In an encouraging collaboration, Y-PEER, a youth-led organisation is teaming up with the global community to advocate for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). SRHR is a fundamental human right that plays a crucial role in bridging gender inequality, poverty, and overall well-being. Recently, 26 young individuals participated in a two-day workshop held in the capital to empower themselves and strategise for SRHR advocacy.
The International Conference on Population Development or ICPD’s objectives include achieving three goals: ending unmet needs for family planning information and services, eradicating sexual and gender-based violence, and preventing avoidable maternal and child mortality. These goals are essential components of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
While the health ministry handles the third goal, the participants during the workshop focused on advocating for the first two goals.
“The main objective of organising this event is to engage Y-PEER, which is a youth-led group initiated by us in 2012 to promote sexual reproduction health and rights among young people through a peer-to-peer approach. So, we want to engage them in contributing towards achieving the agenda of the ICPD, which was endorsed in 1994 and reviewed in 2019,” said Amrith Bdr Subba, officiating chief programme officer, Programmes and Youth Coordination Division, MoESD.
Y-Peer representatives from nine colleges from across the country attended the workshop. These youth submitted proposals to advocate for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
Sherubtse College, Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, College of Science and Technology, and the Paro College of Education were awarded Nu 40,000 each to conduct advocacy campaigns.
“The plan that we have set up, for now, is that by late August a team is going to be formulated from the present Y-Peer members from our network in our college, and we are going to be allocating them after dividing them into about five groups to make sure that the procurement of materials, the arrangement of venues, and the general advocacy programme itself will be planned before September,” said Pelden Yoezer, Y-Peer Representative, Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, Paro.
“I think that GBV and SRHR are all interconnected, a person could be deprived of their sexual and reproductive health and rights at the same time they might be undergoing gender-based violence, and this can impact their mental health. Mental health is as important as physical well-being, which is why such topics should be discussed, advocated for, and created awareness,” said Serzina Gurung, Y-Peer representative, College of Science and Technology.
The Programmes and Youth Coordination Division of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development in collaboration with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities coordinated the workshop.