By: Janna Oberdorf, Director of Communications and Outreach at Women Deliver
Young people and contraception can be a tricky topic – for some reason, the idea that young people should have power over their sexuality and their reproductive health can be scary for decision-makers and people in power. But, when young people are able to choose whether, when and how many children to have and to protect themselves from unsafe sex – that’s a good thing. That choice not only improves young people’s health, it also affects their ability to stay in school, to get an education, to earn money, to improve their social and economic status, and to invest back into their communities, families, and countries. Basically, contraception is the key to their future.
But imagine if you couldn’t access this life-saving “key” simply because you were too embarrassed to ask about contraception or because when you do ask, you’re treated poorly, shunned by your community, or given incorrect information. That’s the reality for so many young people around the world. And it needs to end.
This year, Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization working to promote the health and well-being of girls and women, is supporting a worldwide campaign, World Contraception Day (WCD). On September 26, we will join thousands of young people around the world in advocating for a world where every pregnancy is wanted. Launched in 2007, WCD’s mission is to improve awareness of contraception to enable young people to make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health.
Under the motto ‘Live Your Life. Know your rights. Learn about contraception’, WCD 2011 focuses on the need to encourage young people to exercise their right to search for accurate, unbiased information about contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection (STI). The largest generation of adolescents in history is now entering its childbearing years. There are 1.8 billion of us, young people, in the world today, and we make up 1/3rd of the world’s population. Every year, 14-16 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 give birth, and pregnancy-related deaths are the leading cause of death for girls this age. We need to come together to fight for our rights and the rights of our fellow young people around the world – death, disease, and injury from a lack of information or access is just unacceptable.
We are excited to spend the week of September 26-30 sharing our thoughts and the perspectives of young advocates on contraception. We hope you will join in the conversation and tell us how we can empower young people to access contraceptive information and services, and how we can convince policy makers to put these ideas into action. If you need some ideas for your blog, start by answering one of these questions:
- What do you feel are the key obstacles that make young people uncomfortable about accessing or using contraception? How can we change that?
- What are some of the most common myths you’ve heard about contraception among your peers? How can we work to debunk these myths?
- Do you think young people have a right to contraceptive information and services? How can we best inform young people of this right?
- How do you access information about contraception – through friends, the Internet, health centers, doctors? Which of these methods do you find most useful and helpful, and why?
- Is it different for young men and young women to learn about contraception and access services? How can we make everyone’s access equal?
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Email info(at)womendeliver.org to contribute your own blog.