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September 2015 iYAN Newsletter

Advocates for Youth Newsletter

September 2015

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 Recruits its 2015-2016 International Youth Leadership Council. Advocates for Youth is pleased to welcome new members to its International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC). Advocates’ IYLC works to inform global and US foreign policy that impacts young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the global south; mobilize and educate peers about sexual and reproductive health and rights issues and policies; raise awareness through media outreach; and serve as spokespersons at high-level meetings.

This year’s members include: Angela, Eve, Kalpana, Liliana, Morgan, and Sarika, and Allison. They attend Georgetown University, American University, University of Maryland, and the George Washington University in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This year’s members are passionate about many issues, like sex education, contraceptive access, safe abortion, prevention of campus sexual assault, LGBTQ rights, and more. They come from diverse backgrounds with experiences like serving as sexual and reproductive health educators, resource persons on sexual assault, and activists in their communities.

We look forward to working with this year’s IYLC! With the release of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, council members will be working to ensure that in its implementation, member states invest in young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and deliver the programs and services that young people need, including for those who are most marginalized. The IYLC will be busy working to hold the United States government accountable for its promises and commitments to young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights internationally and to inform US foreign policies and investments that impact their lives. Members will also be blogging and engaging their peers on their university campuses in efforts to advocate for their rights. So stay tuned for more—they will be very busy starting this month!

Tools You Can Use

Youth Leadership eCourse on International Youth Day By the Leadership, Management, and Governance Project, USAID.

This course was designed for young leaders working to improve health outcomes in their communities around the world. The eCourse covers eight different leading and managing practices, includes modules for developing skills, including aligning and mobilizing your community and inspiring your peers to action, and provides strategies for how to overcome obstacles. An interactive learning tool, many of the eCourse modules are taught through videos of young leaders sharing how leadership practices have contributed to successes in their own lines of work!

To access the course, follow this link.

Special Series of the British Medical Journal.

This special series of the British Medical Journal is focused on women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. Sixteen papers in this series authored by individuals from different organisations provide the evidence synthesis for the new Surgeon General’s global strategy on women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health.

All papers are available online and can be accessed here.

Further information can also be accessed here.

The 2015 World Population Data Sheet by the Population Reference Bureau.

The 2015 World Population Data Sheet is now available. In addition to the data sheet, at the link below, you can also access:

  • An interactive world data map
  • “Measuring Up” – a brief animated video about key population statistics and the state of women’s empowerment globally
  • The PRB Data Dashboard – an interactive data discovery tool
  • An Insights section providing a progress report on the MDG3 indicators
  • A Data Gallery highlighting graphics and analysis of six critical women’s empowerment issues such as early marriage, use of modern contraceptives, household decision-making power and financial inclusion of women.


To access the data sheet and these other related resources, go here.

Family Planning in Latin America: The Achievements of 50 Years: Executive Summary By Bertrand J, Ward V, and Roberto Santiso-Gálvez R.

Family planning is a lifesaving intervention that benefits individual women, families, communities and nations. By allowing women to delay childbearing, space births, and avoid unintended pregnancies, family planning can prevent as many as one in three maternal deaths. This report examines the 50-year period starting in the mid-1960s that witnessed a dramatic decline in fertility and steady increase in contraceptive use in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. The current contraceptive prevalence rate (all methods) of 74 percent is among the highest of any region in the developing world.

In addition, the report is informed by eight associated case studies that examine the experiences of selected countries of the region: Colombia, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. The case studies drew on the in-depth interviews held in those countries and conducted for this report.

To access the document in English, go here.

To access the document in Spanish, go here.

The Use of Narrative for Behavior Change in Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health By USAID, E2A Evidence to Action for Strengthening Reproductive Health, and Pathfinder International.

Currently, efforts to promote behavior change among young people are often fragmented by the different public health discourses and sub-disciplines of behavior change, narrative/entertainment-education, and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH). Each sub-discipline looks at the topic through its own lens, which has led “narrative + behavior change + youth” to be less than the sum of its parts. This resource brief offers a summary of discussions among experts around these issues and recommendations that can be applied when using narratives in behavior change programs for youth.

To access this brief, go here.

Improving Access to Family Planning Can Promote Food Security in the Face of Ethiopia’s Changing Climate By University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center, MEASURE Evaluation PRH.

Climate change is resulting in rising temperatures and shifts in rainfall patterns that are expected to decrease agricultural productivity in Ethiopia. Currently, many parts of the country are facing acute food insecurity. Ensuring sufficient food for Ethiopia’s growing population will require new strategies to boost agricultural yields, and to sustain progress in improving access to nutritious foods for Ethiopia’s poorest and most affected populations. New research demonstrates that slower population growth, achievable by addressing women’s needs for family planning, can also play a significant role in adapting to climate change and promoting future food security in Ethiopia.

To access the report, go here.

Do not Wake Up a Sleepy Lion: Mapping the Legal Environment of LGBTQ Persons in Francophone West Africa By the Queer African Youth Network (QAYN).

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the legal environment of LGBTQ persons in Francophone West Africa. The report provides an analysis of criminal legislation, legislation on civil liberties and rights, and legislation on economic and social rights; implementation of such legislation; and recommendations.

To access the report in English, go here.

To access the report in French, go here.

Uganda Report of Violations Based on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation By the Consortium on Monitoring Violations Based on Sex Determination, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.

This report is based on 89 documented cases of violations of rights of persons based on their gender identity and sexual orientation. Violations in 47 cases were perpetrated by state actors especially the Uganda Police Force. The report also highlights the influence of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in the violations that occurred in 2014. It reveals increased violations of the of rights of LGBT people by non state actors- there was increased mob attacks, family rejection, evictions and media outings.

The report can be accessed here.

My Voice Counts!

Check Out the Bright Ideas Campaign.

The Bright Ideas Campaign is an initiative geared towards showcasing the ideas of young people from Commonwealth countries who are leading positive change in their community, country or region.

To access the tool kit for this campaign, go here.

Vote for a Project You Care About.

The 2015 Out of the Box Prize, an initiative of Kansas University, USA, is a global competition for grass-root social initiatives. Now the public is voting online to find number one and two of the top 10 projects. Whether you are interested in supporting efforts to provide girls with free feminine hygiene management products in Kenya or water and sanitation services in northern Ghana, check out these finalists and cast your votes here.

Attention Women’s Groups in Africa–Check Out the Urgent Action Fund for Women.

Urgent Action Fund-Africa is a consciously feminist and women’s human rights pan-African Fund registered in Nairobi, Kenya. Recognizing the need to move resources rapidly on a continent where opportunities arise and decline quickly, UAF-Africa uses a Rapid Response Grant making model to support unanticipated, time sensitive, innovative and unique initiatives. The Fund supports women to seize windows of opportunity that promote women’s agency in democratic governance, economic justice, natural resources governance, conflict transformation and justice processes while protecting their personhood, integrity and human rights.

To date, the Fund has supported over 700 women’s catalytic initiatives in 48 African countries. Grant applications are accepted in the 5 African Union official languages (English, French, Kiswahili, Portuguese and Arabic).

For application frequently asked questions go here.

To apply, go here.

Groups Working to Advance LGBT Rights–Check Out the Love Fund Grant Opportunity!

The Love Fund wishes to reach out to those areas where anti-LGBT laws are harsh and extreme and where funding is in short supply. If you are you part of an LGBT rights group, collective, charity or community working towards equality laws, acceptance and inclusion, check out the information here. For the application form, go here. The deadline for completed applications to be returned is 31st October 2015.

Coming up

October 11: International Day of the Girl Child.

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 The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.

Nations around the world are now gathering in New York in late September to adopt the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which will drive future development priorities for the next 15 years. Use this International Day of the Girl Child to educate leaders and peers about these new goals and specifically, the ones that address girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights:

  • 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.

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


  1. Read and share the Girl Declaration—a declaration developed by over 500 adolescent girls that lays out principles, goals and targets to advance girls’ rights and well-being. To access the Girl Declaration, go here.
  • Reach out to community groups and organize events like skits, debates, or contests to raise awareness of the importance of ensuring girls’ rights.
  • 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 and nutrition, including to decide if, when and whom to marry; to safety, free from physical violence, rape and exploitation; to economic security; and to citizenship.
  • 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.
  • Blog on www.amplifyyourvoice.org about what the day means to you, challenges facing girls in your community, and why these are important today and in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Inform yourself and others! Check out and share these resources:


Read All About It!

Many disabled children in poorer countries left out of primary education.

An estimated 500,000 children with disabilities are not enrolled in South Africa’s educational system, according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The findings reflect a global trend. Children with disabilities continue to be left out of school even as some countries assert that they have met the millennium development goal (MDG) to grant every child access to primary education.

To read this article, go here.

ADB, UN Women to partner on study to track progress on gender equality in Asia.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) announced today that they will collaborate on a study that will track Asia and the Pacific’s progress in meeting its gender equality goals under the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework which will run to 2030.

To read this article, go here.

India weighs update to 1970s abortion law.

Last month, the plight of a 14-year-old rape survivor seeking to terminate her pregnancy renewed the debate surrounding India’s abortion laws.

The girl, whose case was being considered by the Supreme Court, was 24 weeks pregnant.

Current laws allow abortion only at up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The 44-year-old law allows abortion for women not as a right but only if doctors are of the opinion, taken in “good faith”, continuing the pregnancy involves substantial risks for the physical and mental health of the mother or of fetal abnormalities developing.

To read this article, go here.

Morocco moves to legalize abortions in cases of rape and incest.

It’s been eight years since Hinde Bariaz went to a medical clinic in this capital city to obtain an illegal abortion. All these years later, she remembers the experience vividly.

The clinic was dirty, Bariaz said, with air heavy from cigarette smoke. “The doctor was smoking. I had to wonder, ‘Am I in a market?’ It was not safe at all,” Bariaz, 35, said. “You just go inside, you finish the operation and you leave as quickly as possible.”

It’s been eight years since Hinde Bariaz went to a medical clinic in this capital city to obtain an illegal abortion. All these years later, she remembers the experience vividly.

To read this article, go here.

Teenage pregnancies on the rise in Upper East (Ghana).

Participants at a two day training workshop organized in Bolgatanga by the Presbyterian Health Service-North (PHS-N) have attributed the spate of teenage pregnancies in the Region largely to the lack of Adolescent Reproductive Health Education.

Available statistics show that the Upper East Region has the highest record of teenage pregnancies among the three regions in the North.

To read this article, go here.

Sierra Leone: National Family Planning Campaign launched.

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), will today launch the National Family Planning campaign themed: “Children by choice, not by chance”.

To read this article, go here.

Niger steps up fight against cancers stalking women.

Niger has stepped up the fight against breast and cervical cancer, using screening and public awareness campaigns to reverse a scourge affecting more and more women in the prime of life.

“The situation in Niger is very alarming,” said oncologist IssimouhaDille. “Breast and cervical cancer are serious public health problems.”

To read this article, go here.

Tunisia’s lesbian community mobilizes against deep-rooted prejudice.

Nawel was in Tunis’s city centre when it happened. “This guy came up to me from nowhere. He was dressed really religiously and, without any warning, he just slapped me across the face – and the weird thing was that it wasn’t just the slap. It was that no one did anything. They all just carried on. It was if I deserved it.”

To read this article, go here.



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