Asia: Regional Youth Partnerships & Support
The Asia Program has helped identify, encourage and support youth advocacy across Asia, fostering a core group of young leaders with the skills necessary to effectively advocate for advances in youth health and rights. By building upon the capacity of youth leadership throughout the region- through various training programs, direct foundational support to youth-led and youth-established organizations and coalitions, IWHC has been able to harness the momentum of youth movements as these young leaders share their own skills and experiences with their peers. Through measured, targeted exposure to a series of regional and international Advocacy in Practice training sessions, as well as mentorship, technical assistance and advocacy support to attend regional-level and international conferences, the Asia program has fostered a core nodal group of promising and effective youth advocates who work on Sexual Rights and Reproductive Health. These young people have helped build a network of young leaders who have taken the forefront in advocating for youth issues and rights in their own countries and beyond their borders.
In FY2009, over a six month period between April to October, the Asia Program supported this core group to attend 5 targeted meetings and conferences:
- IWHC’s Asia Partner’s Meeting, in Goa (April 27-29): IWHC facilitated intergenerational dialogue and partnerships between youth leaders and established advocates and helped youth advocates get feedback on their regional strategies from experienced scholars and advocates from across the region
- CREA’s Sexuality, Gender and Right’s Institute, in Istanbul (June 13-20): 2 youth advocates were able to gain a deeper understanding of sexuality and gender rights and gain valuable networking contacts which they applied immediately to their roles organizing youth advocacy at upcoming regional conferences, the IX International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (IX ICAAP), from August 4th through 15th, 2009 and the 5th Asia and Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR), from October 15th through 21st
- Global Partners in Action: NGO Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Development, in Berlin (September 2-4: Youth partners advocated alongside other strong international voices and gain critical experience;
- IX ICAAP, in Bali (August 4-15): The Asia Program funded and provided technical assistance to the 9th ICAAP Youth Forum, led by Rachel Arinii (a former AiP trainee and the Youth Forum Coordinator during the ICAAP), we funded. We provided over 150 hours of technical support to this dynamic 21-year old Indonesian activist in her efforts to bring together over 120 young people (ages 16-25) from twenty countries to attend the Pre-ICAAP youth meeting at the August 2009 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (9th ICAAP). Amongst other things, she generated an advocacy agenda for youth activists from across the region, helped strengthen a national network of Indonesian youth working on SRRH issues and hosted a high- level meeting with the Global Director of UNAIDS. to ensure the active presence and participation of young people at both the pre-ICAAP youth meeting and at the ICAAP. Our youth advocates organized all youth activities and worked for a strong youth declaration
- 5th APCRSHR, in Beijing (October 15-21): Our youth advocates played key roles in the organization and execution of youth activities, youth day and the youth declaration. This was the first year that young people were able to secure a Youth Day at the APCRSHR. Overall the day was successful, with over 200 young people attending. All of the core advocates led workshops during the conference or facilitated discussions.
- Also this year, IWHC began supporting The YP Foundation, an entirely youth-run and led organization that enables young people to conceptualize and implement projects on a range of topics from Life Skills Based Education for slum children to cultural exchange between Afghani and Indian students. TYPF is made of youth that do not connect to existing issue- based movements per se, but who want a forum for being able to lead positive change on issues that they care deeply about. What is unique about the YP model is that they really foster the creativity of youth to build on their passions, while creating a stronger youth voice to advocate for issues of health and rights, namely comprehensive sexuality education, which has been banned in 10 states.
- IWHC also has supported another youth-friendly organization, Aahung, since 1999, in Pakistan, and this technical and financial support has enabled Aahung to expand its Comprehensive Sexuality Education agenda and improve strategies for sexual health, sexuality and life-skills education of adolescents. Increasingly, this relationship has enabled Aahung to go from one-on-one relationships with schools towards broader strategies to make comprehensive sexuality education an integrated part of the public Health and Education systems within the Sindh District. This has meant the development of a strong, culturally- appropriate curriculum and training modules that are implemented on a national scale and monitored by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. To date, Aahung has reached 44,174 individuals (service providers and community men, women and adolescents) directly, while impacting approximately 10 million individuals indirectly (indirect beneficiaries were reached mainly through the use of print and electronic media that furthers information about sexuality and health, particularly aimed at young people.)