Young people for sustainable development and change
The world is home to 1.8 billion adolescents—some 88% reside in developing countries. Not long ago, young people were considered passive recipients of knowledge and services. This changed in December 2003; when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on youth involvement. Today, there is a strong drive to involve young people as partners for change.
The challenging terrain of young people's SRHR
Life opportunities expand exponentially when sexuality is experienced freely; full and uninterrupted access to comprehensive sexuality education, youth-friendly SRH services (including safe abortion) and information is guaranteed; and the environment fosters meaningful youth participation. Unfortunately this is not the case for many young people in low- and middle-income countries. Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls in developing countries; up to 50% of all sexual assaults are committed against girls younger than 16; and 240,000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2013.
Despite commitments to deliver SRHR and promote youth leadership, the stronghold of gender inequities, poor transparency and accountability mechanisms, civil society fragmentation, weak public support, and lack of government political will to implement policies continue to hamper progress.
Harnessing the power of inclusive partnerships
Forged under the Dialogue and Dissent policy framework of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and coordinated by Rutgers Netherlands, Right Here Right Now is being implemented in ten countries (Africa: Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe | Asia: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and Pakistan | South America: Bolivia and Honduras), and the Caribbean sub region. The five-year partnership (2016-2020) commits to:
- strengthening cooperation within and across national, regional and international levels to undertake concerted advocacy for a progressive and inclusive SRHR agenda; and
- advocating and holding governments accountable for their adoption of progressive and inclusive policies (and budgets thereof) for the implementation of comprehensive sexuality education and youth-friendly SRH services, including safe abortion.
The partnership comprises of Rutgers Netherlands, dance4life, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, HIVOS, International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPF AR), the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre of Women (ARROW), and the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (LACWHN).