The 4th edition of the International Advocacy Campaign "10 Days of Activism"

The World We All Want

Y-PEER

The World We All Want

...

THE WORLD WE ALL WANT #10DoA

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Vitaliy Matievskiy



Name: Vitaliy Matievskiy
Age:28
Country:Belarus 

It’s worth to begin with the fact that I am a front man of a music band “OPEN SPACE”, which since December, 2011 performs as the Goodwill Ambassador of Y-PEER Network in Belarus. Moreover, it is very amusing for me not only to be the Goodwill Ambassador of youth peer education but to try it myself as a youth peer educator on HIV-prevention during the activities of Belarusian Association of UNESCO Clubs.  My social activity started a few years ago when the United Nations Population Fund proposed the band “OPEN SPACE” to take part in a range of chargeless performances devoted to the prevention of family violence. The successful cooperation resulted in a proposal for the band to become the Goodwill Ambassador of Y-PEER Network in Belarus for a period of two years. That was very beneficial for us as youth peer education Goodwill Ambassadors to become a part of the process in some sense. We were involved in a training course on HIV-prevention which was held under the aegis of Belarusian Association of UNESCO Clubs – a youth non-governmental organization being an active member of Y-PEER Network in Belarus. There we discovered how the future youth peer educators are trained and what knowledge they gain and transmit. The training course was very important as it opened a new sphere of social activities. Being prepared as a youth peer educator on HIV-prevention I took a chance to try my new competences.
During these days, I am supporting in conducting of trainings and seminars on HIV-prevention and youth reproductive health being held for school, college and university students from different parts of the Republic of Belarus. In April, 2012 the band wrote a song “Do you remember” in three languages that became a so called anthem for its strong cooperation with United Nations Population Fund. In May, 2012 the band “OPEN SPACE” initiated and effectively participated in the II Republican Youth Automarathon Devoted to the World Day of Remembrance of AIDS Deaths. The activeness led to a surprising but pleasant result for me. I was chosen as the best Y-PEER volunteer of the Republic of Belarus in May. The next step was that I became the best Y-PEER volunteer of the 40 countries of the International Y-PEER Network in June. And I would probably say that this is not the end. The world around me still needs to be changed for the better.
«Never put it off for tomorrow if you can do it today»

Aram Barra


Name: Aram Barra
Age:27
Country: Mexico 

Aram Barra, an International Studies Bachelor who is currently serving as Projects Director at Espolea an organization by and for young people working in Latin America and as Board Member of Youth RISE, a global network of young people working on harm reduction shares his idea with us on Young people who use drugs and their meaningful participation in the UN system

A bit over one year ago, during the launch of the 2011 Word Drug Report at the UN Headquarters in New York, Ban Ki-moon said: “Drug-dependent people should not be treated with discrimination; they should be treated by medical experts and counsellors. Drug addiction is a disease, not a crime”. Nevertheless, countries around the world continue to criminalize people who use drugs. Some countries even elevate risks to health to the point of applying death penalty punishments for holding scarce grams of any illegal drug. It doesn't matter how much we ignore the fact that it happens, wide violations of human rights of people who use drugs continues to be a reality.

The issue is enormous and complex, and thus there’s no easy solution. However, for the past couple of years an increasing number of organizations and groups of young people working at different levels have attempted to change the status quo. If 60 years of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and 40 years of a war on drugs have not impeded young people to experiment and use drugs, one can only question: Are we doing something wrong? If current policies have only served to deter young people from accessing health services, counseling and life-saving harm reduction and overdose prevention programs, are we indeed listening to the words of the UN Secretary General? Are our drug policies really treating “drug addiction” as “a disease,  not a crime”?

Following the innovative introduction of young people's meaningful participation in the debates, decisions and programs that affect our lives -- led by UNAIDS and more recently the United Nation Population Fund -- the UN agency  charged with drug control, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), decided to create a so-called 'Youth Initiative'. The process is and continues to be opaque to say the least. A group of young people from around the world were flown into Vienna, Austria, to partake in the annual meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in  March 2012.

As is so common in drug policy, rather than drawing on a diversity of views for an honest debate, engaged stakeholders were fractured to work at cross-purposes. Little did it matter to the 'Youth Initiative' of UNODC that other networks, organizations and young people have in fact worked to open up spaces to participate in the meeting for young people for several years. Young people who have been active in these fora have followed debates closely, reported on annual outcomes and are in direct communication with their ambassadors to better understand the impacts that current drug policies have on young people. Nevertheless, existing youth groups were never included in the new initiative. In fact they were blocked-out of "closed-door meetings" held at the annual Commission. The Initiative came out of these meetings with a document titled, 'Youth Discussion Guide: Thematic Overviews, Activities, Links' that states that "people who use drugs are not able to be responsible persons in their communities or become successful mentors to young people." This suggests that there is nothing we can learn from those young people that have  experienced the impacts of drug policies first-hand.

During that CND meeting, a young person was offered to speak at the forum for the first time in history. Countries and UNODC staff were willing, for once, to listen to a young person's voice. The blog reporting on it bluntly called his speech "Youth from all over the world make their statement at the 55th Commission on Narcotic Drugs" even though, as mentioned before, the whole process has been all but representative of 'youth from all around the world'.

The Initiative was recently given a second opportunity to speak, this time before the Thematic Debate on "Drugs and Crime as a Threat to Development" at the General Assembly last June. There, the young speaker assured "Most of our families are broken families, and most of the youth are orphans, which is why drug abuse has increased". The speaker added, "Young people are ignorant. Ignorance has also permitted this epidemic to spread and has limited our vision to be disseminated under the guidance of ideology."

Apart from the evident lack of understanding of what representation and meaningful participation means to this whole process, one can only  wonder: How many decisions are made in a similar fashion? How much longer  do most affected and at risk youth  need to wait to have a say on the decisions that affect our lives? Can stigmatizing discourse -- even if said by a young person --  really be the path forward to responding to the real needs of young people who use drugs?

As Simone Weil once said, "The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply mean being able to say, What are you going through?" If the ‘Youth Initiative’, as a project of the UN family, really stands for the ideals of defending human rights and the well-being of people all around the world, it would, one would assume, at least listen to the voices of those who it claims to represent. We hope to be able to contribute to this in the near future in an organized manner. But there are things to do as individuals as well. If we really care for our neighbors, we could start by questioning our current policies and wonder how we can better them.

In this edition of ’10 days of activism’ I want to ask you to think about your country’s drug policy. I want to invite you to reflect on their impacts and ask those who  are most affected by them, how can we better them? Whatever answer you come up with should attempt to stay away from paternalistic and vacuous action. After all, meaningful participation -regardless of your use of drugs- is based on the right we all have to decide how we want to live our lives and the principles of human rights. 

Tetiana Maznova



Name: Tetiana Maznova
Age:23
Country:Ukraine

Hi ! My name is Tetiana and I’m 23 years old. I’m from Ukraine. Since 2011 I`m a volunteer of Women Health and Family Planning  within the peer education project, implemented in Ukraine with support of IPPF. I`m involved in many different activities that are connected with sexual education, reproductive rights and its advocacy.
In particular, i was involved in organizing and conducting training sessions for adolescents related to sexual and reproductive health, communication, relations, contraception, etc. I help trainers to conduct exercise and  discussions, prepare with them info kits which are nessesary for the training sessions, take part in evaluation of the trainings etc. I am also a member of Youth group of the WHFP, so take part in number of  meetings and activities organised by Youth group members. In addition, as a representative of the Youth group i was delegated to participate in the annual meeting of YSAFE (Youth Sexual Awareness from Europe) held in February 2012 in Brussels, and presented there current situation of sexual education in Ukraine, and the work of WHFP and volunteers regarding this.   
In general, I am as a volunteer trying to make my peers to be more awaring about all the things related to their health and behaviour as I understand very clear that thatkind of  information is very necessary for our youth to feel more confident and to make right and safe decisions in the lifes, including sexual life. That is why I am trying to do my best with my voluntary work and will go on this activity in future.
I like to work with Youth generation and I feel very inspired by my voluntary activity. When I think that I can make this world better and people happier – I`m like on the seventh heaven. I find inspiration in the thankful letters, nice smiles, interested eyes and so on. My peers like listening my presentations, my stories and that`s great. There is nothing better than people`s attention on your work, your desires, your minds. I like mygroup of peers and they like me. That`s my inspiration. They say, in my country: „All is in your hands!”. So let`s do something good to this world! And I`m trying to. 

Country Highlights - Day 6

Lots of activities happening on 6th September also - check out the latest updates received from Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, China!

Lebanon

" Sawt Al Mahaba " Radio Station discussed with  “Think Positive” young activists about the 10 DoA Campaign in Lebanon. The audience of the radio show is usually between 600 to 1000 youth all over the country.
They discussed about taboos in their culture and ways of overcoming them as well as other sexual reproductive health and rights topics. The radio show host was very happy to have them as guest speakers and invited the team for further activities and events.
The radio appearance was very important because soon after it, more young people have approached  “Think Positive” and showed their interest in supporting the campaign. Also, other media channels found out about the ongoing activities and featured 10DoA news in their daily updates

Uzbekistan
In Uzbekistan, in the city Termez, Y-PEER activists Avazbek Omonov and Liliya Sabitova conducted an awareness raising seminar for 40 young people. As part of the 10 DoA Campaign, they introduced basic information about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections and contracteptive methods. They also promoted the work done by Y-PEER and the messages of the 10 DoA Campaign at national and international level.




Kenya 
In Nyeri town, at the Aphia Plus boardroom, 9 young people participated in a Photo mission/digital story telling workshop. They are representatives of the groups that are taking part in the Kenya national 10 DoA campaign and they were trained on how to take photos that will transmit the story behind the subject. This is part of the preparation phase of the exhibition that will be done in the last day of the campaign. After the short capacity building session, they all went on field and practiced and received feed-back on how to improve their photo shooting skills.

Kyrgyzstan
A Forum Theatre performance was held at the Kyrgyz National University, for the first course students of the faculty of Law. The play was focused on 3 main problems, related to the adaptation of young internal migrants in big cities and how they can deal with problems through assistance of Youth friendly services.
The audience was mainly in ages 16-18 from rural area, internal migrants who could face issues with adaptation in new environment, big city life, with adolescent violence, health problems, violation of their rights.
During the performance there were more than 6 interventions, where students had opportunity to show their ideas, and try to find a way how to solve the difficult situations that occurred in the performance. Young people were very active, and showed a high interest regarding the theater process. At the end of the play, the facilitator gave reference booklets about SRHR and h friendly services.

Also, in the same day, a workshop on Youth friendly services issues was conducted and 60 students of the faculty of Law participated. Most students were from regions and villages, and this was their first year in Bishkek, the capital city so they didn’t have any information about YFS. During the session most of the questions from students were about free access and contacts of existing Youth friendly polyclinics, medical centers, consultations. At the end of the session, handouts regarding sexual reproductive health of youth and Youth friendly services contacts in Bishkek were distributed.

China
In China, young activists worked on one online activity – it is hosted by “weibo” – a website which is similar to twitter. Since China banned twitter and facebook, weibo has been used as Chinese twitter and it is very popular nowadays. Therefore, for the 10 Days of Activism, they encouraged  young people to use the platform and share photos that show what are the messages they want to bring up front, what is important to them and what are their demands. The online activism will continue in upcoming days also, you can follow the link http://weibo.com/chinayouthnetwork/profile?topnav=1&wvr=3.6



Macedonia
In Macedonia, Y-PEERs organized capacity building training on project management and advocacy. 41 Young people from all around Macedonia were given opportunity in improving their knowledge and skills for active participation in society. During the training, youth developed 4 project initiatives related to participation in the decision making processes, sexual and reproductive health and rights, youth friendly services and promotion of inter culture in Macedonia. Furthermore, Y-PEER trainers will monitor project promotion to donors and will continue to empower youth to work on active citizenship.

Philippines

An activity named ‘Picture in support’ during School Intramurals and Sportfest. IEC meterials were distributed among University students of Cagayan De Oro College-Phinma and awareness campaign for the 10DoA. Short information sessions were also organized among students, school leaders about the 10DoA, photo opportunity in support of the activity.  More than 200 young people were benifited through the activity. IEC materials like; Fan about GBV, Leaflets of 10DoA, Baller of VAWC, Family Planning Fan, etc were distributed.

Turkey
Some short videos with around 20  young people was recorded to get their perception on SRH and rights, youth participation, comprehensive sexually education and youth friendly health services. After recording, these videos have been edited and uploaded in different social media platform. 
Y-PEER Local Samsun Team organized a meeting with Samsun Education Association  (Emin Kırbıyık) to introduce 10 DoA and its messages. The meeting was for 45 minutes and as the result, Mr. Emin Kırbıyık promised that he will follow the process of youth participation in the organisation.

Check out the planned activities from 42 countries

Display the full Calendar of 10DoA : https://www.google.com/calendar/render

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