Robert Kennedy once said “This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.”As the global population continues to grow, young people face changing environments and circumstances that affect their sexual and reproductive health. For example, girls are reaching puberty earlier now than in previous decades. It is important involve youth in defining quality abortion care for young women and advocating for its implementation. It is also important to build the capacity of trainers who are young and who are going to be the future service provides to implement appropriate abortion care for young women.
With the purpose of celebrating September 28th global day of action on safe abortion practices, advocacy program was organized in Everest college of Nursing, Tinkune, Kathmandu by youth champions on behalf of ASAP and MIDSON. Representatives from 1st yr and 2nd year Bsc Nursing Students and faculty as well as other youths from management, engineering and environmental science stream were also invited. The program was schedule to start at 10 am but due to some technical problem it started on 11:30 and ended on 1:00pm.I, facilitated the program where following contents were covered.
- Abortion : Some facts
- National background
- Beyond 10 years of abortion
- Maternal health in Nepal: background.
- Abortion laws in Asia.
- Criteria for safe abortion access in our country.
- Legalization of Abortion in Nepal
- What is an unsafe abortion?.
- September 28 global day of action for access to safe and legal abortion
- Guiding principles.
- “Breaking the silence on abortion”
- Global campaign
- Objectives of the international campaign
- Use of social media for advocacy
- Tweetathon and its importance.
The session ran smoothly and the participants were active as well. The participants were so deeply engaged throughout the session and had a lot of reflection over the topics which they encountered for the first time such as prochoice and prolife. Some of them even had no idea regarding the legalization of abortion in our country and after the session they were glad that abortion was legal here in Nepal. Most of them were Facebook users but they were enthusiastic to learn new social media i.e. Twitter. They also realized the importance of social media as tool of advocacy. All their other queries were solved and they were also advised for advocacy on safe abortion and women Right.
Apart from facilitating these topics, amazing experience from 2nd youth advocacy institute on safe abortion practices was also shared which included the introduction of Youth champions, 2nd Youth Advocacy institute for safe abortion practices and its objectives which encompasses the growing need for young champions to take on the role for advocacy especially for the most challenging issues like right to access safe abortion services.
To support my fellow youth champions Sarah and Dakshitha for their initiative to celebrate Global day on safe abortion, at the end of the session, all the participants were asked to complete the statement “ABORTION SHOULD BE SAFE AND LEGAL BECAUSE…….”. Participants came up with great statements which made me believe they will be good advocates in near future. Participants were also photographed with their statements and the session was closed after refreshment, feedback and group photo session.
YOUTH CHAMPIONS 2013
As the vivid memories of the 2nd Youth Advocacy Institute on Safe Abortion Practices were so fresh, we, Youth Champions, were again blessed with this wonderful opportunity to share our amazing experiences back home in the 1st National Midwifery Conference in Nepal organized by Midwifery Society of Nepal (MIDSON) whose theme was “Midwifery Education: Policy into Action, Saving Lives of the Women and Newborns.” The conference was held from 14th -15th September in Shankar Hotel, Kathmandu. More than 250 midwives including doctors, health professionals, academicians, foreign delegates, policy makers and current leaders were present in this conference. The main highlights of the conference were interesting plenary and scientific sessions focusing on the theme of the conference. On the 1st plenary session of the 2nd day we, Youth champions, presented our experience of 2nd Youth Advocacy Institute. The session was chaired by the Dr Kerstin Erlandsson, Midwife specialist from UNFPA.
Our presentation highlighted on the introduction of Youth champions, 2nd Youth Advocacy institute for safe abortion practices and its objectives which encompasses the growing need for young champions to take on the role for advocacy especially for the most challenging issues like right to access safe abortion services. We also mentioned our selection process and how we got scholarship to this enriching advocacy institute for safe abortion practice. We briefly explained our achievements in other words highlights of our four days enriching sessions from the veterans were shared among the participants of the conference. We explained about gaining the opportunity of being deeply engage on issues of sexual and reproductive rights especially from gender and human rights perspective, abortion laws in Asia, what does it mean to be prochoice? how social media can be used for advocacy? and how as youth activist we can create or extend our network for better advocacy. We also explained how ASAP intends to mentor us in future and how we were proud to be the part of Youth Champion Alumni. Our action plan was also shared and our commitment was reiterated. We acknowledged the support and guidance of the President of our organization MIDSON, Kiran Bajrachharya as well as the entire team of ASAP for their role as mentors and their future commitment for continuous support and guidance.
We received immediate feedbacks from the dignitaries and the participants. They reckoned the involvement of youths in issues like advocacy on safe abortion practice can really make a difference. We were felicitated for our effort and future commitment for advocacy on safe abortion practice. Networking was done with the foreign as well as local participants who were interested and working in issues of safe abortion practice. Overall the entire experience was something to cherish forever and much of this credit goes to the MIDSON as well as ASAP for promoting youth leadership.
YOUTH CHAMPIONS 2013
I happen to watch this movie named 4MONTHS, 3WEEKS and 2 DAYS which has plunged me into deeper contemplation on the poignant realities of world where Unsafe abortion are still avoidable tragedies in many countries. Though the abortion in the movie does not result out to be unsafe but the context in which the abortion was provided could have fostered equal probability unsafe abortion. She could have been the victim of unsafe abortion and died .The cost at which these abortion takes place in countries where abortion are illegal and punishable are really harsh and unimaginable. Being the part of this global world it has inspired me to be vocal about the statements as THERE IS NO SUCH THINGS CALLED NO ABORTION, THERE IS EITHER SAFE ABORTION OR UNSAFE ABORTION regarding the safe abortion and the strict laws that compels women towards the unsafe abortion.
I live in country Nepal where Maternal mortality was around 538 per 100000 live birth and unsafe abortion accounted majorly to this data. In 2002 when the government decided to legalize abortion, there were challenges and hurdles but bitter reality of Maternal mortality was way too important than the other intersectional issues that hindered the safe abortion act to come into play. 10 yrs down the lane after the safe abortion policy have come into play, the statistics have been revised and it shows that maternal mortality have steeply declined to 229 per 100000 live birth(NDHS,2011).Researches conducted have shown that legalization of abortion played a major role in this decreased MMR. Had the government of my countries been so rigid in legalizing the abortion they would never been able to save those innocent lives. I could imagine women in my countries too had to suffer in the same way as main protagonist in the movie did. Who knows how many of them were exploited for access to abortion?? So correlating the movie with the scenario of my country and comparing with the country where abortion is very strict and illegal will always direct the message as there is no such words called NO ABORTION there is only either UNSAFE OR SAFE so why opt for unsafe and increase maternal mortality or morbidity instead let women decide over the body as the basic fundamental Human right, women right and Sexual and reproductive rights and make abortion safe and legal.
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