· This Month
August 12: International Youth Day!
In 1998, the United Nations General Assembly declared August 12th International Youth Day. Since then, at all levels—international, regional, national and local—people around the world have been celebrating young people and the importance of their role in society. Each year, International Youth Day brings the energy and momentum of youth to the forefront on special themes. In previous years, International Youth Day has highlighted issues like sustainable development, unemployment, intergenerational issues and poverty. The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is “Youth and Climate Change: Time for Action.”
Last year, an international initiative, the Shoot Nations International Photography Competition, drew global attention to International Youth Day. Winning photographs were presented and displayed at the UN Headquarters in New York and other key exhibits around the world. This year, the theme of the competition is “Young people in a changing climate” (http://www.shootnations.org
). The competition can give you the chance to express your views on how the climate is changing, the impact of your work, and what you can do about it!
In summary, International Youth Day brings young people together to participate in ongoing global discussions and to take action on an issue that has important implications for their future and that of the planet. For more information, go to the UN Website on International Youth Day 2008.
· What’s Going On at AFY?
Have You Heard of AmbienteJoven.org?
AmbienteJoven.org is a Web site for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth in Spanish-speaking Latin America. It provides information on reproductive and sexual health and overall well-being, reaching approximately 28,000 visitors a month.
AmbienteJoven.org es un sitio web para lesbianas, jóvenes gay, bisexuales, y transgénero (LGBT) en America Latina de habla español. Brinda información sobre salud sexual y reproductiva y bien estar, alcanzando a 28.000 usuarios aproximadamente por mes.
For more information on AmbienteJoven.org, click here.
Getting Prepared to Advocate for Youth Rights in Mexico City!
By Nickie, Member of the International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC)
With the 2008 Mexico City International AIDS Conference upon us, I cannot help but look back at the commitments that were made by stakeholders two years ago at the Toronto International AIDS Conference in 2006. And I am not just talking about the general commitments to address HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, including education, and the improvement of access to treatment; I am talking about the youth-specific discussions. I cannot deny that the promises made throughout the conference include amazing possibilities and have great appeal, but when it comes to actions–I am left with great disappointment and frustration. This disappointment has given me the motivation to hold our stakeholders more accountable. More…
Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council Talks About US Sex Education on Voice of America!
On July 7th, 2008, members of the International Youth Leadership Council
participated in a dialogue on Voice of America radio
about how sex education is one of the most controversial issues in America’s public schools and in many American families. They emphasized how comprehensive sex education includes a discussion about the benefits of abstinence, and also includes information on contraception, sexual orientation and identity, HIV / AIDS, and the emotional and psychological issues connected with teenage sex. Despite the effectiveness of comprehensive sex education, abstinence-only is the only government funded curriculum taught in US schools.
Nickie: “Abstinence is the best way to protect yourself. Of course, if you don’t want to get something, don’t do it. But at the same time, if you chose to do something then there’s also contraception, there’s also plenty of other choices. Young people deserve to have all the necessary information to make responsible decisions.”
Gyawu: “We’re gonna be parents one day and because we are in the International Youth Leadership Council at Advocates for Youth, we’re gonna know how to talk to our kids about sex. But a lot of parents just ignore it and we can’t expect the media to be our teacher.”
Vanessa: “A lot of children are learning about sex from the media and that’s not a healthy way of looking at sex. Realistically, when you see a woman with big breasts on TV and you see the bathing suit, that’s what people classify as sex, and sex sells. That’s not a healthy portrayal that you should be showing to children about sex.”
Worldwide, as many as 15 million children and youth have been orphaned or made vulnerable by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.[1
] In addition, parental deaths from all causes have left 143 million orphaned children and youth
across 93 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America, including 79 million
ages 12 through 17.[1
] As orphans approach sexual and physical maturation, they are at increased risk of HIV. Their orphaned and vulnerable status can also leave them more vulnerable to sexual abuse, exploitation, illness, and homelessness. Many engage in risky sexual behaviors in order to survive.
Many organizations focus on the protection and care of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). However, programs have largely overlookedadolescents and neglected the special emphasis and tailored programs needed by this population. Yet, a few programs do provide adolescents with the support and skills they need to survive and to become healthy adults.
· My Voice Counts!
Women Won’t Wait Campaign Says, “Show Us the Money!”
Women Won’t Wait is an international coalition of organizations and networks from the global South and North working to promote women’s health and human rights in the struggle to comprehensively address HIV and AIDS and end all forms of violence against women and girls. Women Won’t Wait, launched its campaign on March 6th with a new report released: “Show Us the Money: Is Violence Against Women on the HIV&AIDS Funding Agenda?”
The study is the first in a series of initiatives to be undertaken by the campaign to monitor the funding, policies, and programs of international agencies and national governments, and to push for the creation of specific, measurable, and transparent means to integrate the problem of violence against women into global HIV/AIDS programming.
The report evaluates the funding streams, policies, and patterns of the major international agencies engaged in responding to the global AIDS epidemic, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM); the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID); the World Bank; and UNAIDS (The Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS).
The report’s author, Susana Fried, said that while funding for HIV and AIDS programs has increased dramatically in the past five years, none of the agencies had successfully integrated efforts to address violence against women into their HIV programs. Meanwhile, programs to promote women’s rights and to meet the basic reproductive and sexual health needs of women have been dwindling rapidly.
“For all of the agencies we examine, the scant resources for gender-based violence efforts are largely separate from, rather than integral to, programs to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS,” Fried said.
To read the full press release on the Women Won’t Wait Campaign, click here!
To read the Show Me the Money Report, go here!
Do you want to contact Women Won’t Wait? Sure, click here!
Apply for the December 2008 Staying Alive Awards!
The Staying Alive Foundation (SAF) believes that young people can bring about positive social change around HIV prevention, if given the opportunity. They believe in the power of the individual to mobilize others to take action and that the education of young people is one of the key planks helping prevent HIV infection; SAF has been set up to support young people, globally, working in AIDS awareness, education and prevention campaigns among their peers. In particular, SAF looks to identify, support and mentor individual youth leaders responding to HIV and AIDS in their communities.
About the Awards
1. Awards of up to $12,000 will be made to small youth-led organizations and young individuals (aged between 15-27 years) who are working on HIV prevention and AIDS education campaigns within their communities.
2. Awards are made to cover up to one year’s activity. All Awards are eligible for renewal.
3. Awards are selected by the Awards Review Committee (ARC). The ARC is made up of selected members of the SAF Board, who understand SAF’s vision and philosophy, and are therefore best able to select awards that match this.
4. Award winners will be required to submit a mid-term progress report and a final project report.
5. Recipients of a Staying Alive Award will agree to be audited and reviewed at anytime during the award term.
6. Noncompliance with the terms of the Award, or false statements made in connection with the application or management of Award funds shall be cause for termination of the Award, and The Staying Alive Foundation may require reimbursement of any payments made.
7. Completed application forms must be received by 15th September 2008.
8. Successful applicants will be informed by 15th November 2008.
9. New Staying Alive Awards will be publicly announced on or around 1st December 2008.
Awards will be made to individual young people and small youth-led initiatives that:
1. Educate and/or give out responsible and accurate information about HIV and AIDS targeted at young people within their communities.
2. Eliminate or alleviate the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS.
3. Encourage young people to take concrete action to protect themselves from HIV infection.
4. Demonstrate innovation and creativity.
5. Reflect and honor the culture in which the project operates.
· All Staying Alive Award winners must demonstrate credibility through independent references, government accreditation (if you have any), and verifiable banking and accounting systems.
· All Staying Alive award winners must agree to allow SAF and MTV to promote and publicize their projects. We will use compelling award winner stories to inspire other young people.
What SAF will not fund: Organizations that work with young people but that are not lead by young people; Scholarships or college fees; Doctoral or other research; Projects that discriminate against people because of religion, sex, race, disability or sexual orientation; Projects that focus principally on abstinence as a means of controlling the spread of HIV; Projects with budgets that primarily reflect a focus on capital expenditure e.g. erecting buildings, creating physical infrastructure (such as schools, orphanages, community centers etc.) or the purchasing of major equipment (such as vehicles); and/or projects with a primary focus on delivering health care, shelter, food security or other non-education focused development initiatives.
Check Out This Regional Consultation Meeting (RCM) in Africa linked to the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) forum
This year’s Africa RCM will work to strengthen linkages and facilitate networking between members of Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) both in Africa and other regions. It will address regional reproductive and sexual health and rights (RSHR) issues and have a specific focus on this year’s call for action “Women and Conflict”. The RCM will take place from Nov. 11-13, 2008, in Capetown, South Africa and be connected to the 11th annual AWID forum on “The Power of Movements,” being held on November 14-17, 2008.
Mark Your 2009 Calendar!
International Conference on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and sexual and reproductive health- February 15-18, 2009, Mumbai, India.
This conference aims to expand what is known about the magnitude of GBV and its impact on the health of the individual and the society, to fill gaps in our understanding of factors underlying the experience of violence and consequences of violence for women’s, families’ and nations’ well-being and programmatic responses intended to eliminate sexual violence. More specifically the objectives of organizing this conference are to: (i) review the magnitude and determinants of GBV; (ii) explore the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) consequences of GBV; (iii) share experiences of program and interventions for the prevention of GBV, their impact on SRH and gaps and challenges that remain; (iv) review relevant policies, programs and their implementation; and (v) suggest recommendations on program strategies and policies to address GBV and SRH.
For more information, read here:
The Global Fund Launches Additional Funding Round.
Is Your Organization Funded by the Global Fund?
Well, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis invites countries to submit proposals for additional funding! The new funding round will open on October 1st, 2008, and the Board of the Global Fund is expected to approve new grants at its Board Meeting in May 2009. Guidelines and proposal forms are available on the Global Fund’s website, www.theglobalfund.org
· Read All About It
Bush Cuts Family Planning for the Seventh Straight Year
On June 26, 2008, the Bush administration officially withheld $39.7 million authorized by U.S. Congress for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for the seventh straight year. Since 2002, the administration has withheld a total of US$235 million from UNFPA, which supports family planning and reproductive health care programs in 154 countries worldwide. A representative of U.S. Congress from New York, Carolyn Maloney said she was, “deeply disappointed but not surprised,” calling it proof the administration is “blinded by political extremism.”
UNFPA officials have emphasized that nearly all other countries, including every country in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, recognize the value of UNFPA’s work to support family planning and safe motherhood and services.
Nicole Cheetham, International Division Director of Advocates for Youth said, “The administration’s decision to withhold funding for UNFPA, yet again, is irresponsible and an embarrassment to our country. Young people, mothers and fathers around the world depend on UNFPA’s support for reproductive health services, including access to contraception and pre and post natal care. UNPFA’s work is critical to providing young people with the services they need to make responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and to ending unnecessary adolescent maternal mortality and HIV infection among youth. “
To read about the US withholding of UNFPA Funds, see article from the Guttmacher Institute by clicking here.
A Yemeni Girl Escapes Child Marriage for Justice
Remarkably, Arwa Abdu Muhammad, a nine-year old girl in Yemen, escaped her husband’s house and ran to a local hospital. Arwa had been sexually abused and beaten for the entire eight months of an arranged marriage with a 30-year old man, Faez Ali Thamer. She was the second child bride to come forward in less than a month—soon after Nujood Ali, a ten-year old girl who demanded a divorce and made the headline news.
In the rural areas of Yemen, the average age of marriage for women is 12 to 13. Many Yemeni women are forced to have children when their bodies are not ready, usually causing serious problems for the mother and their children. However, the issue is deeply rooted in tribal tradition where many believe in the old expression, “Give me a girl of 8 and I can give you a guarantee of a good marriage.” Another reason so many Yemeni families marry their children off early is poverty. There’s also a fear of girls being married by force, but according to a study of early marriage in 1996–many believe that a young virgin girl can be best shaped into a “well-behaved” wife.
To read the full article from the New York Times, click here.
· Tools You Can Use
Giving Girls Today and Tomorrow: Breaking the Cycle of Adolescent Pregnancy
Pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications are the number-one killers of 15-19 year old girls worldwide. This report highlights the issue of adolescent pregnancy among married and unmarried adolescent girls (10-19 year olds), especially those living in poverty. It draws attention to current trends, as well as the social, economic, and health consequences of adolescent pregnancy not only for the girls themselves, but for their families and countries. The publication argues for strategic investments in the health, education, and livelihoods of adolescent girls to empower them to avoid the trap of becoming mothers while still children. It also examines how targeted investments will improve the prospects for pregnant girls and young mothers. These investments will pay twice: they will have an impact on today’s girls and tomorrow’s women. The report also outlines ways to better address adolescent pregnancy and the multi-faceted needs of adolescent girls worldwide.
To download the publication, click here.
Resources for HIV & Sexual and Reproductive Health Integration Web Site
Ever wanted to know where to find out how to obtain resources on HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health integration! Well, look no further! Here is a web site designed to identify a full range of resources upon which to develop policies, guidelines, or practices integrating the provision of sexual and reproductive health services with activities for preventing and treating HIV/AIDS.
Here are links to technical approaches to integration that reflects field experience and the latest thinking of the reproductive and sexual health community:
To find out more, go to the website
· Sharing Our Passion
The role of youth in HIV prevention
By Moses, Youth Action Rangers of Nigeria
Critics usually ask what role youth can play in the fight against HIV, or what experience or strategies youth possess in fighting HIV. The answers are simple: there are reports and best practices that showcase the dynamism of young people in HIV/AIDS prevention. In practical terms, what can young people do? There are many important roles that young people can play: first they can serve as peer educators to their peers on HIV and AIDS and sexual and reproductive health issues. They can also be advocates and activists who work to advance science-based HIV prevention, treatment advocacy/education, HIV counseling and testing, care & support and youth participation on issues at local, national and international levels. More…
Here’s a photo of YARN in action <K:\ID\iYSO\iYAN\August\NigeriaYARN.JPG>
Synergy Towards Youth Empowerment
By Ephrem, Talent Youth Association, Ethiopia
This year’s International Youth Day celebrates the theme of “Youth and Climate Change.” Climate change is one of the most critical global challenges of our time. Recent events have emphatically demonstrated our growing vulnerability to climate change. Climate change impacts will range from affecting agriculture; further endangering food security; sea-level rise; the accelerated erosion of coastal zones; increasing intensity of natural disasters; species extinction; and the spread of vector-borne diseases. Conserving our environment is an important aspect off improving and protecting young people’s health. More…
Advocates for Youth has a form to sign-up for the iYAN on our website. Send this link to your friends so they can sign-up too!