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September 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 and Supporting Primary Education across Kenya Conduct Sexuality Education Training for Primary School Teachers in Homa Bay County

This month, Advocates and its partner organization, Supporting Primary Education Across Kenya (SPEAK) conducted a teacher training in Suba sub county in Homa Bay county as part of efforts to equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to provide sexuality education to students ages 10-14. To date, in order to raise awareness about sexual and reproductive health and rights and the benefits of sexuality education for adolescents, the program has supported community mobilization efforts through the work of field advocates who have conducted assessments, awareness-raising activities, and community-wide campaigns. The partners have also engaged key stakeholders through stakeholder meetings, which have included county level officials from the education and health sectors, , including the Assistant County Commissioner, the Chief Education Officer for Homa Bay, representatives from the health and education sectors, the Kenya National Union of Teachers, area chiefs, and local women and youth groups.

Review meetings were also held with head masters and teachers from the program’s twelve target schools and the respective county education officers in order to provide a basic orientation to sexuality education; discuss sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention needs among adolescents; local social, cultural and legal factors that can impact the delivery of sexuality education; how personal attitudes and beliefs can impact the delivery of sexuality education; typical myths and facts about sexuality education; and sexuality education materials and resources. By the end of the meetings, participants identified a total of 42 teachers to be trained through the program and explored topics, skills, and resources that would be needed by teachers for delivering sexuality education. There is significant support for the program and a strong interest in providing sexuality education at the primary school level, not only from the participating schools, but also from neighboring schools and even sub-counties.

As a result Advocates and SPEAK conducted an initial training for the 42 teachers earlier this month, based on Advocates and UNESCO’s Regional Module for Teacher Training on Comprehensive Sexuality Education for East and Southern Africa. Core content areas for the training included defining sexuality education and its benefits and countering myths; adolescent development; sexuality and values clarification; teaching methodologies; sexual and reproductive health; classroom management, and ethics and policy implications. The training modeled sexuality education teaching methods and activities and encouraged assessment of these activities with an eye to adaptation and use of techniques in the classroom.

Follow-up to the training will include opportunity for additional “teach backs,” where teachers practice their skills by teaching back a sexuality education lesson to their colleagues; provision of additional copies of resource materials, including UNESCO’s International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, lesson plans developed by Advocates and UNESCO for East and Southern Africa as well as others yet to be adapted from Advocates’ When I’m Grown life skills education resources or 3 R’s Curriculm. Further, discussions will continue with county level officials and other stakeholders to explore possibilities for supporting teachers in their efforts to delivery sexuality education.

My Voice Counts!

Attention Women’s Organizations: FRIDA’s 5th Call for Proposals is Open

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 are launching 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 to: http://youngfeministfund.org/apply-for-a-grant/.

Applications are due November 10, 2016.

Join the #DadsAndDaughters Campaign

In October, The United States State Department will launch the Dads and Daughters campaign to start a global conversation about fathers, daughters, and gender equality. For the first two weeks in October—including October 11, which marks the International Day of the Girl—they will share stories of how fathers and daughters counter stereotypes, change cultural attitudes, and support each other by advancing gender equality.

To participate during the first two weeks in October, you can post a photo, video, or a blog on social media using #DadsAndDaughters and share how your own father (if you are a daughter) or how your own daughter (if you are a father) has helped you to think differently about the strength of girls and women, and the caring potential of fatherhood.

If you are interested in your story being featured, send a photo, short video (about 2 minutes in length), or blog to SGWI_PA@state.gov by September 27. The State Department will let you know before the campaign begins if they have selected your story to be featured in the campaign.

Here are some questions to consider that can help you share your story.

  • Was there ever a time your views on gender equality changed because of something your father/daughter said or did?

  • What kind of influence has your father/daughter had on your life?

  • What’s the most important lesson you learned from your father/daughter?

  • When have you been especially proud of your father/daughter?

  • What advice would you give fathers who are raising their daughters/daughters who are being raised by their fathers?

Nominate a Young Researcher in sub-Saharan African for the Paula Kantor Award for Excellence in Field Research

This award will be given to a young female researcher who is a citizen of a sub-Saharan African country and will honor outstanding achievement in the field of gender and empowerment of women and girls. The 2016 Paula Kantor Award for Excellence in Field Research will be conferred to the winner at the launch of the International Center for Research on Women’s Africa Regional Office in December in Kampala, Uganda.

To find out more about eligibility and nomination requirements, go here.

Nominations must be submitted by midnight EST on October 14, 2016.


Tools You Can Use

What works? Systematic Assessment of Sexual and Reproductive Interventions for Young People in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
In the Journal of Adolescent Health

This special supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health provides a systematic assessment of evidence on high-quality studies for improving the sexual and reproductive health of young people living in low- and middle-income countries. The reviews focus on three adverse health-related outcomes for young people, including unintended and repeat pregnancy, child marriage, and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. The research took more than four years to complete and the study team reviewed over 57,000 articles from both peer-reviewed journals and grey literature. The findings show that there are a number of interventions that can help to improve health outcomes in young people ages 10-24, but there is no single action or intervention which can work for all young people. To access the journal, go here.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth in the Global South
By Advocates for Youth

This fact sheet provides information and the latest available data with a focus on the global south about violence against LGBT people; discriminatory laws and lack of legal protection; family rejection, bullying, homelessness and economic hardship; lack of comprehensive sexuality education and culturally competent services; self-stigma and harmful effects of gender stereotypes; recommendations; and encouraging programs. To access the fact sheet, go here.

Building Girls’ Protective Assets: A Collection of Tools for Program Design
By the Population Council

The Population Council released a new resource, Building Girls’ Protective Assets: A Collection of Tools for Program Design to help organizations better design programming to improve the health and well-being of adolescent girls and young women around the world. The collection contains tools and exercises from approaches that have been effective in reducing girls’ risks and broadening their opportunities To access this resource, go here.

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) for Lagos State, Nigeria.
By Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 Project (PMA2020)

This brief shared data from Lagos on MHM and follows a previous brief for Kaduna State. In Lagos, 85% of women ages 15 to 49 have everything they need for proper menstrual hygiene management – such as clean materials, a facility, and pain medication. Additionally, women in Lagos are more likely to have access to safe, clean and private MHM facilities compared to those in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Findings also include which environments women are using for MHM, as well as wash and reuse of MHM materials. The survey included 1,429 females of reproductive age (15 to 49 years).These results are in stark contrast to the findings for Kaduna State. To access the Lagos brief, go here.

Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus
By the World Health Organization

This fact sheet provides the latest information on sexual transmission of the Zika virus, including and information on transmission from asymptomatic males to females; symptomatic females to males; and duration of the virus in semen. The fact sheet also provides updated guidance on prevention of sexual transmission. To access the fact sheet, go here.

Men as Contraceptive Users: Programs, Outcomes and Recommendations
By the Evidence Project

Efforts to expand the vision for constructive male engagement are evolving from encouraging men to be supportive partners of women’s reproductive health to also focus on meeting men’s own reproductive health needs and engaging men as contraceptive users and agents of change in families and communities. Knowledge about reaching men as clients of family planning services in today’s programming environment is still limited. This paper reviews 47 current activities, programs and evidence that affect men’s use of contraceptive methods, drawing from published and grey literature, as well as interviews with organizations and institutions, focused men as users of contraception in low- and middle-income countries. The review includes three methods that men use directly (condoms, vasectomy and withdrawal) and one that requires their direct cooperation ,the Standard Days Method.

To view this working paper, go here.

To access the Kaduna State brief, To access the platform by clicking here.

Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health
By the African Union

This past July, the African Union Assembly adopted the Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health. This is an important milestone in promoting accountability, financial planning, performance monitoring and accountability by players at various levels. The scorecard measures progress towards meeting domestic and external health financing commitments. To access the score cards, available in English, French, Arabic and Portuguese, go here.

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.

2. Reach out to community groups and organize events like skits, debates, or contests to raise awareness of the importance of ensuring girls’ rights.

3. Share lesson plans with teachers in your community for Global Goals 3 and 5, located here:

Global Goal 3: go here
Global Goal 5: go here

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 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.

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

Read All About It!

W.H.O. Clarifies Advice on Sex and Pregnancy in Zika Regions. The World Health Organization on Tuesday clarified — once again — its advice on sexual transmission of the Zika virus, saying that couples living in areas where it is circulating should be offered contraception and counseling to help decide whether to become pregnant. To read this article, go here.

Conakry hairdressers dispense cut-and-dried contraceptive advice to women . Fatoumatah Bah is cornered. Sitting in front of a tinsel-ringed mirror in Miskaa Salon, her head is bent forward, two women at work braiding twists into her hair. She will be stuck in the chair for at least three hours. It is a good moment to pounce. Fatoumatah Kamara, 20, an apprentice hairdresser in a matching skirt and blouse and glinting cherry earrings, sidles up to Bah. She starts to make conversation. To read this article, go here.

Women vow to fight on in Peru after Alberto Fujimori absolved over forced sterilisations. Women’s rights campaigners and human rights groups in Peru have vowed to appeal against a ruling that clears jailed former president Alberto Fujimori and his health ministers of criminal responsibility for a nationwide family planning programme that resulted in thousands of forced sterilisations in the late 1990s. To read this article, go here.

Parliament Endorses Ban on FGM (Africa). After years of wrangling and debates among African leaders, the movement to end female genital mutilation (FGM) is gaining real momentum, with a new action plan signed this week by Pan African Parliament (PAP) representatives and the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) to end FGM as well as underage marriage. To read this article, go here.

Egypt seeks tougher punishment for female genital mutilation. Women’s rights activists hailed the Egyptian government on Monday for advocating increased prison sentences for perpetrators of female genital mutilation (FGM) but warned that a new law could shroud the practice in greater secrecy. Egypt’s cabinet on Sunday approved a bill, which must be passed by parliament to become law, imposing jail terms of up to seven years for people who perform FGM and up to three years for those who escort a girl or woman to undergo the practice. To read this article, go here.

Study finds ‘alarming’ HIV rate among transgender women in Cambodia. A new survey has revealed that the HIV prevalence rate among transgender women in Cambodia stands at a 5.9 per cent – a rate NGO leaders working on the issue called “alarming”. To read this article, go here.

D.A. Henderson, ‘disease detective’ who eradicated smallpox, dies at 87. Donald “D.A.” Henderson, an American epidemiologist who led the international war on smallpox that resulted in its eradication in 1980, the only such vanquishment in history of a human disease and an achievement that was credited with saving tens of millions of lives, died Aug. 19 at a hospice facility in Towson, Md. He was 87. To read this article, go here.

Popcom eyes law to address teen pregnancy (The Philippines). Still faced with the problem of teenage pregnancy, the Commission on Population (Popcom) said Sunday that there may already be a need to pass a law that specifically aims to address teenage pregnancy, particularly the Adolescent Health Act. According to Popcom Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, having the Reproductive Health (RH) Law may not be adequate to address the growing problem of teenage pregnancy in the country. To read this article, go here.

Cambodia’s garment workers vulnerable to unsafe abortions. Sopheak, a young woman employed at one of Cambodia’s many garment factories, is sitting on her bed, crying. She has just learned she is pregnant – and her boyfriend left her the minute he heard the news. “No boyfriend, no husband, no money, nothing but a baby coming,” she laments as her friends try to console her. She is adamant she’ll go “to one of those secret places, where they can take the baby out”. Looking up at her friends, she adds: “I should have never told you.” To read this article, go here.

Liberia: Lack of FGM Ban in Domestic Violence Law Fails Liberia’s Girls, Activists Say. “It’s extremely frustrating that the domestic violence bill was due to include an FGM ban, then a weaker ban and now no ban at all” Women’s rights activists condemned Liberia’s parliament on Wednesday for removing a ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) from a new domestic violence law in a country where half of women have been cut. To read this article, go here.

Philippines’ HIV dilemma: too young for a test but old enough for sex . When Rey* first got an HIV test, his mother went with him. He was 17 and her consent was required by law. “My mum and I are pretty close. She has no issues about me being gay and is really supportive. But I know a lot of my friends wouldn’t dare bring their mums with them to get an HIV test,” says Rey, from Palawan. To read this article, go here.


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