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Astra youth

New member announcement!

We are very pleased to announce that ASTRA Youth has gained a new member - The SPUNK Foundation of Modern Education, based in Łódź, Poland. 

Spunk has been working in the field of SRHR since 2010, when they initiated their own program of sexuality education for secondary school students. It's been very successful and has been receiving positive feedback both from students and school counselors as well as psychologists. Over the last 8 years their sex ed workshops has been attended by over five thousand teenagers. Spunk was also able to convince members of the Lodz City Council to finance the sex education program from the city budget. The program has been running since 2012. This is a huge success and makes Lodz a pioneer city in Poland in this regard. 

Anna Jurek, who is the vicepresident of Spunk, is going to represent the organization in ASTRA Youth. You can contact her directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.You can also visit the Foundation's website www.spunk.pl and Facebook page www.facebook.com/fundacja.spunk

IPPF EN and BZgA's comprehensive country report on CSE in Europe and Central Asia

The IPPF European Network's latest analysis - done in collaboration with the BZgA (Germany's Federal Centre for Health Education) - shows that over the past two decades sexuality education has progressed, but improvements are still needed. The report covers the state of play and latest developments in the field across 25 European and Central Asian countries, including aspects related to the quality of programmes and the impact on young people’s health. The roll-out of sexuality education differs widely within the region and while promising steps have been taken, we look forward to more progress.

Sexuality education addresses the need to foster emotional-sexual intelligence and the capacity for healthy, intimate bonding and growth. It is based on an understanding of the concepts of consent, equity and respect for one’s own boundaries and the boundaries of others in intimate relationships and in society in general.

When young people lack these crucial skills, they inevitably face a lack of personal growth and joy as much as a lack of ability to form and foster nurturing and stable relationships with others.

To ensure that young people are equipped with these skillsets, the report authors recommend increased knowledge-sharing in the field of sexuality education as well as improving the scope of school programmes and investing in teacher trainings.

New resource about the current state of sexuality education in five European countries

Aiming to bring attention to the need for Comprehensive Sexuality Education and to empower and encourage young leaders to influence their national policies, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality and YouAct initiated the "Europe for CSE" project, with support from ShareNet. As part of this project, the aforementioned organizations have developed The Current State of Sexuality Education in Cyprus, Georgia, Poland, Romania and the Netherlands Insights from a Youth Perspective publication. 

"Europe for CSE" involves five European countries; Cyprus, Georgia, Poland, Romania, and the Netherlands. The first step of the project was to conduct a desk research by following a research template, to inform the planning of the national advocacy action plans in accordance with the identified relevant national events.

The authors have noticed that while formally sexuality education has some recognition, in practice it is not always applied as it should be. Some of the aspects that need further attention according to the research are: skills-building for dealing with situations such as pressure to engage in sexual activity, anti-bullying programs, civic education regarding what are the laws protecting children and young people from gender-based and sexual violence, including where to report it, addressing society’s taboos regarding sexuality and sexuality education and advocating for an integrated approach when it comes to young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The value of the desk research is a valuable collection of information and knowledge on CSE gathered by young people, for young people

Source: YouAct

Youth Power for Youth Rights: An Interactive Toolkit for Developing Your National Youth Strategy

Amnesty International has published a toolkit that outlines the process of developing and implementing a National Youth Strategy. It is not meant to be a one-size-fits-all template, but rather a journey you can undertake in your Section. This toolkit can also be used to integrate a youth perspective into other existing or soon to be developed strategies, such as an Activism Strategy, Fundraising Strategy, Growth Strategy and Human Rights Education Strategy. This is important as it will never be enough to have a stand-alone National Youth Strategy if other strategies and plans do not pay attention to young people.

European Youth Goals

11 European Youth Goals were created at the European Youth Conference held in Sofia, Bulgaria on April 17-19, 2018. They will be used as a direct recommendation to the European Commission, shaping the next European Youth Strategy.

 Access the Youth Goals handout in English HERE.

Source: youthgoals.eu

"Speak My Language" - Abortion Storytelling in Eastern Europe from a Youth Perspective 2.0

This practical guidelines document was created to complement the first toolkit, and as a resource which focuses on the practical aspects of developing and running a session on the abortion stigma using the storytelling technique.

Storytelling is not the only way to combat abortion stigma, but it is a powerful and necessary tool. We believe storytelling can be a form of activism, can contribute to research, can inform policies, and can benefit the person telling the story and others in similar situations. Storytelling can be used in a myriad of different ways, whether it is to raise awareness, to create a space for discussion and reflection, to provide new and diverse perspectives on a sensitive topic, or to challenge the abortion stigma that is still highly prevalent in today’s societies all over the world.

While the first toolkit provided a more theoretical description of storytelling as a method to challenge abortion stigma and raise awareness, this practical guidelines document aims to provide detailed, practical steps to help organisations, individuals and professionals organize their own storytelling session.

This resource has been developed by YouAct in close collaboration with the following local partners:

  • Real People, Real Vision from Georgia
  • Health Education and Research Association (H.E.R.A.) from the Republic of Macedonia
  • The Association for Liberty and Equality of Gender (A.L.E.G.) from Romania
  • ASTRA Youth – The Federation for Women and Family Planning from Poland

This resource will take you through 6 steps: Brainstorm & Research; Finding & Sharing Stories; Ensuring Safety; Running a Session; Support Provision; and Reporting, with the hope of providing you with the resources and tools necessary to run a successful storytelling session.

Access the new Speak My Language toolkit HERE

source: YouAct

Policy Briefs no. 3 and 4 on CSE

The Federal Centre for Health Education in Germany and the United Nations Population Fund Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia have jointly developed a series of policy briefs on sexuality education. The first two issues published in 2015 (also in cooperation with the WHO Regional Office Europe) have now been complemented by Policy Brief issues no. 3 and 4. 

Policy Brief No. 3 "Introducing Sexuality Education: Key Steps for Advocates in Europe and Central Asia" provides an overview of the most important steps for the introduction (or revision) of national in-school sexuality-education programs and reviews of existing  resources. 

It focuses on the implementation of programs and curricula and formulates recommendations on following aspects:

•       identification and assessment of needs and expectations of young people;

•       formulation of objectives and key values for programs and curricula;

•       involvement of important partners for implementation;

•       use of existing resources, and

•       process planning. 

Policy Brief No. 4 "Why Should Sexuality Education be Delivered in School-based Settings?" addresses basic principles of and necessary linkages for efficient, high-quality school-based sexuality education. It illustrates the conditions under which sexuality education in schools can be successfully implemented. The following aspects are highlighted in Policy Brief No. 4:

•       relevance of sexuality education in schools and how schools contribute to a good sexual and reproductive health in adolescents and young adults;

•       framework conditions necessary for the implementation of good and efficient sexuality education in schools;

•       roles that various stakeholders in and around school play for efficient implementation of sexuality education;

•       topics that are part of good-quality sexuality education.

Policy Brief 4 demonstrates the importance of sexuality education in schools complementary with other forms of sexuality education.

Access all four issues of the sexuality education policy briefs, each available in English and Russian, HERE.

New UN publication on sexuality education

A revised edition of the International technical guidance on sexuality education was published. The Guidance was developed to assist education, health and other relevant authorities in the development and implementation of school-based and out-of-school comprehensive sexuality education programmes and materials. It is immediately relevant for government education ministers and their  professional staff, including curriculum developers, school principals and teachers. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), youth workers and young people can also use the document as an advocacy or accountability tool, for example by sharing it with decision-makers as a guide to best practices and/or for its integration within broader agendas, such as the SDGs. The Guidance is also useful for anyone involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of sexuality education programmes both in and out of school, including stakeholders working on quality education, sexual and reproductive health (SRH), adolescent health and/or gender equality, among other issues.

Access the publication HERE.

 

SDGs for Young People, Young People for SDGs

The three-day meeting held in Sofia, Bulgaria entitled SDGs for Young People, Young People for SDGs. Tracking Progress for Young People. Europe and Central Asia Regional Dialogue on ICPD and SDGs gathered representatives of youth-led organizations and UN agencies, policy makers, statisticians, and regional partners from various countries of Europe and Central Asia. The main purpose of the event was to create a framework for youth advocacy and develop a regional monitoring system to track progress on youth-related goals and targets included in the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and the Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development.

On the first day of the meeting participants worked in groups on identifying needs and challenges of young people of the Europe and Central Asia region in the following thematic areas: health, employment, civic engagement, education, and gender. 

The next day’s sessions focused on the use and abuse of statistics, as well as selecting and validating the needs and challenges in each of the five thematic areas against the ICPD and SDGs targets and indicators. The working groups tried to select specific SDG and ICPD indicators against the previously identified needs and challenges. The day ended with a panel on initiatives on national and local levels that adavance the youth agenda. Five presentations from experts, as well as state and local government representatives were followed by a plenary discussion.

On the third day participants debated policy-making and implementation at both national and local levels, first in regard to the possible ways of using available data to hold governments accountable for their actions or lack thereof, and then the necessary resources needed in order to be more effective and persuasive in doing so.

During the concluding session of the meeting through an anonymous voting process participants chose Uliana Avtonomova from Ukraine to be their representative as a member of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe experts group on regional monitoring framework on ICPD.

The event took place on December 4-6, 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria and was organized by Y-PEER PETRI Sofia and UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office. ASTRA Youth was represented by the network coordinator. 

Read more HERE

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

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