TYPF trains young people on how to advocate and build effective relationships with key stakeholders that influence and shape the content and context of specific laws and policies that impact young people’s health and human rights.
Each programme within the organization focuses on an aspect of policy work, working as a part of broader networks and at national policy forums, in coalitions with other young people, youth groups and civil society organizations addressing young people and women’s health and rights. For example, Blending Spectrum works at the community level to ensure that over 100 families living in the Nizamuddin Basti in New Delhi can access and obtain a form of permanent identity and are able to take full advantage of government schemes for free primary education. The programme works with members of the community, providing training on information relating to health and primary first aid as well as assisting them with placing children in schools and accessing schemes that provide mid day meals etc, as relevant for their children.
Three Fold Strategy
The three fold strategy of engaging young people at local, national and international Levels is based on the premise that grassroots voices should directly represent local realities at policy levels and that a rights based, participative process should influence how health policies are formed. Very often, this kind of representation of content, evidenced based voices from the field are missing at policy and decision making tables and in government bureaucracy processes. We have developed strategies as we have learned from our own lessons in the field along with recommendations from advisors and organizations working across and within similar movements. Our programme partners work closely with us to shape programmes and their policy outreach. TYPF’s work on Policy and Advocacy is primarily on advancing the Right to Information (RTI Act) and access to formal identity, advocacy for young people’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and the rights of children and adolescents in the context of education and health in both in-school and out-of-school settings.
At District & State Levels
“We work with affected communities directly. We understand the challenges; any curriculum/scheme introduced by the government has to take into account what the reality of our daily work is. They should ask us, so we can share our problems with them and identify solutions.”
– Youth Leader, 19 years old, Mau, Uttar Pradesh
A core strategy of how we work with young people at local levels is to assist in creating a safe space within communities to increase access to information and where relevant, knowledge of related services that are available in both urban and rural contexts. Establishing regular district level dialogues in community settings is an important part of enabling a sustainable process for young people in the long-term.
These conversations are led by young people with government officials from health and education departments and key community stakeholders such as frontline health workers, Panchayat leaders, parents, media journalists, village committees and officials representing policy schemes, who can also be gatekeepers when there is a limited understanding of young people’s lived realities.
The Know Your Body, Know Your Rights project for example, works primarily in religious and ethnic minority communities, focussing on empowering adolescent girls and young women to lead such initiatives, with the hope of increasing their mobility both within and outside the community. This has been a substantive way of also sharing feedback with government officials and addressing the stigma that surrounds issues of sex and sexuality within communities. You can read more about the Call to Action that was raised in Uttar Pradesh by government officials in this context here.
Across 2010 – 2013, TYPF conducted State Level Consultations in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh with partners Akshara and Sahayog respectively, bringing together young people from over 20 districts with policy recommendations that were submitted to government officials in a report.
At National Level
TYPF leverages national platforms to bring to the fore the voices of young people who are leading work in their fields, often these are incredible youth advocates from partner organizations that we work with, other then our own peer educators. Since 2002, we have worked with youth leaders from partner organizations across 18 states (NCR, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Assam).
We partner regularly with UN agencies on creating youth-friendly content and strategies and have worked with the United Nations Development Programme, United Nation’s Children’s Education Fund, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the United Nations Population Fund on the same. Since 2009, TYPF has also worked with different divisions of the government in sharing lessons learned and enabling young people to give technical feedback to policies that address their health and rights. These agencies include the Government of Nagaland, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Education. Some of these partnerships have been:
- TYPF was a member of the Technical Advisory Group for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the design of the National Adolescent Strategy on Health or the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) that was launched in January 2014. The RKSK is a landmark policy initiative by the Government of India that recognizes the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents including the need for working with peer educators at community level and sexuality education.
- Advocating with the Government in India on the need for health and rights within strategies conceptualized for young people by working with UNFPA, UNESCO and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on the review of the Adolescence Education Programme (AEP) and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) in 2009.
- TYPF was a co-organizer of the official youth consultations for Young People’s Recommendations to the Planning Commission of India for India’s 11th 5 year plan, bringing together 64 youth organizations on policy recommendations to the government on 12 priority areas including the decentralization of health services.
- Inputs to UNFPA’s Country Program 8 (2013-2017) to ensure more responsive strategies that address the needs of young people, with a focus on key recommendations for in-school adolescents between the ages of 14 and 19.
- Drafting and Advisory Group, National Strategic Framework for HIV Prevention for Adolescents and Young People for the National AIDS Control Organization, India in 2010.
NACP IV Youth-Led Consultations
The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) reviews its strategic objectives and operational plan once every five years, with a high emphasis on young people and adolescents as a key vulnerable population. Currently at the close of its National Aids Control Programme III (NACP III), that is scheduled to reach its targets and objectives around mid-2012, NACO has renewed a multi stakeholder platform for civil society, working groups and technical experts to provide key recommendations for NACP IV. The programme builds on the successes of NACP III, focusing on increased coverage and prevention services for high-risk groups and vulnerable populations. As part of this process, ensuring participatory and inclusive decision making, as part of the widely consultative approach NACO undertook in NACP III, TYPF is worked with Plan India (supported by NACO) to engage young people and adolescents to provide key recommendations for NACP IV.
In May and June 2011, TYPF partnered with Plan India to carry out 12 youth-led consultations with adolescents and young people to obtain their inputs and recommendations on HIV Prevention, AIDS Education and Sexuality Education provided under NACO’s guidance in schools. The proposed set of consultations reached out to more than 280 adolescents and young people across five states, (Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh) encouraging the meaningful participation of adolescents and young people in policy and decision-making processes such as NACP IV. Qualitative and narrative recommendations from the consultation will be provided back to NACO and members of the Youth and Adolescence Working Group as part of the same, providing critical input on the future direction of AIDS education programming for adolescents and young people, by June 2011.
At International Level
There remains a large disconnect between the realities of what happens at community level and how policies and agreements are negotiated at international level, with limited knowledge often within country that these are being decided and without prior consultation with affected stakeholder groups. TYPF has developed the technical capacities of young people to monitor and follow these bodies, as well as participate in the same with other civil society groups. These are some of how we have been doing the same:
- TYPF works as part of regional and international coalitions of young people, monitoring India’s commitments to health and rights and its political votes with reference to the same at the United Nations Commission on Population and Development, Commission on the Status of Women every year at the United Nations in New York. We translate discussions into local languages and bring the analysis from these negotiations to our programmes at local level.
- We prioritize and monitor countries’ progress with implementing the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action through our work with RESURJ. TYPF is a founder organizational member of RESURJ, an international alliance of feminist activists seeking full implementation of international commitments to secure all women’s and young people’s sexual and reproductive rights and health by 2015. TYPF has collaborated with RESURJ to conduct similar trainings with young people in South Asia and participated in the Global Youth Forum in Bali, which produced a landmark international declaration on the rights of young people for governments.
- TYPF supported the Official Indian Delegation to the 6th Asia Pacific Parliamentarians Conference as part of the Regional ESCAP review for the ICPD+20. Our role was to coordinate civil society as well as provide technical information to government oofficials on the delegation.
- TYPF was part of the Official Indian Delegation to the High Level Meeting on HIV in June 2011 at the United Nations, sponsored and selected by UNAIDS. We worked with youth groups from South Asia for the inclusion of and need to support Youth Sexual Reproductive Rights and Health in the High Level Meeting Outcome Declaration.
- TYPF was the Technical Expert Organization for Young People for South Asia for a Global Survey conducted by The ATHENA Network and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA) on collating responses of women living with and affected by HIV and other key populations of women and young people. The final report was submitted to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS declaration of commitment of 2011. Our Executive Director presented the findings of the report for the South Asia Region in New York in April 2011.
- Our Executive Director currently serves on the High Level Task Force for ICPD and previously served UNESCO’s Global Advisory Group on Sexuality Education from 2010 – 2012 on behalf of TYPF, advising UNESCO’s Global Strategy for scaling good quality sexuality education across Africa, Latin America and Asia.
- TYPF has worked with the headquarter offices of UNESCO, UNFPA, UNAIDS and UNICEF across various partnerships to develop political and curricula recommendations for reaching out to young people in at risk contexts, ensuring HIV prevention and looking at positioning Sexuality Education effectively in policy, including training young international leaders on informative skill and capacity building and organizational development at international forums.
- We are a part of informal networks of young people working across Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal on strategies to legalize and make the implementation of CSE and youth friendly health services accessible.
- TYPF has partnered with international youth networks and organizations such as Advocates for Youth, Y Peer and Youth Coalition as part of the Bali Youth Force at ICAAP in Indonesia and the Youth Working Group at the APCRSH in Beijing, training young people who have attended both conferences on advocating for YSRRH. We also conducted an official 3 month online training programme for young people attending APCRSH, on understanding the ICPD PoA and Beijing Platform for Action and its relevance to ensuring young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in collaboration with the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA).
Our Executive Director Ishita Chaudhry addresses member states at the United Nations Headquarters on the occasion of the Anniversary of the ICPD, New York, April 2014.