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Astra youth

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.