Appreciative Inquiry to advancing youth SRHR on ICPD Agenda

On October 2009, 120 NGOs leaders from 80 country including young leaders is gathered in Berlin to make evaluation about International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda implementation to marking 15 years of anniversary. As a tools of documentation we are proceeding the establishment 2 documents: Berlin call for action and Strategic Option for NGOs. Not to forget to mention, these document is pretty much accommodating youth statement in many aspect. And these documents is ready to be implement by NGOs around the world to advancing ICPD agenda.

As young people who also drafted the document I wish to share with you my personal reflection on how appreciative inquiry can link to advancing youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

Since 1994 until nowadays ICPD considered as a innovative document as it really acknowledging SRHR as basic content on population and development. It also stating the needs of young people to get access on Adolescent Reproductive Health and including sexual education.

And I am the first generation who got chance to “Accepting” sexual education; by the agenda of ICPD. But somehow, the information which being spreading out to me and my peers is really top down process while all the content is very moral based and didn’t accommodate the diversity around us. Since I am schooled in religious fundamentalist institution since primary school to high school; I am believe in the content given in sexual education session by heart. This is including seen homosexuality as sinner, and condoms as satanic tools to drag you to hell. Young generation has been trained to be not tolerated sexual diversity since very initial age; just because there is no specific acknowledgement of sexual diversity in ICPD language—which been ratified by hundred of country.

For me getting along with AIDS competence team is helping a lot in mainstreaming appreciative inquiry; not just in community level but also influencing my self as person, as it enable me to influence other individuals, peers and a group. In this case, I am really appreciating the value and spirit on the process—to uniting diversity and appreciate it.
I am so amaze by how people from diverse background can interact as solid group when we are having assessment session; not blaming others but reflecting our unique perspective and point of view. To see Waria get along with religious leaders; to see youth advocate get along with sex worker.

For me this is a crucial matter for youth movement; even if we still heading many challenges; for example the existence of we as group is still being abandoned and undermined. But we have to start to appreciate and acknowledging our diversity. And using appreciative inquiry approach in advancing ICPD agenda is very crucial in influencing policy and programme making. Because all the policy and programme for young people in lining ICPD agenda also has to be answering the needs of our fellow; no matter what their CHOICE to live,

That’s why I am sharing my point of view to other youth delegation and putting this sentence into youth statement on Partners in Action: NGO forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Development a global event to discuss about ICPD within NGOs,

Recognize that young people are entitled to all human rights and that we are a very diverse group with different backgrounds. We are young people; women, men, lesbians, gays, heterosexuals, transgender; in school, out of school, sex workers, married, divorced, single or in a relationship; we live with HIV and AIDS; we are disabled; we are migrants, refugees, displaced, trafficked; we are working, jobless or seeking employment; we speak different languages; we have different spiritual beliefs and practices; we have different perceptions of the world around us; we use different media and social networks to communicate globally. Therefore, programs targeting us should acknowledge and respect our diversity by conducting research, collecting disaggregated data by age, sex/ gender and eliminate the existing policies that discriminate against us.

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Comment by Gaston on November 12, 2009 at 7:27am
Dear Rachel,

Thank you for this wonderful blog. It is clear that the issue is important to you and I can understand why. It is beautiful how you let the reader understand your train of thought.

For myself, I need to combine Appreciative Inquiry ('looking for strengths') with a deep acknowledgement of our common humanity. When I put these things together, I see people with different eyes of understanding. No matter their diversity or life choices. I don't approve all people's choices, but I can better understand them and therefore support them. For me, that's the essence.

Thank you for stimulating my thinking on this and keep the great reflections going.

Gaston
Comment by Laurence Gilliot on November 9, 2009 at 10:32am
Dear Rachel,

Thank you so much for your blog. I am also a young person and I fully relate to what you wrote. Wherever we grew up, Belgium for me and Indonesia for you, adults tend to transfer prejudices to us at school or in our family.
According to me, the main cause of this is 'ignorance', in the large sense of the word. Ignorance meaning the opposite of understanding. It is because we do not deeply understand the other, who is different, marginal, ab-normal, crazy, sick, etc. that we judge this person.

It is our chance, as young people, to break this cycle of 'ignorance', to be critical, to be open to learn from others, to open our eyes and discover the beauty of life and diversity. In this way, we will not reproduce what generations have done before us...

I'm interested to know: How did SALT change you as a person?

Thank you, dear Rachel!

Laurence

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