We are There, We are the One
-The urgency to addressing Youth’s Participation for Programming and Advocacy
Regional Youth Moving/ Yunnan Health and Development Research Association
As young people (who are engaging into the youth movement), I am experienced that there is less opportunity for young people to be meaningfully involved into the programming, sharing resource, reviewing outcomes and evaluation, as well as impacting decision making process. Globally, young people identified as the forefront of the society development, but their rights’ especially sexual and reproductive rights are still oppressed by having minimal representativeness within stakeholders’ decision making process and implementation.
Young people is moving forward by leading initiatives and championing advocacy activities as well as raising awareness on young people’s SRHR to wider constituent. Furthermore, there is some youth-oriented organizations that allocated resources to support participation of young people in advocacy arena, such as the international forums and relevant advocacy events. I, myself have experienced in joined some of these avenue such as the 10th ICAAP, New Gen Mentorship programme, the 6th APCRSHR, and regional internship programme. My reflection toward these engagements is that Young people start to change the world, and we are moving forward and forward. Moreover, I feel that there’s a strong relevance and parallel process between regional and local level advocacy mobilization. In my work with the community of young people from Jing Po ethnic group, the information on young people’s SRHR that being given to them enabled them to exercise their rights. Moreover, a series of leadership building activities for them emerge into an initiatives by them to create a local youth organization which being led by a young women. Sharing experiences between my engagement in local and regional level may contribute the youth movement all over the world.
This time, I would like to share about my participation during the Asia Pacific Youth Partners Advocacy Training and Strategy Meeting: In preparation for Commission on Population & Development 2012. That is convened in Bangkok, on 9-10 February 2012. The meeting heavily discussed about the plan to mobilize youth voices in Commission on Population and Development (CPD) 2012 especially the advocacy plan. From this meeting, I do feel that advocacy is not just a word, a collection of video showing or a show, it is requires critical thinking process and in depth political analysis from the young people itself. I also learned a lot from other attendants. For example, Inna (SAMSARA) who provided pre and post abortion counseling in Indonesia, and as religious fundamentalism is a huge threat, the risk that she beared. Align with Inna’s vision, I do believe that young women and girls have the ultimate agency to make decision about their body.
In addition, the meeting also highlights the Link between the processes of ICPD+20 and Rio+20 to advance young people’s SRHR. Therefore, civil society must be stronger in asking government to be accountable for the processes. Especially for youth-led organization who is working on young people’s SRHR-there’s a need to address SRHR agenda beyond social health issues; but as a matter of rights. The sharing with over 15 attendants of this meeting, was a good experience to learn why young people should participate into the procressess for a whole, but not just be considered as the beneficiary or target group. How to protect their rights on decision making in many aspects (policies, programming, evaluation, self-determination in multiple levels) with the challenge of youth-adult relationship nowadays.
Of course, we may find that comprehensive sexual education, youth-friendly services, youth diversity, supportive environment, safe abortion, violence and etc. are the important issued concerned, however, this time, we need to reclaim the importance of youth participation. Therefore, we can be stand in a space, reviewing our strategy on youth’s SRHR issues in CPD and other high level international events, and look forward the visibility of young people’s voice to the world!