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In the past few weeks, young activists from the United States and around the world have been working together to raise awareness of the unmet need for international family planning assistance and the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010.  The 2010 campus tour was a collaboration between students from U.S. colleges and universities, International Youth Speak Out Project activists from Nigeria and Jamaica, Advocates for Youth, and Americans for Informed Democracy.  The tour was intended to highlight the voices and experiences of young people all over the world in the fight for youth sexual and reproductive health and rights.

FACT: Unmet need for family planning results in millions of unintended pregnancies each year.

FACT: Adolescent girls are much more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than are older women, and newborns are dying because their mothers are too young to give birth.

FACT: While the youth population increases exponentially, international family planning funds have not kept up with this increase. Prior to 2009, for 10 years international family planning funds declined almost 40 percent, while 1.5 billion members of the world’s population are between the ages of 10 and 25, just entering reproductive age, signifying the largest cohort of adolescents in human history.

Each event featured youth speakers from Africa and the Caribbean alongside activists from the host campuses.  Activists explained the critical role played by U.S. foreign policy and called on Congress and the Obama administration to set aside one billion dollars to support international family planning programs – and organized a lobby day in each city to meet with members of Congress about international family planning funding.

As one of our partner organizations from Nigeria, EVA, wrote:

After each campus lecture, [international activists] joined hands with student activist from the various campuses to visit and lobby US Congress members, who seat on Foreign Affairs and Federal Appropriation Committees. The lobby visits provided a unique platform for EVA to share ideas and personal stories that would help to gain US Congressional support for the international family planning one billion appropriations for 2011 fiscal year and the newly developed Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010 in the House of Representatives. The act will which would ensure that science-based, comprehensive reproductive health programs and family planning services reach young people, especially in developing countries like Nigeria. During the visits to each school and Congress member office, local media covered and reported on these advocacy activities.

Over the course of the tour, hundreds of activists gathered together to demand support for an appropriation in the U.S. Fiscal Year 2011 budget of one billion dollars for international family planning and passage of the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010, which would ensure that science-based reproductive health programs and family planning services reach young people.

The campus tour included stops at the George Washington University, Missouri University, Northwestern University, Rutgers University-Brunswick, Swarthmore College, Western Kentucky University.

And make sure to check out local media coverage about the IYSO Campus Tour:

Students Push for Global Sexual Health Bill (Western Kentucky Herald)

Student Activists Talk About Sexual and Reproductive Health (Missourian)

NU AID Talks About Sex – Worldwide (North by Nothwestern)

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