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ASTRA Youth at a European conference on sexuality education in Berlin

On May 15-16, 2017 Antonina Lewandowska, a representative of ASTRA Youth from the PONTON Group of Sex Educators based in Warsaw, Poland, participated in the international conference "Sexuality Education: Lessons Learned and Future Developments in the WHO European Region" in Berlin. The conference was held by German Federal Centre for Health Education (BZGA), World Health Organization, UNESCO and International Planned Parenthood Federation and hosted almost 200 SRHR scientists and activists, alongside with the representatives of the German authorities. Antonina Lewandowska was a member of the Youth Delegation – a group consisting of associates from other European organizations led by young activists. 

During the conference, its attendants had a chance to take part in a number of panels on the vast spectrum of subjects, varying from  sexual and gender-based violence, through parental involvement in modern-day sexual education, to use of modern technologies and social networks in the area of working with young people. As the conference focused on analyzing past and present data in creating roadmaps for the future, there were new research data presented, both from Europe and Central Asia. This data, combined with experience of the panelists and attendants, were used in elaborating new modes of action, better suited for contemporary political and social situation in the region.

The most resounding thought of the conference was the one expressed by Dr. Gunta Lazdane, the Regional Advisor for Sexual and Reproductive Health working with the WHO, that the differences between Western and Eastern Europe, as well as Central Asia are a real issue to overcome and the work on introducing minima should be a priority. However, this work still remains a struggle mainly because of poor, populist governments, relying on their rightist electorates. This mission is yet more important because of the galloping revival of conservative and populist movements across the region. 

Youth statement at the UN ECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

The United Nations Economic Commission of Europe Regional Forum on Sustainable Development was held in Geneva, Switzerland on 24-25 April 2017. The Europe and Central Asia Youth Alliance that issued a youth statement that was endorsed by ASTRA Youth, which is a member of the alliance. 

ASTRA Youth at the 50th session of the Commission on Population and Development

AiPIn late March two young activists, Marta Paczkowska (ASTRA Youth Coordinator, Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland) and Julita Valancauskyte (Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Lithuania), traveled to New York at the invitation of the International Women’s Health Coalition as representatives of ASTRA Youth. For the first three days of their stay they participated in an IWHC Advocacy in Practice training aiming to prepare them for SRHR advocacy during the 50th session of the Commission on Population and Development that took place April 3-7 at the United Nations. Marta and Julita were the only representatives of Europe, as the rest of the participants came from the following countries: India, Pakistan, Kenya, South Africa, Fiji, Tunisia, Egypt, USA, Belize, Argentina, and Colombia. During the AiP, activists learned about the history of women’s rights at the UN, worked on developing a common SRHR agenda and a map of country positions, learned how to influence UN language, how to understand the opposition and the UN negotiation process, as well as how to develop and deliver advocacy messages.

CPD50A day before the CPD began, ASTRA Youth representatives attended a strategy session of the International Sexual and Reproductive Rights Caucus, where they joined the Opposition Monitoring and Advocacy working group, as well as the European group. Each day of the Commission a morning meeting of the ISRRC took place, where several dozen activists and advocates from all over the world discussed the work of the commission and exchanged information and ideas for more effective advocacy.

As it turned out on the last day of the commission, member countries were not able to reach consensus on the draft resolution, and therefore, there was no agreed outcome document at this year’s CPD. At the end of the session Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN, Ambassador Ion Jinga, was elected Chair of the 51st session of the Commission on Population and Development in 2018.

See more photos from the AiP training HERE and from the CPD HERE

Read a more detailed ASTRA Youth report on CPD50 HERE.

CSW61 Young Feminist Caucus Statement Realeased

YFV

In March, young feminists representing different youth-led and youth-serving civil society organizations from around the world came together at the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. In a political climate of increasing conservatism, religious fundamentalism, and an aggressive rollback of the rights of women and marginalized people, young feminists gathered to share an alternative vision of a world that respects all genders and sexualities, upholds gender equality, and places human rights at the core of its mandate.

Read the #YoungFeministVisions statement HERE

Young Bulgarian volunteers participate in the creation of an online simulation game for prevention of sexual violence and harassment

The activities are implemented under the CONVEY - Counteracting sexual violence and harassment: Engaging Youth in schools in digital education on gender stereotyping project.

A total number of 12 young people aged 16-18 years participated in the first meeting on 7 March 2017 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, organized by the Gender Alternatives Foundation. The youth is part of the Bulgarian Youth Red Cross – Plovdiv. Such meetings are to be held in 6 European countries – Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, UK and Bulgaria. The meetings will allow young people across EU to contribute to the creation of an online simulation game, aiming at educating and raising awareness on gender stereotyping and sexualisation of women and men. The online simulation game will be used as a tool to educate and will contribute to changing behaviour and attitudes of young people in relation to violence, harassment and gender stereotyping.

The young volunteers will take part in 6 meetings on the creation of the video game and contribute their perspective on gender
stereotypes, sexual violence and harassment to the development of the online simulation game. Firstly, peer consultants will provide input and feedback to the development of the online simulation game. Then, peer consultants will participate in the testing of the tool.

This project is co-funded by the Rights, Equality & Citizenship Programme of the European Union and it’s being implemented by organisations in 6 EU countries: CESIE (IT), The Smile of the Child (GR), Hope for Children (CY), Sexual Violence Centre Cork (IE), Gender Alternatives (BG), and Westminster City Council (UK). 

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