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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. 

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). 

HERA trained peer educators in the field of comprehensive sexuality education

In February, the ASTRA Youth member from Macedonia, the Health Education and Research Association, implemented a process of accreditation for peer educators in the field of Comprehensive Sexual Education. In the previous month they launched a call for young people who want to become CSE educators, who later went through a process of certifying their experience. The initiative was promoted in the social media. HERA accepted 22 out of 40 applications according to the criteria. The selected young people had to pass two days of theoretical and interactive training in Skopje in all seven components of CSE. Afterward, they had two weeks for studying and consultation with the more experienced educators - the coordinator of the youth program and the program director of HERA.

The trainees were placed in teams of two and had to pass an oral exam in one of the CSE components in a Skopje hotel where the three-day-long examination process was organized. The first part of the examination consisted of implementing practical skills in one of the seven components in the form of randomly chosen workshops. The second part required passing a written exam that measured the participants’ knowledge, and the third part was to estimate the attitudes to the issues from the seven components.

Apart from the examination process, the second part of the training also covered communication and risk assessment workshops.

You can see photos from the training HERE.

International Women's Strike on 8 March

The International Women’s Strike is a grassroots movement established by women from different parts of the world as a response to the current social, legal, political, moral and verbal violence experienced by contemporary women at various latitudes.

On 8 March 2017 the International Women’s Strike is going to take place. The idea was initiated by the Polish Women’s Strike coalition - an informal, nonpartisan initiative of feminist organizations and activist groups that was created after the Black Monday protests on 3 October 2016 that happened in over 200 cities in Poland and abroad. The Black Protests resulted in the ruling party withdrawing from the parliamentary proceedings of the draft bill introducing a total ban on abortion.

The Polish Women’s Strike started a series of women’s protests in different countries – soon after women from South Korea and many countries in Latin America took to the streets. 

Women are a powerful force that is capable of stemming the tide of populism and that is flooding the world – after all, we are everywhere. The International Women’s Strike coalition consists of women from over 30 countries and on 8 March 2017 they will engage in various events under the slogan “Solidarity Is Our Weapon.”

How do we protest? An open form of protesting is suggested. All depends on your decision:

● total strike - stopping work or housework and social roles as caregivers for whole workday

● part-time strike – stopping production/work for 1 or 2 hours

● in case you can’t stop your work use black elements – black clothes, black ribbon or any other element decided

● boycott of companies using sexism in their advertisements or approach to workers

● boycott of chosen local misogynists (to be selected by you) 

● sex strike

● shopping strike

● blockage of roads and streets

● demonstrations, pickets, marches

● install auto-reply "out of office" and explain why

● public acts of apostasy from the Catholic church

At 6 pm of your local time all of us make one more common act - read the IWS manifest (to be announced) and make noise to shake the planet.

Want to join and organize a protest in your nation? Information and support at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Countries currently involved in the protests:

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Guatemala, Germany, Honduras, North Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Togo, Turkey, Uruguay, UK, USA.

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