Last year, IPPF and our global Member Associations delivered a staggering 98.2 million sexual and reproductive health services to young people aged 25 and under – that’s approximately 45% of all services delivered. When young people are able to access and manage their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) with dignity and care, their chances of thriving in life increase, and as such we work with and for youth populations around the world in many ways. Take a look at some of the ways we have been involved with this and, more importantly, how young people themselves have been the driving force behind the fight for SRHR for all.
Young volunteers connect their peers to information and contraceptive care
Kondwani, a 22-year-old Youth Action Movement (YAM) volunteer, not only distributes condoms locally, she also challenges her peers to show her on a wooden model how to use them, because she knows that this can pose a problem for some people.
Activities like this in hard-to-reach areas are one of many that the YAM delivers across Malawi. Trained and hosted by Youth Life Centres, which provide sexual and reproductive healthcare aimed at youth, volunteers like Kondwani meet up regularly and reach out to their peers in schools, universities, and on social media.
Learn more about Kondwani
Defending human rights in the face of unrelenting attacks
Nadia believes activism can change the world. Over the last few years in Poland, women’s reproductive choices have been stripped back at an alarming rate. The young activist wants to reverse this erosion of women’s rights by campaigning for better reproductive, labour and social rights across the country. Nadia is painfully aware that in Poland, where public discourse is dominated by men, the belief that “children and young women have no voice” still reigns.
As a result of her activism, Nadia has become the target of visceral personal attacks online, unrelenting violent behaviour, sexism & discrimination – but she hasn't given up.
Learn more about Nadia
Using street dance to teach about consent, contraception and more
Abdoulaye Camara is the best dancer in the neighbourhood, and he’s not afraid to show it. But Abdoulaye’s moves aren't just for fun – he's head of the dance troupe of the Youth Action Movement, belonging to the Association Malienne pour la Protection et la Promotion de la Famille, which uses dance and comedy sketches to talk about sex.
“We distract them with dance and humour and then we transmit those important messages about sex without offending them,” explains Abdoulaye. Sexuality, STIs, consent, early/unintended pregnancy, contraception, and more – no topic is off the table for Abdoulaye and his troupe.
Learn more about Abdoulaye
Providing information and contraceptive care to young people in school
Access to information and contraceptives has always been a priority for Famia Planea Aruba (FPA) – whether through their office, a delivery service, or in schools.
For over 15 years FPA has worked in partnership with one of the largest secondary schools on the island. The FPA team visits the school every month to provide guidance, counselling, and contraceptive care to students, and to help ensure they stay in school to complete their education.
The FPA team works with students to build trust and ensure they feel safe to talk openly. This helps to provide a sense of consistency for the student and the team, who are better able to notice if something changes, and if a student needs a referral to a medical doctor or other organization for additional treatment.
Learn more about FPA
Surviving an earthquake as a young mother during COVID-19
Shortly after becoming a mother at 18, Herlina’s home was struck by a powerful earthquake in January, forcing her and her baby Nur to flee. She had to deal with this terrifying situation alone, all during the COVID-19 pandemic as well.
The Indonesia Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA) health volunteer team were able to support Herlina by providing sexual and reproductive healthcare services, specifically advising Herlina on postpartum care. The team also gave Herlina dignity kits, which included sanitary pads, underclothes, and soap to maintain proper hygiene, which is a common challenge in displaced communities.
Learn more about Herlina
Abe the ‘Youth Warrior’
“It’s time to be talking about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) early on, let’s not wait until young people get in trouble.” Abe's voice reveals the energy and passion of someone who is doing what they were destined to do.
He is a proud member of the LGBTI community, as well as of his local church – two worlds he tries to bring together in order to spread important healthcare messages among other young people.
Along with SRHR, Abe also cares deeply about tackling climate change: "In my role as a youth worker and activist, I tell people to fight climate change: to grow more mangroves and to clean up the beach. Because we love our Kiribati."
Learn more about Abe
Creating safe spaces for young people to get healthcare services without judgement
20-year-old Zahra Amri has been working with Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI) since she was 13. Starting out as a Youth Action Movement member, she then became a peer educator for young people and now works at UMATI’s Youth Center.
“There are several issues that as youth we must talk about, no matter what,” says Zahra. “The community and parents have myths and misconceptions that youth should not be able to speak about sexual reproductive health. But this situation affects most adolescents who face many challenges in life.
For Zahra, it’s imperative that young people are educated about how to identify and report gender-based violence (GBV), as well as learning all about menstruation (particularly for girls living in poverty), gender equality and more.
Learn more about Zahra