7TH AFRICA CONFERENCE ….Call for Abstracts

7th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights

Accra, Ghana, February 8 – 12, 2016

 

Conference Announcement

The African Federation for Sexual Health and Rights (AFSHR) is pleased to announce the 7th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights with the theme “Realizing Demographic Dividend in Africa: the Critical Importance of Adolescents and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”. The conference will be held in Accra, Ghana from February 8-12, 2016, and hosted by Curious Minds, Ghana.

 The conference is part of a long-term process of building and fostering regional dialogue on sexual and reproductive health and rights that leads to concrete actions and enhance stakeholders’ ability to influence policy and programming in favour of a sexually- healthy continent.  AFSHR has collaborated with several Core Conference Partners (CCP) and other key stakeholders in sexual and reproductive health over the past twelve years to organise this regional conference. The conference was previously held in Johannesburg, South Africa (2004); Nairobi, Kenya (2006); Abuja, Nigeria (2008); Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2010); Windhoek, Namibia (2012); and Yaoundé, Cameroon (2014).

Conference objectives are:

  1. Identify promising/best practices on adolescents and youth sexual and reproductive health with a focus on effective responses to youth vulnerabilities
  2. Facilitate knowledge management and programming to enhance adolescents and youth agency.
  3. Enhance adolescents and youth policies and programmes in regional and global development agendas.
  4. Propose actions to promote adolescents and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights in the implementation of the ICPD Beyond 2014, the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Agenda 2063.

Participants

About 1,000 participants representing various stakeholder and constituency groups are expected at the conference. These include policy makers, development partners, civil society organisations, and academia, media, adolescents, youth, and duty bearers.

 Call for Abstracts

Visit the conference website www.africasexuality.org. for abstract submission information and deadline.

 Registration

Registration information can be found on the conference website www.africasexuality.org. The registration fee is USD 200. Early bird registration closes on December 15, 2015.  Registration after December 20, 2015 will attract additional charges

 For detailed information visit : www.africasexuality.org.

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IDAHOT 2015…Call for write-ups and artwork (Deadline : April 10)

Recognizing May 17 as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights is calling on all young activists to speak up on LGBT rights through Free Expression!

Want to express LGBT rights through the written word? Have a story or rights-based information? Click here!
Want to express LGBT rights through photography, video, design or other types of visual art? Click here!
The Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) is an international organization of young people (ages 18-29 years) committed to promoting adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive rights at the national, regional and international levels. We are students, researchers, lawyers, health care professionals, educators, development workers, and most importantly: we are all dedicated activists.

LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND……90-90-90 (NIGERIA)

Recently, UNAIDS (Nigeria) organized a forum for key populations in view of achieving the 90-90-90 target by the year 2020. This crucial forum brought together stakeholders, partners and most especially representatives of key populations (Female sex workers, Men who have sex with men, vulnerable women and girls, and people who inject drugs).

The objectives of the meeting were :

1. Sensitize on the ambitious target

2. Identify strategies to drive the target (90-90-90).

Issues were raised around the fact that most of these key populations were often left behind in HIV/AIDS response globally and in order to eliminate the epidemic by 2030 , they need to be actively involved in the process and targeted approaches have to be defined and implemented.

 The 90-90-90 target set by UNAIDS is an ambitious one which seeks to achieve the following globally  by year 2020:

a. 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status

b. 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.

c.  90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

UNAIDS presented a fact sheet at the forum to buttress why achieving  the target requires a concerted effort, this can be seen at :

http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2014/90-90-90

Participants broke out in groups to brainstorm on the following for key populations (KPs) :

1. Improve access to testing

2. Improve access to quality HIV care and treatment

3. Retain people on care and have the optimal outcome of treatment (viral suppression).

At the end of the group session , one thing was clear, key populations felt marginalized and under-served. Issues such as harassment, fear, stigma, lack of enabling environment and unfavorable policies were identified for making access to testing and treatment difficult.

On the way forward, the following strategies were identified :

– Government should ensure that KPs are actively involved in HIV/AIDS decision making processes.

– KPs should be trained as counselors and peer educators: this would empower them to reach their peers.

– Health facilities should be client friendly and  free of discrimination.

– Capacity building (HCT, BCC, Adherence, etc.) should be conducted for KPs in order to strengthen their participation and involvement.

– Drop in centers should be created.

– KP support groups should be strengthened and empowered for those who are positive. etc.

This forum convened by UNAIDS is indeed very timely, as Nigeria works toward bridging HIV/AIDS treatment gaps and scaling up testing services. It was also great to hear the government representative reiterate the commitment of the government in ensuring that no one is left behind. Most notable, is the fact that the national strategic plan makes adequate provision for KPs.

We sincerely hope that UNAIDS and the government will continue to engage these key populations (KPs) at all levels.

From Red Ribbon advocate, we say a very big thank you to UNAIDS (Nigeria) for putting together this forum and providing an environment which made it easy for key population representatives to open up about their challenges and proffer plausible strategies.

UNAIDS Forum 1UNAIDS forum 2UNAIDS forum 3

For more information on the 90-90-90 target, and other UNAIDS strategies please visit : www.unaids.org

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ADVOCATE OF THE MONTH : TIMIDI DIGHA-OMOLERE

After a very long hiatus, our “Red Ribbon Advocate of the Month” column returns. In this month of March; (a month where we celebrate women and girls globally), we would like for you to meet Timidi Digha; Feminist and girl child/Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights advocate. Timidi’s job as an advocate for the girl child, makes her very familiar with the challenges that young girls face in dealing with HIV/AIDS and other sexual health/rights issues…..

Timidi

I am Timidi Digha-Omolere (many people know me as Blessing Timidi Digha or SuperGirlTimidi). I am a Feminist and a girl child/Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights advocate. I have 10years experience in the non-profit sector. The journey into advocacy started fully after my Teenage Pregnancy experience in 2005, where I started Sexuality Education.  In the world of Sexuality Education and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, HIV/AIDS always surfaces. I earned a Bachelor of Technology in Food Science & Engineering from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Nigeria. Presently I am the Community Mobilization/Advocacy Officer at 9jaGirl; an organization which advocates for the girl child on all fronts with emphasis on Sexuality Education, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, HIV/AIDS, Female Genital Mutilation (and other Harmful Traditional Practices), Sexual Violence, Early Child Marriage, Education and other issues that affect the girl child.

I am interested and committed to the rights of the girl child because I know what it means to be deprived of so much “because I am A Girl” and I wouldn’t want any girl to pass through what I passed through while growing up because of inadequate and inaccurate information. Coincidentally, I have two beautiful daughters and I wouldn’t want their sex/gender to hold them back from attaining lofty heights.

When talking about the girl child, HIV/AIDS always come to play, this is because children, girls and women are among the most vulnerable population whenever epidemics or pandemics arise, so I implement projects on HIV/AIDS as it affects the girl child. The organization has been privileged to work with Female Sex Workers between the ages of 10-19. I appreciate the ability and platform to contribute towards adequate & accurate information on Sexual & Reproductive Health, informed choices and advocacy towards the development of a vulnerable group. I am passionate about HIV/AIDS because of the prevalence in Nigeria which is high, because it affects youths the most , and the fact that it can happen to anyone.

My ability to speak 10 Nigerian languages helps me in my work especially when I have to go into communities.

 BIGGEST LESSON ON THE JOB

Patience. I meet with a lot of resistance and different types of people when I go into communities. I have learnt how to listen well and win them over with patience.

I have also learnt to lead by example, by not stigmatizing persons living with HIV and Most At Risk Populations (MARPs)

I have learnt how to use Minimum Prevention Package of Interventions effectively not just in  HIV/AIDS  but all round.

 WISH 

That Government, CSOs, MDAs, groups etc working on girl child issues, SRHR and HIV/AIDS should work with accurate data and realistic interventions to contribute towards elimination of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

CONTACT DETAILS

Facebook- Blessing Timidi Digha II

Twitter- @SuperGirlTimidi

Email- supergirltimidi@gmail.com & 9jagirl@gmail.com

Phone number- 09090640967

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN AND GIRLS DAY….8TH MARCH 2015

The International Women and Girls day is Sunday March 8th and various organizations have started campaigns on why the lives of women and girls matter.

The Theme is : Make it Happen

You have a role to play in the protection of women and girls. Speaking up for better access to health care services , gender equality, ending violence against women and girls etc.

How can you make that woman or girl shine or why do you think they are remarkable and should be recognized?

You can support organizations like  the International Women’s day and AIDS Healthcare Foundation by following the links below

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AIDShealth

 IWD-FBCoverAfricaIWD-FB-ProfilePicENG

Photo credit : AIDS Healthcare Foundation 

Spread the word ; Lend your voice; Trend the Hashtags #MakeitHappen because #Girlslivesmatter !!!!

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