Tuesday 19 January 2010

Voice of Youth For A Better Tomorrow


Appeal for the inclusion of improved Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Rights (ASRH)


We would first like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your candidacy for President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for the upcoming presidential elections and we would like to wish you the best in this fair and free election.


The National Youth Coalition of Sri Lanka (NYCSL) is a youth run entity that advocates for the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) rights and needs of youth in Sri Lanka. The coalition includes the membership of youth organizations based in Sri Lanka and is supported by major international and regional youth coalitions and organizations. The NYCSL developed 9 recommendations through a consultative process in October 2008 (Please refer Annex 1: Recommendations report, REACH NOW 08).


While some of these recommendations have in fact been captured in goal 4, “Promote responsible adolescent and youth behavior” of the Population and Reproductive Health Policy - 1998, which was developed by the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine and most of the action plans developed for the implementation of this policy has not been implemented. (Please refer Annex 2: Action plan of the Population and Reproductive Health Policy, 1998).


As an organization that advocates the ASRH rights of youth in Sri Lanka, we would like to respectfully urge you to focus your action through the implementation of your election manifestos in the areas of youth, health and education based on the recommendations stated below upon your accession to the position of Presidency of our nation.


Background:


In Sri Lanka young people aged 10 to 24 years constitute 28% of the total population of 19.1 million, with a majority of them falling within the adolescent age group. Though there are strong cultural and religious traditions against sex before marriage in the country, the age of sexual debut for both males and females has been found to be early: 15.3 years for males while for females at 14.4 years. A national survey on young people aged 10-19 years revealed that a substantial proportion of school-going youth were sexually active. Six percent of those going to school in the 14-19 year age group reported heterosexual intercourse, while 10% disclosed having homosexual relations. Out-of-school adolescents revealed a higher percentage (22%) of sexually active adolescents[1]. There is a need to promote responsible caring attitudes towards each other, to young persons of both sexes and promote responsible sexual behaviour so that the effects of these social problems and others like STD, HIV and AIDS will be mitigated in the future.[2]


Recommendations


The recommendations have been divided into 4 key areas: Policy, Services, Awareness and Advocacy. The footnotes indicate the corresponding strategy that was developed under the Population and Reproductive Health Policy – 1998

Policy:


a) Ensure the involvement of young people in designing policies that affect their lives nationally, regionally and internationally

b) Develop policies that would ensure ASRH education/capacity building into educational curriculums: including schools, universities, colleges, vocational training institutes, military

c) academies and other such institutions with a high concentration of youth[3]

d) Develop policies that address the SRH needs of young people including those living with HIV, gay and lesbian persons and disabled youth.

Services[4]:

a) Facilitate the provision of youth focused & youth friendly ASRH services and resources island wide

b) Increase and improve access to these youth friendly services , information & resources island wide

c) Focus on provision of ASRH/HIV information to ALL youth (through youth

Organizations/youth networks) Awareness:

Use key influencers including media/CBOs/NGOs, Religious leaders as well as established institutions to provide awareness programmes on ASHR[5]

Advocacy:


a. Develop a legally and state recognized youth advocacy group in Sri Lanka that become a voice for youth in ASRH related issues.

Develop a legally and state recognized youth advocacy group in Sri Lanka that can become a voice for youth on

ASRH related issues


b. Advocate with families, religious institutions and key public figures to include ASRH in formal and informal educational steams.

[6]


We as the National Youth Coalition, believes that, in the occasion of you being elected as the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, you will ensure the full implementation of the above recommendations and we as the NYC will provide our maximum support for the same. We as the NYC will be able to provide the following to your government;


  • Technical Support in the implementation of the said recommendation
  • Youth Mobilization
  • Networking


Milinda Rajapaksha,

Convenor: National Youth Coalition of Sri Lanka

nycsl@gmail.com, milinda.rajapaksha@gmail.com

Mobile No: +94772543307


CC-

  • All Presidential Candidates
  • Media
  • Minister of Youth Affairs
  • Minister of Health
  • Minister of Education
  • Director, Health Education Bureau
  • Director, Tharunyata Hetak
  • Director, National Youth Front


Annex 1: Recommendations report, REACH NOW 08

Annex 2: Action plan of the Population and Reproductive Health Policy, 1998



[1] National Survey on emerging issues among adolescents in Sri Lanka, Colombo: UNICEF 2004

[2] Rationale, Goal 4; “Promote responsible adolescent and youth behaviour”, Population and Reproductive Health Policy, 1998, Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine

[3] Goal 4, Strategy (a), ibid

[4] Goal 4, Strategy (c), ibid

[5] Goal 4, Strategy (c), ibid

[6] Goal 4, Strategy (g), ibid

1 comment:

Alan said...

"Foster Teens, Advocates Address Issues of Aging Out at 'First-ever' Youth-led Hearing" Check it at http://alanwking.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/foster-teens-advocates-address-issue-of-aging-out-at-first-ever-youth-led-hearing/