CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality was founded in 1997 as the ‘Dutch Council on Youth and Population’, an initiative of the World Population Foundation (now Rutgers WPF). In 2003 the council’s name changed to CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality. From April 2005, CHOICE has been an independent organization.
CHOICE is an organization, run by young people, that actively promotes and supports on national and international levels the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of young people globally, as well as meaningful youth participation in this field. It is our strong conviction that young people everywhere should be able to make free and healthy choices regarding their sexuality and having or not having children. This for example entails rights like free partner choice or the right to avoid unwanted pregnancies. We’re living in a world where the HIV/AIDS virus is still spreading rapidly. Comprehensive sexuality education, access to contraceptives and related health care is therefore vital. Unfortunately, for many young people it’s not easy to make free choices concerning their sexuality. A serious lack of reliable information and restrictive legislation are often the primary cause.
Although young people especially are at an age where they start exploring and discovering their own sexuality, they are too seldom actively involved in policy and decision-making processes in this field. When and where policies, projects or specific interventions are made concerning young people and sexual issues, these young people should have the fundamental right to participate and help decide the desired outcome. To ensure meaningful youth participation, participating during policy development, implementation and evaluation are of great importance. When the voice of young people is heard loudly and clearly, programs and policies could be implemented more effectively, as they’d then directly reflect the actual needs of young people. Our campaign for more meaningful youth participation is therefore essential to achieve this.
CHOICE has established an advocacy program to achieve our goals. We are lobbying on international and national level and we attend conferences on the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of young people and youth participation. CHOICE also promotes and actively supports capacity building of and within youth organizations in Africa and Asia. We provide and strengthen knowledge and expertise on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, on lobbying and advocacy and organizational development. Finally, we give workshops and lectures and take part in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights related manifestations and events.
CHOICE is run by an enthusiastic, discerning, and ambitious team of young professionals, all aged between 16 and 28. These young adults dedicate their time, energy and expertise on a voluntary basis, supported and coached by its Executive Director, a Partnerships Officer, various interns and the board. Together they decide on specific activities, on internal policy and CHOICE’s strategies and plans.