Our world today is home to 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24, the majority of which live in developing countries.
Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 28 girls every minute.
Girls not Brides 2016
About 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 and some 1 million girls under 15 give birth every year – most in low- and middle-income countries.
The world today is home to 1.8 billion people under the age of 24, the majority living in developing countries. Still most of these young people experience their sexuality in a context of stigma, discrimination and violence. While young people should have the fundamental right to co-decide on sexuality issues that affect their lives, there is limited space for young people’s voices.
To respect the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of young people is also crucial in the global fight against poverty: matters such as unwanted pregnancies and early and forced marriages limit young people from living up to their potential. They also prevent us from contributing optimally to society, which has serious harmful effects on our countries’ development.
Every year, some 3 million girls aged 15 to 19 undergo unsafe abortions.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated.
26 young people become infected with HIV every hour. 7 out of 10 infections happen to girls in sub-Sahara Africa.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights (srhr) of young people
In many countries in the world today, issues concerning young people’s sex and sexuality are not openly discussed. They are surrounded by myths and misconceptions, regarded as taboo topics, and are increasingly punishable by law. Young people are often groping in the dark about many issues and reject their feelings, as they have been told these are sinful. As a result, high rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) , unwanted pregnancies and child marriages are enormous challenges that many young people face.
Young people are naturally sexually active, but we often do not have the legal right to freely decide on and express our sexuality and/or sexual preferences. Neither do we have access to adequate information and health services. Young people all over the world are in dire need of the possibility to make our own choices, supported by comprehensive and evidence-based information, access to contraceptives and safe abortion care, and youth-friendly services where we are treated with respect and confidentiality.
young people all over the world are in dire need of the possibility to make their own choices.
Teens who receive comprehensive sex education are 50 percent less likely to experience pregnancy than those who receive abstinence-only education.
Advocates for Youth
Homosexuality is forbidden by law in 75 countries. In 5 countries and parts of Nigeria and Somalia homosexuality is punishable by death.
Only 22% of young females between the ages of 15 to 24 have access to contraception.
When decisions are to be made, or policies and programs are developed concerning young people, we have the fundamental right to co-decide on these matters. No one understands the issues and needs of young people better than we do ourselves. We are exploring and discovering our sexuality, but we are too seldom actively involved in policy and decision-making processes in this domain.
To ensure Meaningful Youth Participation, our involvement during the development, implementation and evaluation stages of policies, programs and laws is of great importance. We are convinced that when the voice of young people is heard more loudly and clearly, programs and policies can be implemented more effectively, as they would then more accurately and directly reflect the actual needs of young people. Our battle for more and more Meaningful Youth Participation is therefore essential.