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The Power of Peer Education

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Humphrey Nabimanya, Reach a Hand Uganda

From a survey that we at RAHU conducted last year, nearly 85% of young people, ages 15-24, think that there is a need for them to whether freely access information on sexual and reproductive health. Young people face issues like unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and cross-generational sex and, therefore, require full access to sexual and reproductive health information and services to protect themselves.

In January 2014, we started the first ever Peer Education Academy in Uganda - a unique initiative to empower young people with life development skills, self-awareness skills, and sexual reproductive health and rights information. Through this program, we trained 50 young people (23 female and 27 male) in peer education; counseling and guidance; sexual and reproductive health and rights; drug, alcohol, and substance use; and integration of social media and sexuality education. Read more...

When Challenges Turn Into Highlights

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Tunde Ajidagba, Campus Health & Rights Initiative (Nigeria)

Although I faced some difficulties in implementing my project, there were also some highlights. The first was the reception of the SMS services. The text messaging campaign was the first of its kind on campus and the students were excited about it and really wished it could continue. We also had a positive reaction to the educational and informative pamphlet we produced. We have been getting positive feedback since we started distribution and it has been very encouraging.

Another highlight of my project initially started out as a challenge. When my project site at Obafemi Awolowo University was forced to close down due to strikes, we had to look for another school to continue. Just as my project was set to come to a close, the school re-opened and the HIV counseling and testing services and Campus Health Forum were brought back to the school. Read more...

Promoting the SRHR of Adolescent and Young Mothers

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Cecilia García Ruiz, Espolea (Mexico)

As the Adolescent and Youth Motherhood Project (AYMP) draws to a close, there are a few highlights that are worth sharing.

As mentioned in previous posts, it is important that human rights advocates have a deep understanding of the diverse realities, needs, interests and expectations of the populations they seek to benefit and reach. When working with adolescent and young mothers the first lesson to be learned is: do not take anything for granted. This means, for instance, that we cannot assume that adolescent and young mothers have more information and tools to access quality sexual and reproductive health services than any other young person in their community. Misconceptions about their experiences with the healthcare system are common. Very often, we find that a significant percentage of these young women have faced discrimination and violence from health providers, education workers, peers, and even members from their own families and communities. Read more...

On The March Towards Improved SRHR Outcomes For Youth In Uganda Through Think-And-Thin

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Wanzala E. Martin, Allied Youth Initiative – Uganda

Since March 2014, the Allied Youth Initiative – Uganda (AYI-Uganda) has been working with partner organizations across the country to increase investments in youth-focused sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programs as a means to accelerate progress towards achieving the country’s local and international development targets by 2015. The goal of AYI Uganda’s “Better-Quality Access for Youth” (BAY) project is to gather as many as one million youth voices in support of reproductive rights through online platforms, essay competitions, and street interviews and then petition the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament to ensure adequate investment in youth SRH education and services. Read more...

Young People Must Be Listened To

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Nargis Shirazi, FRESH Campain (Uganda)

What does it mean to be fully and richly empowered about sexual health? Is it having adequate comprehensive information about sexual reproductive health and rights? Is it about changing behavior based on the knowledge of harmful sexual practices? Is it having access to sexual reproductive health services? Or could it be the government making the conditions in the country favorable to accessing sexual health information and services? We have been asking ourselves these questions on the FRESH social media platform. We want to know how effective the platform is – how many people it is reaching and is it influencing behavior. Read more...

Lessons Learned in Building Up Youth Groups to Fight Dowry and Early Marriage

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: SM Shaikat, SERAC-Bangladesh

Writing a good story is much easier than making it happen. There are many challenges to creating lasting change, especially when it comes to changing a society’s cultural norms.

To start, the goal of my Jagoroni project is to create a social movement against the century old dowry custom and child marriage trend in Bangladesh. The motivation for this project came in February when I heard the Law Minister say that my district, Mymensingh, has the highest rate of dowry violence in Bangladesh. For me, it was not easy to accept. Read more...

Invest in New Media for Better Health of Young People

By Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

How can we connect for good, connect for all, and build a better world by 2030? To answer this question, global leaders and advocates from around the world convened at the 2014 Social Good Summit this week and to discuss key social issues shaping the future of our world today, like climate change, peace, gender inequality, and health crises like Ebola. Held in conjunction with the 69th Session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the summit was an opportunity for young people to not only take part in the conversation, but to lead them.

With conversations conducted in 42 languages from 150 countries, the summit – held on Sunday and Monday – amplified the voice of young people and the future of new media technologies. Many shared stories about how new media technologies like mobile phones are changing the lives of many in the developing world. Through the use of technologies like short message service (SMS), mobile phones, text messaging and social media, young people are accessing information like sexual and reproductive health education and services in ways never that were never before possible. Read more...

Creating an Enabling Environment for Youth to Access SRHR Information and Services

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Humphrey Nabimanya, Reach a Hand Uganda

According to statistics from the Uganda Demographic and health survey, the teenage pregnancy rate stands at 24%.  This means one in four teenage girls is pregnant or has had a child. Due the negative attitudes towards sexuality education in schools from School Management and Governance Boards, young people have limited access to accurate information and youth-friendly services while in school. Read more...

Finding New Ways to Reach A Project’s Goals Despite Unexpected Challenges

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Tunde Ajidagba, Campus Health & Rights Initiative (Nigeria)

The goal of my project is to promote access to comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health services among students at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to reduce unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Although the project has faced some challenges, I have been able to provide strong solutions.

One major challenge for implementing the project was the change in the school calendar due to a national strike by the academic staff at the university. OAU is a federal university and for over two months, the lecturers at the university went on industrial strike to drive home some demands of the government. When the strike ended, the academic calendar had to be adjusted to compensate for the lost time – class schedules and exam periods were changed. Read more...

Plan at Hand: A Success Story Against Challenges

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative

By: Maureen Anyango Oduor, Plan At Hand Girl Empowerment Project (Tanzania)

To most effectively engage adolescent girls in their own healthcare decision-making, they must be approached on their own turf. The use of technology and social media is widespread among adolescents, and these tools have the potential to improve healthcare delivery and health outcomes.

Pregnancy among adolescent girls is prevalent in Tanzania, potentially leading to health and other complications. Babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to be born preterm, to be of low birth weight, and to have higher rates of morbidity and mortality than those born to older women. Read more...

Understanding the Experience and Needs of the Target Population is Crucial to a Project’s Success

By: Chukwudera Bridget Okeke, Concern Women International Development Initiative (Nigeria)

In Nigeria, people speak many different languages, so it is important to cater to each target population’s language needs. For the implementation of the project, all presentations used for training workshops were translated into the Tiv dialect, as majority of the participants did not understand English. In addition, we have trained and deployed more Female Sex Workers (FSW) as peer-educators, since many are native Tiv speakers. This has allowed us to reach more people, including FSW and their clients who are not based in brothels. While we were initially concerned about this language barrier, our efforts seem to have overcome this challenge. Given the feedback we have received, it appears that more and more FSW are being reached by the project. An important lesson to be learned from this, however, is that understanding the local context is crucial to the success of a project. Read more…

Adolescent Motherhood: Challenges and Lessons Learned for SRHR Advocacy

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Cecilia Garcia Ruiz, Espolea (Mexico)

Working on the phenomenon of adolescent and young motherhood requires a deep understanding of the various structural factors leading to early pregnancies and parenting. As my team and I have carried out our project, the first challenge we faced was the invisibility of teenage and young mothers as key populations within the country’s sexual and reproductive health policies.

What we learned from this was the importance of exploring the diverse realities of the adolescent and young mothers in Mexico, while contextualizing the strategies aimed at promoting and ensuring their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). An example is identifying potential protective (e.g. family and community networks) or risk factors (e.g. violence and exclusion) in an adolescent or young mother’s life that could enable or hinder her to overcome the economic, social, and cultural barriers they face to fully exercise their rights. Read more...

Advancing Access to Youth-Friendly SRH Services and Information

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Martin Wanzala, Allied Youth Initiative (Uganda)

I personally believe that a country’s youth population is one of its greatest assets. However, to harness our young people’s vibrant ideas and potential, we must give them opportunities to leave a lasting impact on our communities and nations.

Young people under the age of 30 account for more than half of the world’s 7 billion people. In Uganda – the second youngest population in the world – more than 78 percent of the population is under the age of 30. The time is now for Uganda to increase investments in its young people.

One of the best ways to ensure that young people can lead healthy and productive lives is improve access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. Although the government of Uganda and its development partners support sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programs and policies, there are still not enough services to support widespread need. Read more...

The Outreach with Maureen Odour, Tanzania

Orginally posted by Maafanta.com

An interview with Maureen Odour, a Women Deliver Young Leader and Founder of Plan at Hand Girl Empowerment Project

Oumie: Greetings Lady Maureen! It’s indeed an honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with a fantastic, extremely brilliant and committed young woman as you. I must admit that I am delighted having you as our guest, especially for this month that we are celebrating International Youth day. It’s an honor to showcase your work in the Outreach. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Maureen: Oumie, I am really honored to be part of the Outreach. I am Maureen Oduor, a development specialist by profession and women and girls reproductive health rights activist. I am Kenyan but work in Tanzania with African Peace Ambassadors Tanzania. I am the regional coordinator of the organization. Also, I am one of Women Deliver’s 100 young leaders working on women and girl’s empowerment.

Oumie: Thank you. Let’s begin with a little bit of history here. We all have our different paths that have motivated us or influenced our involvement in the global women’s movement. Please tell us a little about how your journey began. Read more...

Making Progress Toward a Bangladesh Free From Dowry and Early Marriage

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: SM Shaikat, SERAC-Bangladesh

It’s still a nightmare for many girls and women from poor families in Bangladesh to get married without a dowry. Many women whose families fail to comply with dowry demands experience mental and physical abuse – and even death – at the hands of their husbands or in-laws. It is my dream to stop these atrocities and transform Bangladesh into a dowry- and early marriage-free nation.

During my legal studies, I learned that dowries and child marriage are root causes of violence against women – and I immediately realized that I had to do something to put an end to these harmful practices. Armed with little more than determination, I launched awareness campaigns aimed at young people in Bangladesh. Before I knew it, a good number of young people joined the effort. Together we pressured law enforcement agencies, worked with media and advocated with stakeholders to generate attention around our cause. Read more...

Giving Young People a Fighting Chance

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Yemurai Nyoni, Bulawayo Youth Development Organization (Zimbabwe)

I grew up under difficult circumstances. My three siblings and I were raised by a single mother, my brothers taunted me constantly and I bore witness to the vulnerability of my little sister. From these experiences, I learned how to stand up for and defend myself and speak out against injustices endured by others. I became a firm believer in progressive alternatives to restrictive societal norms, especially those that limit opportunity and equality for women. 

In my home country of Zimbabwe, child marriage is a particularly egregious problem. 1 in 3 girls are married before 18 years of age, and 90 percent of adolescent pregnancies occur among girls who are married or in unions. Taking girls from their families threatens their health and educational development and violates their rights as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Read more...

WE ARE FRESH – ARE YOU?

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Nargis Shirazi, FRESH Campaign (Uganda)

Enabling young people is one of the best ways to help a nation flourish. In my country of Uganda, youth make up nearly 80 percent of the population – an enormous wealth of untapped potential. However, poor economic and educational opportunities plague Uganda’s youth, and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) has suffered unjustly.

Sex is not openly talked about in Uganda. Ugandans suffer from alarming HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy rates, yet we deprioritize SRH and inhibit access to the youth friendly services that millions across this country desperately need. Often times, the services youth can access are counterproductive to the issues at hand – what good is preaching abstinence to someone already engaged in sex? We need to be promoting proven solutions to help Uganda’s youth live healthier, more productive lives. Read more...
 

Sustainable Development Depends on Ensuring Access to Young People’s SRHR

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Tunde Ajidagba, Campus Health & Rights Initiative (Nigeria)

I’m demanding young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the post-2015 agenda because is their fundamental human right. It encompasses the right of all individuals to make decisions concerning their sexual activity and reproduction, free from all discrimination, coercion, and violence. Access to SRHR ensures individuals are able to choose whether, when, and with whom to engage in sexual activity; to choose whether and when to have children; and to access the information and services to do so.

As we celebrate International Youth Day, even though the global community has made major strides in improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes since the International Conference and Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, it is important to remember that millions of people, mostly adolescents, still lack access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services. Read more...

Dreaming of a World without Maternal Deaths

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Numfor Alenwi Munteh, Cameroon Agenda for Sustainable Development (CASD)

I dream of a world where every woman can consciously plan and space her pregnancies, and each baby is delivered safely and in good health. However, the reality in many developing countries plays more like a nightmare.

In my home country of Cameroon, nearly 14 percent of deaths among women of reproductive age are due to maternal causes, compared to 1.5 percent in the United States and 0.5 percent in Switzerland. Globally, almost 800 women die every day due to preventable complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Ending maternal deaths will not be easy, but I’ve made it my mission to conquer this challenge. Read more...

Why Do Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Matter for Young People in the Post-2015 Agenda?

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Chukwudera Bridget Okeke, Concern Women International Development Initiative (Nigeria)

Today, adolescents constitute about half of the world’s population – more than ever before. Worldwide, the number of adolescents is estimated at 1.1 billion, with 85% of them living in developing countries. Half of these young people will have sexual intercourse by the time they reach the age of 16 and most of them by the time they are 20.

There is a high incidence of unwanted pregnancies in many developing countries. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that out of the 200 million pregnancies that occur each year, about 80 million are unwanted. It has been estimated that about 10% of all pregnancies each year occur among teenagers. Most of these pregnancies are either unwanted or unintended. Often times, adolescents are forced to resort to clandestine, and usually unsafe, abortion methods to terminate these pregnancies. Read more...

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