Learning Strategies to Promote Youth Sexual Rights in the Region
Samuel Nemir Olivares, Profamilia Puerto Rico Youth Director
During the meetings of the Youth Network at this year's Regional Council, the youth members had the opportunity to speak with staff and participate in professional development workshops. The workshops were filled with support and encouragement, in addition to concrete skills.
During her speech on youth sexual rights, Regional Director Carmen Barroso urged us to enhance youth participation within our Member Associations and also on the Board of Directors. She highlighted that youth participation is a core principle of IPPF/WHR's strategic vision and encouraged us to strengthen our advocacy around getting youth sexual rights recognized in international forums and agreements, such as the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
The next ICPD meeting will be held in 2014, twenty years after the 1994 landmark conference in Cairo that adopted a 20-year Programme of Action to advance gender equality, eliminate violence against women, and provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services as cornerstones of population and development policies. The Programme of Action did not, however, explicitly include youth sexual rights; that is a challenge for our generation to overcome.
One strategy for addressing this need is through strategic communications. During Regional Council, the youth members received a workshop on effective messaging from Kelly Castagnaro, Director of Communications. Kelly discussed the key elements involved in delivering a successful message. She taught us that our messages should be clear, compelling, consistent, and correct in order to have the greatest impact.
How to best use new technologies and social media was a theme discussed by Public Affairs Associate Tochtli Garcia. Tochtli explained how powerful social media can be in bringing awareness about sexual rights and reproductive health and advocating for legal reforms and societal changes. He highlighted the importance of actively participating in social media, interacting with our various audiences online, and sharing our projects in interesting and creative ways.
After Regional Council ends, the Youth Network will test out our newly gained skills by working together on a region-wide campaign celebrating IPPF’s 60th anniversary. Keep an eye out for more from us in November!