And since we are kissing 2011 goodbye..

I guess it’s important to recognize 2011 was also a roller-coaster of events.. good and bad ones.. that left no doubt we are living in a world of contradiction and change… boiling in hot water that will push for transformation.. and that is already shaping our future!

We reached 7 billion residents in our lovely planet earth!!

And yes, we do have the knowledge, and technology to ensure we produce more and better food… and although there is already enough for all… we still have a billion people that go to bed hungry..

We saw inspiring movements of people from around and in all corners the world uniting to claim their freedom and fight for more and better opportunities.. but we also watch the appalling violent responses from “our leaders”.. that decided to quiet people’s voices with violence and fear.

We witness the pain of millions of people, from the conflict in Libya, to the nuclear disaster in Japan and famine at the Horn of Africa.. but we saw an incredible movement of solidarity among people who found innovative ways to help, and worked really hard to alleviate their suffering.

The United Nations was there too.. and well, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has being quite active and vocal on many of those issues… and yes, the UN is changing.. (still needs to change more, of course) but with little steps, such as the recognition of the State of Palestine in UNESCO, you can be sure that change is on its way…

The UN made a little summery of their year.. which I guess is very worth watching:

2011 was definitely a year of changes.. and transformation… and I’m sure 2012 will ever more of a game-change!

Watch this space!

(if you would like a link to the script of the video in pdf, click bellow: http://www.un.org/webcast/pdfs/yir2011.pdf)

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I have sex! And I have the right to be safe!

I have sex! is a campaign started in the USA to protest the huge budgetary cuts which obviously will affect the work Planned Parenthood is doing there.

Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood is not alone.. it seems that more and more governments are choosing to close their eyes for the fact that young people in their countries are having sex, and they have the right to have appropriate information, and access to services in order to do it safely.

Beliefs apart, governments can no longer ignore the evidences!

16 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth every year!  They are not necessarily prepared to raise a child, but the challenges of teenage pregnancy get even more problematic in developing countries, complications during pregnancy or childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 in the global south.

Young people aged between 15 to 24 years old also account for 40% of all new HIV infections among adults worldwide in 2008.  Which means that globally, we have currently more than 5.7 million young people living with HIV/AIDS. And exactly because of lack of access to protetion and education, every day, 2500 more young people get infected with the disease.

In order to tackle this emergent issue, and fully recognize young people’s sexual and reproductive rights we must achieve universal access to safe and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health care services, which includes access to evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education, in formal and non-formal settings.

According to a United Nations study, sexuality education is far more cost-effective when it’s mandatory and integrated in the formal educational systems.

The UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the this six-country study at the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) on Education of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The study shows that the cost per learner in well established programmes in countries like Nigeria and the Netherlands are significantly cheaper if compared to small pilot programmes in Kenya and Indonesia.

Mark Richmond, UNESCO’s Global Coordinator for HIV and AIDS celebrates that now we have the  data and analysis to make a stronger and better informed case for investing in school-based sexuality education programmes!!! He added that this landmark study gives an economic basis to our belief in sexuality education as a key platform for HIV prevention amongst children and young people in the years to come. And this will be a very powerful tool in our advocacy efforts!

But we still have a looooooonnnng way to go!

More and more we are getting creative in strategies to raise awareness among young people, education can be interactive and fun…

And every place has it’s on style:

no judging!

But there are plenty of good examples online, like this Portuguese TV add, for the HIV Prevention Campaign led by the Health Comissionary in Portugal.

The text of 5 reasons to not wear a condom add in English below:

“a condom – spoils the moment
a condom – takes away the pleasure
a condom – is unconfortable
a condom – is hard to put on
a condom – reduces sensibility

Think twice – Go for adventure – Use a condom”

We just need to facilitate so these kind of information can reach the people who need it!

It’s time for people to loose the fear of talking and about sex and sexuality, specially in formal institutions…

In the very end, things are happening, times have changed, and we need to change and adapt to it!

My friends have sex! I have sex! And we all plan on having much more!

It’s our right to have our sexual and reproductive health respected!

Check out http://www.youact.org/news-article.php?show=m&id=32 for the Joint Youth Statement on the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Young People, created for the UN International Year of Youth, by YouAct, Y-PEER and other partners.