What do you know about the IPPF ESEAOR Youth Network? What is the first thing that comes into your mind when we mention these words?
Currently the IPPF ESEAOR youth network is fluid and still in the process of building in the East, South East Asia and Oceania region. Since November 2011 all of our activities have been online discussion based. We luckily had a chance to meet with each other for a four day workshop about Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Bangkok. Yes! One special day for young people and adults to sit together and discuss how and what we can do to further build this youth network and ensure the voices of young people in the region can be heard worldwide!
A regional youth consultative meeting was held on the 17th – 20th February 2012. This meeting gathered six youth representatives from six IPPF ESEAOR MA’s, four youth participants from regional organisations (Youth LEAD and YPEER) and IPPF staff.
This meeting was designed to consult with youth activists on how to build, maintain, mobilize, and strategize youth networks on a regional level. We also worked on formulating and realizing what meaningful youth participation is in programs and how to advocate initiatives!
It was revealed that the common challenge while working with young people is the knowledge transfer process, coping with limited funding, and making sure adults understand that young people need space and time for capacity building to empower them. One particular challenge on a regional level is language barriers. Language barriers are a big obstacle when linking young people on the grassroots level with regional process
We were lucky to have Arushi Singh, one of the founders of SARYN (South Asia Regional Youth Network) shared her experience about the building process of youth network. He explained that the regional youth network should be supported by a strong national youth network, and this should be a priority when developing the youth network.
Therefore, it is important to have committed SRHR youth activists working continuously to support this network. This can be hard, as sometimes adults use age as an excuse not to involve young people. This should not be a barrier, instead it should be a common cause to build the capacity of young people.
“This meeting will help build the ESEAOR Youth Network. Working with young people doesn’t mean we don’t need the adults, we should build trust with the adults.”
In the afternoon session we met with our internal youth network. We discussed how to build up youth media on a national level, youth friendly services, youth adult partnerships, and the upcoming regional youth forum in July 2012. We also shared about upcoming regional and international events and how young people can meaningfully engage in their processes. In 2012 events being held are, the United Nation CPD meeting, International AIDS Conference, ASEAN People’s Forum and Rio+20 Earth Summit.
This year will be a challenging year for us to advocate regionally and internationally. This meeting helped bring young people into a safe space for them to share about their work on a national level and to start involving them more in regional processes.
Are you interested in joining us? Start contributing in your respective MA’s and we will keep you updated! 😀