May 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 the African Queer Youth Initiative Launch Survey to Inform Pan-African LGBTIQ Youth Movement Building
Young LGBTIQ Africans are a critical part of the LGBTIQ movement and in many instances lead organizations that are not necessarily youth focused but are at the forefront in the struggle for LGBTIQ rights in their regions and countries. However, many times there are limited spaces within the LGBTIQ movement for youth to organize and elevate issues that make them particularly vulnerable. As part of the effort to sustain the work of the movement in Africa, it is imperative that young people are provided a platform, support, and opportunities to facilitate a successful representation within all aspects of LGBTIQ-led organizing in Africa. In order to explore and elevate young LGBTIQ Africans voices within the movement, the African Queer Youth Initiative together with Advocates for Youth conducted a survey in April 2016 to spotlight the different challenges faced by young LGBTIQ people living in Africa, highlight the common restrictions that affect their meaningful participation and involvement in the global LGBTIQ movement, and prioritize specific themes to inform and support a Pan-African LGBTIQ youth-led movement. All together 106 respondents from all over Africa completed the survey. In honor of the International Day to End Homophobia and Transphobia, Advocates for Youth and the African Queer Youth Initiative shared the survey results, which provide information on the needs, challenges and priorities of young LGBTIQ Africans. To view the survey results go here: English | French
My Voice Counts!
Support the World’s Refugees!
Take a stand on the refugee crisis and sign UNHCR’s petition, Stand #WithRefugees, to send a clear message to governments that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility. There are 19.5 million refugees in the world and 51 percent are under the age of 18. To sign the petition, go here.
Additional funding possibilities for local women’s rights activities in the Accountability Fund!
The Netherlands Accountability Fund is designed to strengthen the advocacy capacity of local Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) in the South. The Fund is being managed by the Dutch Embassies and provides multiannual grants to local community based organizations. The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Liliane Ploumen, has decided to allocate one third of this fund to the development and strengthening of organizations working on women’s rights and gender equality. This means that between 2016 and 2020 5 million EURO will be available every year to support women’s rights advocacy activities at the local level in low and middle income countries. Proposals for 2016 are due June 30th. Contact the Dutch Embassy in your country for information on how to apply. For background information, go here.
Check out this call to action to increase access to contraception
This call to action – Task Sharing to Increase Access to Contraception: A Proven Strategy that Makes a Difference, urges global health and development partners to adopt task sharing as a key solution for increasing access to contraception. Task sharing strategies for increasing contraceptive access optimize the skills and competencies that health workers at all levels bring to contraception and women’s health. To view the call to action, go here: English | French
For more information and to endorse the call to action, go here.
Tools You Can Use
Our future: a Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing By The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing
The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing has launched its findings, which highlight the past, present, and anticipated burden of disease in adolescents and young adults ages 10–24 years from 1990 to 2013 using data on mortality, disability, injuries, and health risk factors. The Commission discusses current threats and opportunities for the health and wellbeing of young people today as well as future generations. The Commission notes that most powerful actions for addressing adolescent health and wellbeing are those that engage young people and that are intersectoral, multilevel, and multicomponent. To access the findings, go here.
Abortion incidence between 1990 and 2014: global, regional, and subregional levels and trends By the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization
Abortion rates declined significantly across most developed regions between 1990 and 2014. However, during the same period, they remained largely unchanged in developing regions. The findings come from a new study, which found that between 1990 and 2014, the overall number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15–44 years old) in developed countries dropped from 46 to 27, while in developing countries, it changed little, from 39 to 37, a non-significant difference. The study’s findings appear in this article, “Abortion incidence between 1990 and 2014: global, regional, and sub-regional levels and trends,” by Gilda Sedgh et al., published in The Lancet. To access the article, go here.
Financial Incentives for Girls – What Works? By UNFPA
In order to assess the effectiveness of special financial incentive schemes for the girls, UNFPA commissioned a desk review of fifteen ongoing schemes based on secondary data and supported an assessment of Dhanalakshmi Scheme based on a primary survey. To see the results of the desk review, go here.
Lao National Survey on Women’s Health and Life Experiences 2014 By the Lao Statistics Bureau, UNFPA, UN Women, and WHO
A landmark report has revealed that almost a third of women in Lao People’s Democratic Republic have experienced physical violence, sexual violence or emotional abuse at the hands of their partners, in most cases their husbands. Commissioned by the Government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), this report the marks the country’s first-ever national survey on violence against women. Based on nearly 3,000 interviews with women across the country, the report states that one in seven women have experienced physical or sexual violence from their partners at least once in their lifetime. The majority of women, however, stated that they had experienced such violence multiple times. To view the report, go here.
The Perfect Storm: The closing space for LGBT civil society in Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Kenya, and Hungary By the Global Philanthropy Project
Organizations led by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face a “perfect storm” of state-sponsored restrictions and homophobic government rhetoric that worsens the dangerous environment for their work. The basic space civil society needs to operate freely is closing in many countries, and politicians are targeting LGBT groups in particular. Despite these attacks, LGBT groups are showing remarkable resilience in tough times. This report is a first look at how mechanisms for closing civil society space are impacting LGBT communities in four key regions, with focused case studies of Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Kenya, and Hungary. To access the report, go here.
World Refugee Day, June 20. In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 20th as World Refugee Day to recognize and celebrate the contribution of refugees throughout the world. Since then, World Refugee Day has become an annual commemoration marked by a variety of events in over a hundred countries. To read about the day, go here
Did you know…
Today, there are 19.5 million refugees in the world and 51 percent are under the age of 18.
UNHCR estimates that the averge length of major protracted refugee situations has increased from 9 years in 1993 to 17 years at the end of 2003.
Refugees constitute one of the most difficult populations to reach with health prevention and care services. In most cases, armed conflict leads to the formation of large groups of refugees. When conflict subjects civilian refugees to food shortage, displacement, and poverty, a “complex emergency” is often the result. The combination of these factors increases the risk to refugees of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS.
Typically, reproductive and sexual health risks are greater under crisis conditions, which coincide with limited access to reproductive and sexual health information and services.
Young women and girls are commonly targeted in armed conflict; however, their special needs are frequently overlooked or ignored.
Here are some ways you can commemorate the day:
Invite a former refugee to speak at your school, church, and community center to share their experiences.
Volunteer at a local refugee resettlement agency to help newly arrived refugees.
Set up a World Refugee Day discussion at your home, place of worship, or community center.
Wear light blue (the international color of UN Aid workers) on World Refugee Day (June 20) and talk to friends about why you are wearing blue that day.
Get updated on the latest data by going to UNHCR’s web site: here.
Show your support by adding your name to the #WithRefugees petition to send a clear message to governments that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility in support of refugees by going here.
Learn about refugees and young women by going to the Women’s Refugee Commission web site resources page: https://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/
Read All About It!
Africa: New UN Report Shows That Urgent Action Is Needed to End the Aids Epidemic By 2030. A new report released by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns that the AIDS epidemic could be prolonged indefinitely if urgent action is not implemented within the next five years. To read this article, go here.
It’s Tough to Stop Sex, Study of U.S. AIDS Effort Shows. Researchers find no benefits from a decade-long attempt to curb the spread of HIV in Africa by promoting abstinence and monogamy. “Abstinence promotion” policies the United States has funded for more than a decade as part of an effort to slow the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are largely ineffective, a new evaluation of the program concludes. To read this article, go here.
Investing in girls: Cash incentives help promote gender equality in India. “I am getting financial support for my education from the government, whereas my brother, who is studying in the same school as me, is not eligible for that,” says Guneet*, an adolescent girl currently enrolled in seventh standard at a government school in Punjab, India, near the Pakistani border. “As a result, my parents are very happy, and they want to educate me as much as I like.” To view this article, go here.
Incest, lack of sex education drive teen pregnancies in El Salvador. Rape at the hands of relatives and a lack of sex education are driving pregnancies among girls in El Salvador, which is struggling to stem one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Latin America, according to a top health official. To read this article, go here.
Kenya: AIDS the Biggest Killer of Teens and Young Adults. AIDS is the number one cause of death and disability among Kenyans aged between 10 and 24 years. A total of 2,531 youths aged between 15 and 19 years – most in secondary school – died in 2013, followed by 2,398 between 10 and 14 years and 1,719 aged between 20 and 24 years, says the Health Metrics and Evaluation study, which was published on Tuesday. To view this article, go here.
Tanzanian Women Face High Rates of Abortion-Related Deaths. Unsafe abortions kill many Tanzanian women, according to a recent study, but the deaths result from several factors and women in some regions die much more often than others. Birth control is hard to get, and public health clinics lack trained staff and vacuum aspiration kits used to perform abortions. To read this article, go here.
Mix of Challenges for Philippine Birth Control Law. Pastor Edgardo Abraham asked the audience before him to raise their closed fists. “Look at your fists,” he boomed. “That’s how big a woman’s uterus is. But when they start to carry a child, that uterus or womb expands. That’s how amazing God is.” Abraham is part of a slowly expanding army of government workers, NGOs and other organizations fighting to implement the Philippines’ awkwardly-named “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law. Birth control in a country with one of the highest total fertility rates in Asia. To read this article, go here.
‘We’ll cut off your head’: open season for LGBT attacks in Kyrgyzstan: Closer ties with Russia and strict new laws mean gay people live in fear as violence goes unpunished. From behind two heavy metal doors, Nika, a gay man who recently set up a small LGBT support group in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, gingerly opens the door. “This is how we live now,” he says. Two years ago, the Kyrgyz parliament followed the lead of its powerful neighbor Russia and introduced a series of amendments outlawing the promotion of same-sex relationships. Popularly known as the “anti-gay propaganda law” it has unleashed a campaign of violence and intimidation against the LGBT community, with a near 300% increase in reported attacks since the legislation was announced. To read this article, go here.
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