With our Youth-led Advocacy work CHOICE advocates for the adoption and implementation of progressive policies and agreements for young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Our main focus is on the United Nations, including the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), Commission on Population and Development (CPD), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Human Rights Council (HRC) and Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
International agreements have extremely important implications for the day-to-day reality of young people worldwide. The realities, needs and national experiences of young people must be reflected in these agreements. It is therefore important that young people worldwide are provided access to the UN and supported when going there to lobby for their (sexual and reproductive health and) rights.
The UN however is an adult-led and complicated space for young people to participate in. CHOICE is a youth-led organization with many years of experience operating in different UN processes. CHOICE has knowledge on UN dynamics, UN language and has built a solid network with other important stakeholders, including UN member states, UN agencies and civil society. We use this experience to:
- facilitate the participation of our Youth Leadership partners to advocate at the UN;
- build and support their advocacy skills;
- provide knowledge and develop resources on the different UN processes;
- support a strong youth voice at the UN via the organization of youth caucuses and other pre-youth conferences where young people come together to strategize before a UN process starts;
- jointly advocate during UN processes for SRHR and Meaningful Youth Participation!
Finally, as UN agreements are accepted by all UN member states this means that all national governments can be hold accountable by their citizens to implement the agreements’ outcomes. Via our work on Youth Leadership CHOICE supports our partner organizations to hold their own governments accountable for their decisions on the international level.
CHOICE believes young people should be part of the decisions that are made about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. That's why we advocate with and for them at the UN. We also have three programs that implement youth-led advocacy: Rights Evidence Action, Right Here Right Now and the Youth Ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). We also develop resources that help young people build their advocacy skills.
Rights, Evidence, Action
A cooperation between CHOICE and RNW Media (Love Matters) and funded by Amplify Change, Rights, Evidence Action aims to improve the lives of young people, including LGBTs by enabling them to understand and claim their SRHR. We challenge stigma and bring about a great societal awareness of and acceptance for the SRHR of all young people, including LGBTs, and connect youth advocates with influential actors and stakeholders. We strengthen the evidence-based advocacy skills of youth advocates and CSOs to meaningfully participate in policy processes and train them to lobby for SRHR and LGBT rights at national and international level.
RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW
This program is a strategic partnership consisting of CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, Rutgers, dance4life, Hivos, Arrow (Asia and the Pacific Regional Partner), IPPF ARO (African Regional Partner) and LACWHN (Latin American/Caribbean Partner) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. RHRN offers a platform to strengthen civil society organizations, including youth-led organizations, in Africa, Asia and Latin America to advocate for the SRHR of young people. At the same time we want to connect national, regional and international SRHR advocacy processes to push for stronger outcomes.
YOUTH AMBASSADOR SRHR
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality started a partnership in 2014 to set up a structure within the Ministry that ensures young people’s meaningful participation and sees them as equal partners and essential for the fulfillment of their sexual reproductive health and rights.
The Youth Ambassador SRHR works closely together with policymakers at the Ministry, the Dutch Ambassador for SRHR and HIV/AIDS, civil society organizations and youth advocates from around the world, advocating for youth-centered SRHR. The Youth Ambassador SRHR gets access to official and informal negotiation spaces which are normally off limits to young people. Therefore, Youth Ambassador has the unique position to connect and support the international SRHR youth movement.
The current Youth Ambassador SRHR is Melodi Tamarzians. She is the successor of the former Youth Ambassadors Sanne Thijssen (2016-2017) and Lotte Dijkstra (2015-2016).
All young people worldwide should be able to explore, experience and express their sexualities in healthy, pleasurable and safe ways.