Dear fellows, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to you all
I am greatly honored and pleased to welcome you all to the 6th Pacific Conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth forum. I am Syefa Ahmed, IPPF Governing Council Youth Member and Chairperson of the South Asia Regional Youth Network of IPPF, SAR. As we all know the 6th APCRSHR is hoping that sexual and reproductive health and rights in Asia Pacific will be more respected. The current challenges in Asia Pacific region, such as the sensitive issues of sexual and reproductive health, need to be addressed. It is therefore critical to claim sexual and reproductive rights within Asian and Pacific societies.
This Year the theme for the Youth forum is “Youth Access to Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights”.
Therefore we are looking at pushing the commitments and accountability of our governments on:
1. Comprehensive sexuality education for young people
Firstly CSE is more than a curriculum.
CSE is about contributing to overcoming all the challenges every young person face with regard to theirSRHR. It is meant to:
- Increase ability of young people to participate in society and to promote human rights and civic participation
- Increase sense of self-esteem and responsible decision making skills
- Increase sense of sexual enjoyment and wellbeing
- Reduce rates of unintended pregnancy
- Reduce rates of STIs and HIV
- Reduce rates of sexual coercion
- Reduce rates of gender-based violence
As you all in one we work towards
All adolescents and young people are aware of their sexual and reproductive rights, are empowered to make informed choices and decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health, and are able to act on them.
2. Youth friendly service for young people, including access to wide range of contraceptive method
Adolescents are the forgotten millions in reproductive health programs. Although the numbers of young people who need information and services are enormous, services are scarce, fragmented or nonexistent. Let’s not forget that the Asia Pacific has the highest number of young people in the whole world!
Providing youth-friendly services does not necessarily mean building a new clinic. It can mean adding adolescent-only hours or offering services in places where adolescents congregate, such as youth centers, sporting events or work sites, in a non judgmental way. For community-based workers, it can mean including young people in home visits. And for all health workers, it means establishing or working within a referral network.. One good example of this practice is FPAB’s Initiative to Youth Friendly Services called “TARAR MELA” where everyone starting from peer educator to counselors to trainers is all youth. I would want to quote a statement for a youth counselor perspective which says….
. With someone your own age, you will be serious. You’ll feel at ease. With someone older, you don’t want to discuss some things, problems, what’s in your heart.” Youth Counselor
Another young person who received services from FAP India said….
These days, I tell my friends don’t take risks, Use condoms. Come to me. I’ll provide free also until they are confident themselves (they say ‘if I go and buy condoms in a shop, they will doubt my character) – I do not mind buying for them. At least they will stay risk-free.
So let’s learn from this success stories which have BROKEN THE MISCONCEPTIONS , HIDDEN FACTS & BOUNDATIONS of these young people and let them be able to MAKE this WORLD BETTER & MAKE OTHERS AWARE AS ME.
3. Youth diversity
It is very important for all of us to recognize the evolving capacity of a young person. The Asia Pacific is made of very different societies, situations, realities. Growing up in unstable situations, sometimes being forcibly removed from family, being thrust into the lives of strangers… these aren’t ideal situations for engaging young people. Physical, mental, or emotional abuse, parental alcoholism, poverty, multi-generational homelessness, and myriad other factors drive children and youth onto the streets.
Every young person is unique and diverse – we must respect all young people’s differences and diversities. Young people’s diversities may be enabling or limiting depending on the context in which they live. Youth services, programmes and education should be designed and delivered in an equitable way that is responsive to their diversities.
Too often in our societies we keep forgetting that sexuality is knowing who you are, loving yourself, and exploring yourself. Everybody experiences their sexuality in a unique way. This results in a big diversity of sexual expressions. No young person should be forced to conform to gender or sexual norms.
We must move beyond tolerance towards celebrating young people’s diversities.