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Ponton Group of Sex Educators awarded with the With and For Girls Award

The With and For Girls Collective is a group of nine organisations united by a common belief that girls are agents of change. Comic ReliefEMpowerFRIDAMama CashNike FoundationNoVo FoundationPlan International UK, Stars Foundation – the Collective’s convening partner –  and The Global Fund for Children have come together to co-create a global awards initiative to find and fund locally-led girl-centred organisations working with and for girls.

Despite the critical role that women and girls play in sustainable development, the World Bank estimates that less than 2 cents of every $1 spent on international aid is directed towards adolescent girls, and it is estimated that only about 1% of all official aid, and an even smaller portion of humanitarian assistance, goes directly to the global south.

The Collective demonstrates that donors can fund in a meaningful way, allowing grassroots girl-led organisations to receive the flexible funding they so desperately need. 

Ponton Group of Sex Educators was founded by a group of young activists in Poland in 2001 to help empower young people to embrace adolescence and adulthood with confidence by improving their knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights through education and advocacy. 

Ponton, which means life raft in Polish, works with youth aged 13-19, with a particular focus on adolescent girls. The organisation, affiliated with the Federation for Women and Family Planning, provides comprehensive sexuality education for teens as well as online and phone counselling services.

It also organises awareness and advocacy campaigns on sexuality education, sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted and teen pregnancies. Ponton advocates on a national and regional level in order to include comprehensive sexuality and relationship education into the mandatory school curriculum.

Ponton runs extensive research projects on the state of sexual education in the country. These studies help reinforce and deliver advocacy messages and educate the community on good standards of gynaecological care, especially for young women, LGBTQ women and women with disabilities.

Ponton is a girl-centred organisation that works on highly controversial topics in Poland. Its programmes are relevant to the context in which it operates, and to date, it has impacted over 5,000 people.

source: Stars Foundation

"Worlds Apart": UNFPA's State of the World Population Report 2017

Access an interactive version of the report HERE or download the file HERE

Welcome letter to the new UNFPA Executive Director

Together with ASTRA Network, ASTRA Youth has issued a letter of welcome to Dr. Natalia Kanem, the newly appointed Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund.

In the letter the coordinators of ASTRA Network and ASTRA Youth present the work of their organizations,  express the willingness of cooperation with the UNFPA regarding the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as offer their support and expertise in this area. 

You can access the letter HERE

 

International Safe Abortion Day Watchdog

To mark September 28, the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights launched the 2017 International Safe Abortion Day Watchdog. The Watchdog is authored, edited, and designed entirely by young people. In it, you will find photographs, essays, research, infographics, artwork, and poetry from all around the world, including: Pakistan, the Philippines, Venezuela, Ecuador, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Colombia, Turkey, Canada, Egypt, and Chile.

Access the Watchdog HERE

“Embracing Controversy: Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Conservative Europe” Webinar

The webinar will look at Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in Central and Eastern Europe at a time of rising populism. Speakers will discuss the changing political environment and how this has affected their activism. Marta Paczkowska, the Coordinator of ASTRA Youth will be one of the featured speakers, along with Featured Kinga Wiśniewska, YouAct (Poland) and Marianella Matejcic, PaRiter (Croatia). 

Register here by September 9.

 

Abortion Toolkit 2.0

Please fill in and distribute this survey by August 15, 2017

Your input will contribute to the development of a set of practical guidelines for a youth-led abortion storytelling toolkit for young people in Eastern Europe. 

Join our webinar about the "Youth in Power" strategy

The Youth in Power webinar will take place on Monday, 24 July at 1 pm CET. The webinar is part of the launch of the Youth in Power Strategy, an up-to-date youth SRHR strategy, developed by youth, for youth. Attached to this e-mail, you will find the Youth in Power Strategy along with a two page overview of the main findings and policy recommendations from the Youth in Power project.

The webinar has the main purpose of providing a platform for discussion on how the strategy can be used as an advocacy tool. Furthermore, the webinar will also provide more in-depth knowledge on the survey findings as well as an opportunity for Q&A with the project partners.

The webinar will be held on a Blue Jeans Connection kindly provided by UNFPA ECCARO. Please ensure that you log on at least 10 minutes before, since the computer requires time to download the software.

To join via Computer:

https://bluejeans.com/988682756/browser

To join via phone:

1)  Dial: 

                +1.408.740.7256 (United States) 

                +1.888.240.2560 (US Toll Free)

                (see all numbers - http://bluejeans.com/numbers)

2)  Enter Conference ID : 988682756

If you have any questions about the webinar or the Youth in Power project, please feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Youth in Power - Joint Youth Strategy for SRHR in Europe and Central Asia

We are glad to present the outcome of the “Youth in Power” project – a Joint Youth Strategy for sexual and reproductive rights in Europe and Central Asia, developed by youth advocates from the region.

The “Youth in Power” project was conducted through a joint partnership of the following youth organizations operating in Europe and Central Asia: YouAct, YSAFE, Y-PEER, the PETRI-Sofia Center, and ASTRA Youth, as well as their national level counterparts.

The youth organizations mobilized more than 1,000 young people between 15 and 30 years old who answered a questionnaire gathering their views on current challenges they face regarding their sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well their recommendations, measures and actions that need to be taken by youth-led networks and policy and decision-makers.

Based on their input, 28 young SRHR activists from 15 countries gathered in Kiev, Ukraine in December 2016, in order to analyse the results, to build their advocacy skills and to develop a joint youth strategy for SRHR lobby and advocacy for the upcoming years (2017-2025).

DOWNLOAD THE FULL OR SHORT VERSION OF THE STRATEGY. 

We would like to acknowledge the support provided by Council of Europe’s European Youth Foundation (EYF), UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (UNFPA EECARO) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN).

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. 

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