities of groups working on trans and intersex issues globally. If you represent:
a) a trans and/or intersex organization or b) a trans and/or intersex project in a larger organization please fill the survey out! It will take approximately 15¬-35 minutes.
To participate in the survey, please click on these links:
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contribute to the Coalition of African Lesbians’ 10-Year Anniversary Publication
The Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) invites all its members and partners to submit contributions for a publication celebrating ten years of collective feminist resistance, resilience, revolution and power as lesbian and bisexual women and trans-diverse people across Africa. CAL welcomes critical and reflective articles, such as anecdotes, memories and photographs of particular moments of our history; poetry, stories, letters, speeches, conversations, diary and journal entries, and media reports; mobile text messages (cellphone, facebook, twitter, blogs etc); and creative visioning of the continent we want to live in.
The deadline for submissions is Friday the 30th of September 2013. Kindly send your submissions to CALat10@cal.org.za. CAL will confirm receipt of all submissions and follow-up with authors selected for publication. Contact Fikile Vilakazi or Liz Frank for further information.
The third International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) will be held from November 12-15 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ethiopia was selected as the location for the conference because of the country’s strong commitment to family planning and the success they have had in increasing access to family planning, 100% increase in their modern contraceptive prevalence rate (from 15% in 2005 to 29% in 2011) and also the success of their cost effective health extension workers program. The theme for 2013 is “Full Access, Full Choice.”
This year’s conference will be co-hosted by The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia with a multitude of international and national partners. In 2009 the first conference was held in Kampala, Uganda and convened more than 1,300 participants around this topic for the first time in twenty years and influenced positive change for family planning policies in Uganda.
To register, go here.
Note: as of September 30, 2013, registration fees will increase by $50 USD or 900 Ethiopian Birr!
Across the world, youth activist and organizations are lobbying governments to remove laws and policies that prevent them from accessing services related to HIV and sexual and reproductive health as well as harm reduction. They are educating their peers about HIV prevention, supporting young people living with HIV to access and adhere to treatment, speaking out against stigma and discrimination based on HIV status or sexual orientation, and engaging with policy makers and programme developers.
These pockets of change, resistance and social action must be better connected to create a strong and collaborative grassroots youth movement on HIV. To do this, a number of youth-led and youth-serving organizations came together to develop a platform called PACT for social transformations in the AIDS response.
The fifth Feminist Leadership, Movement Building and Rights Institute is a week-long course designed to strengthen feminist leadership, strategies and collective power for social transformation in Africa. The Institute will combine reflection on the current political landscape as well as past organising strategies for women’s rights in Africa by using a trans-movement-building approach. Looking at diverse movements in Africa and globally, participants will be able to relate some of the experiences and lessons from these movements to their own contexts, countries, and regions. . The Institute will cover the following topics:
- Social Movements and Power — Concepts and Theory
- Movements, Organisations, and Leadership — Theory and Practice
- Current issues and challenges of the women’s movement in Africa
- Women in Peace and Conflict Resolution
- Women’s Political Participation
- Assessing our impact — Approaches and Tools
Applications are due on or before September 15, 2013. 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.
Read All About it!
The First Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean concluded today, with the adoption of the Montevideo Consensus, a wide-ranging agreement on priority actions on several issues. These include access to sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, young persons’ rights and the integration of population into development.
According to their agreement on sexual and reproductive health, governments would take priority actions to…
To read this article, go here.
To view the Montevideo Consensus in English, go here.
To view the Montevideo Consensus in Spanish, go here.
Afghanistan’s first-ever national youth policy outlines initiatives to help young Afghans face challenges and explore opportunities in new fields, officials say. As Afghanistan prepares to enter a transformative decade (2015-2024), it is critical to make strategic and well-organised investments in its youth now, so they can realise their full potential, Kabul youth activist Shamim Khan Katawazai told Central Asia Online.
Afghanistan has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations with an annual increase of 3.1%, according to a 2012 UN Population Fund report. Roughly 68% of Afghanistan’s 26.5m citizens are under 25, with those ages 15-24 accounting for 40% of the total population, according to a 2011 Central Statistics Organisation report.
To read this article, go here.
The United Nations says that rape and sexual abuse is widespread throughout Somalia, though cases remain seriously underreported. A new report notes during the first half of the year, from January to June, some 800 cases of sexual and gender-based violence were reported in the capital, Mogadishu, alone.
Sexual and gender-based violence has been pervasive in Somalia for many years and appears to be growing. A spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, says internally displaced women and girls are most affected.
To read this article, go here.
A new Russian law that criminalizes “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” has sparked growing calls from the global gay community and its supporters for a boycott of Russia’s upcoming Winter Olympics.
While heads of state like U.S. President Barak Obama and British Prime Minister Davidd Cameron have resisted such calls, they and other high-profile figures and institutions have criticized what appears to be Moscow’s increasing anti-gay posture.
On Tuesday, FIFA, the federation governing world soccer competition, requested “clarification and more details” from the Russian government concerning the law, passed in July with vocal support from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
To read this article, go here.
Religious groups gathered Wednesday in front of Puerto Rico’s seaside capitol to protest proposed laws that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children and would establish a public school curriculum examining gender issues including sexual discrimination.
One of the island’s largest Christian organizations, Puerto Rico Pro Family, said it would seek two constitutional amendments to limit marriage to heterosexual couples and to award parents the sole right to educate their children on gender matters.
To read this article, go here.
Tools You Can Use
K4Health is pleased to mark World Humanitarian Day with the release of its new Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings Toolkit. This Toolkit provides donors, decision makers, program managers, health service providers, including emergency workers, and communications professionals, with a carefully selected collection of state-of-the-art resources and tools for delivering reproductive health and related services in challenging emergency conditions.
The Toolkit provides:
- Guidelines and tools for reproductive health service delivery in humanitarian settings.
- Information on integrating family planning services into emergency management structures.
- Resources on providing maternal and child health care for people in crisis.
- Tools for HIV prevention and treatment in humanitarian settings.
- Guidance on addressing the unique reproductive health needs of displaced young people.
- Gender considerations that should be incorporated into all disaster management programming, including reproductive health and related services.
- Guidance on preventing and addressing gender-based violence, a common threat in humanitarian settings.
- Links to key humanitarian organizations with vast experience and expertise in health services provision in emergency situations.
To view the Toolkit, go here.
By Catholic Relief Services
The Communication Toolbox offers practical guidance for program managers who want to communicate more effectively with program participants and community members. Topics covered in the toolbox include steps to developing a communications plan; communications methods; communication responsibilities and job descriptions; case studies; checklists on standards for communication in emergency settings and development programs; and additional resources.
To access the toolbox, go here.
By Plan International
One in three girls in the developing world is married by the age of 18. Despite being prohibited by international human rights law and many national laws, child marriage continues to rob millions of girls of their childhood, forcing them out of education and into a life of poor prospects. This global report sets out the actions needed to end child marriage. Read the summary or the full report to learn more.
To view the report in English, go here.
In early 2013, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) launched the “New Funding Model.” A departure from its predecessor, the rounds-based system, the New Funding Model (NFM) is designed to allow for greater flexibility, predictability, and simplicity in the application process, and promote enhanced engagement of a diversity of stakeholders in all Global Fund activities, as well as improved impact and management of grants. The purpose of this document is to provide civil society with concise guidance on key elements of the New Funding Model application process.
To access the guide, go here.
October 11: International Day of the Girl Child: Innovating for Girls’ Education
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. This year’s theme is: Innovating for Girls’ Education.
The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is key to their well-being, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights. There is overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves. Educating girls translates into reduced mortality, delayed age-at-first sex, delayed marriage, reduced risk of forced sex and, if sexually active, increased contraceptive use.
While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. Even when girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes.
Recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the 2013 International Day of the Girl Child will address the importance of new technology, but also innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves.
Here are some things that you can do to mobilize and take action on the International Day of the Girl!
- Reach out to community groups and organize events like skits, debates, or contests to raise awareness of the importance of ensuring girls’ rights to education, including access to comprehensive sexuality education.
- Mobilize others to take action and advocate for changes in local or national level policies in support of increasing girls’ access to quality education, such as cutting school fee costs; ensuring access to comprehensive sexuality education; improving public and private means of transportation for girls to get to school; providing incentives for female teachers; offering science and technology courses for girls; providing mentorship programs; and supporting use of mobile technology for teaching and reaching girls who are isolated or in remote areas.
- Blog on www.amplifyyourvoice.org about what the day means to you, challenges facing girls in your community, and how you think these could be addressed.
- Inform yourself and others! Check out and share these resources: