Non-communicable diseases: not just in older adults

In recent weeks and months, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become a key talking point in the global health sphere. Despite common misconceptions, NCDs (defined by the World Health Organization to mainly include cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, and chronic lung disease) are the leading causes of death worldwide. Another misconception around NCDs is that most of these diseases occur in richer countries and are diseases of affluence. Not true either. According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), 80 percent of NCD deaths occurred in lower-income countries, up from 40 percent in 1990.

And lastly, NCDs only occur in adults, especially older adults. Wrong again.

Our generation of young people is the largest ever: 43% of the world’s population is under the age of 25. Many risk factors for NCDs, including tobacco and alcohol use and diet, are established during adolescence. Evidence and statistics back this up: 20-40% of adolescents are overweight; and globally, between 80,000 and 100,000 young people start smoking EVERY DAY.

Not only are young people not immune to NCDs… the prevalence of NCDs among youth and adolescents is on the rise. For example, according to a study by Johns Hopkins, 1 in 10 young people have asthma and by the age of 15 more than 25% of obese adolescents have early signs of diabetes.

But NCDs include other health issues like mental illness, motor vehicle accidents, homicides, suicides, and other types of violence. It is estimated that 500 young people die every day due to interpersonal violence.

At the end of last year, the Lancet published its first ever series entirely dedicated to the subject of adolescent health. The papers in this series noted, among many other things, that there remains a huge gap in data pertaining to NCDs in young people. Researchers also found that while the health outcomes for younger children (especially those under 5 years of age) has improved significantly in the last 50 years, the health of adolescents has improved far less so. Much of this is due to both a general focus in the global health community to children under 5 (ie the MDGs) and due to the changing burden of disease among adolescents.

Sawyer et. al’s paper, “Adolescence: a foundation for future health,” road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among people aged 10-24 years. When combined with suicide and homicide, violence and war, drownings and other accidents accounted for 40 percent of ALL deaths of people aged 10-24.

So what does this all mean? It means that youth and adolescents are indeed vulnerable to NCDs. It also means that because of this, young people have to be involved in the development of the new set of international development and health targets beyond 2015 (when the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, expire). And finally, it means that without addressing the specific preventative health needs of young people – like obesity, tobacco and alcohol use, mental health, and accidents – such goals and targets cannot be achieved.

New Secretary John Kerry confirmed, Clinton leaving legacy of support for youth


Today is US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s last day on the job. She will be replaced by John Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts. As Advocates for Youth‘s Janine Kossen rights in Politico this week, “No one can doubt the indelible impact she has made on advancing the rights of women and girls, young people and LGBT individuals around the world. The question now becomes — what will Secretary Kerry do to build on these accomplishments?”


Secretary Clinton, a strong proponent of women’s health and rights and youth involvement in international development, will forever be regarded as one of the most forward-thinking and strong Secretaries of State the US has ever had.

Clinton will be giving her farewell comments to staff today at 2:30pm ET. You can watch LIVE on CSPAN.




Youth Health and Rights Coalition LOGO DESIGN CONTEST: WIN $50 iTunes Giftcard!

The Youth Health and Rights Coalition (YHRC) is inviting you to design a logo for the Coalition that reflects the YHRC’s commitment to promoting positive Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health (SRRH) outcomes for young people in the developing world. The winning logo will be chosen as the official YHRC logo and brand future YHRC publications and our online presence.

We would like to thank those who submitted logo designs over the last few weeks.  In order to expand the pool of possible logos from which to choose, the Youth Health and Rights Coalition has decided to EXTEND the logo design contest to DECEMBER 10 (by midnight Eastern Time). Additionally, we will REWARD the winning submission with a $50 iTunes giftcard!! Below you will find more information about YHRC and the competition rules (including ways to submit your logo) for your reference. We recommend that designs be simple and unique but also relate to YHRC’s goal of advancing the sexual and reproductive rights and health of adolescents and youth.

If you have any questions, or if you would like to join YHRC’s Youth Advisor listserv, please feel free to send your inquiries to

Amanda Keifer, Youth Engagement Working Group Lead, and Alexandra Hervish and Lindsay Lincoln, YHRC Co-Chairs.

Please read the Official Logo Design Contest Rules HERE (please read carefully before entering)


What is the Youth Health and Rights Coalition (YHRC)? 
The Youth Health and Rights Coalition (YHRC) is comprised of advocates and implementers who, in collaboration with young people and adult allies, are working to advance the sexual and reproductive rights and health (SRRH) of adolescents and youth around the world. The YHRC advocates with key decision makers to prioritize funding and support for comprehensive adolescent and youth SRRH policies and practices. Our goal is to ensure young people in the developing world have the SRRH information, tools, commodities, and quality services necessary to make healthy and informed choices about their own lives.
Who we are:
YHRC is a coalition of more than 20 members working to advance adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive rights and health. YHRC was formed in 2009 in response to the feeling that youth and particularly youth SRH issues were off people’s radar, possibly because of a lack of  a strong collective voice.  We now comprise 23 active organizations who represent a mix of advocates and implementers who inform and complement one another to advocate with key decision makers to prioritize funding and support for comprehensive AYSRRH policies and practices.  
How we operate:
YHRC is run by a rotating co-chair and permanent Secretariat which is Pathfinder. The first year A4Y was the co-chair, the second IWHC, and this past January our third co-chair Alex from PRB was elected. We’re intentionally not just an information-sharing group but involved in collective action.
What about Youth Engagement:
With each advocacy action, more deliberately reflect on whether it presents an opportunity to consult with youth and solicit their input.  YHRC has developed list of youth advisors interested in an opportunity to engage with organizations at the forefront of advocacy and programming to advance SRRH of adolescents and youth in low-resource settings.
Requirements for youth participation:
o   15-24 age cohort
o   Respond to email or Facebook requests for input on and participation in specific advocacy actions
o   Possibly interact with one another via a new Facebook group that will provide young leaders from communities around the world the ability to share best practices and participate in discussion s and forums around youth SRRH issues

Wilson Center Event: The Challenges and Benefits of Addressing Young Adolescent Reproductive Health

A few weeks ago, I attended a great event at the Woodrow Wilson Center on “The Challenges and Benefits of Addressing Young Adolescent Reproductive Health.” The event, hosted by the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP), featured a stunning group of panelists covering the spectrum of groups working on sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.

Below is an article, by ECSP staffer Kate Diamond, on the subject.


There are 1.2 billion adolescents (ages 10 to 19) in the world today, accounting for 17 percent of the global population. They are the largest youth cohort in history, and 90 percent live in the developing world. Within that broad age group, very young adolescents (ages 10 to 14) often fall through the cracks of international development work, especially when it comes to health, and reproductive health in particular.

“We’ve been reluctant to really directly reach out to very young adolescents because we fear community backlash or we don’t really know how to work with very young adolescents,” said Cate Lane, USAID’s youth health advisor, speaking at the Wilson Center on August 28.

Lane, along with Laurette Cucuzza, the senior technical advisor for reproductive health at CEDPA, and Gene Roehlkepartain, president of child advocacy group Search Institute, discussed the challenges and benefits of working with 10- to 14-year-olds on sensitive but important sexual and reproductive health issues.

An Overlooked Age Group

“Adolescents are often lumped into groups, such as 10 to 19, or 15 to 24, but there are vast differences between adolescents of different ages,” said Cucuzza. Programs that ignore those differences, she continued, “often miss the windows of opportunity for early and nuanced approaches that can have lasting effects and provide protection from a myriad of health risks that contribute to high maternal and child mortality and morbidity.”

One reason why sexual and reproductive health work often bypasses the younger adolescent group, according to Lane, is the concern that “if you talk about sex, and you talk about sexuality, then the young people are going to want to go out and experiment.”

But, she continued, “we know from the research around comprehensive sexuality education that that’s really not true. That if you provide young people with comprehensive sexuality education they’re more likely to delay, they’re more likely to use contraception, they have fewer partners.”

Developmental Assets: A Framework for Engagement

Because of their age and social and cultural norms that may complicate sexual and reproductive health efforts, figuring out how to best to target very young adolescents can be difficult. Roehlkepartain advocated a “positive development” approach – one that builds on so-called “developmental assets,” or characteristics, both in adolescents and in their communities, that support healthy personal development.

Through extensive survey-based research in the United States (currently being expanded internationally), Search Institute has identified 40 of these assets, ranging from having family and community support to valuing delayed sexual debuts. Encouraging these assets can lead to a cycle of positive development for adolescents, said Roehlkepartain. Based on the institute’s U.S.-based work, youth with more developmental assets are less likely to engage in or support risky behavior, like violence, drinking, or sexual activity.

Most recently, Search Institute surveyed adolescents in Bangladesh, Honduras, Jordan, and Rwanda to assess correlations between asset levels and health, violence prevention, livelihood development, education, and civic engagement. The results suggest that developmental assets are universally applicable.

“Even with very different populations in each country, we’re finding similar patterns of asset levels. And that…doesn’t vary much by age, gender, or city or village. So it seems to be a fairly stable measure across a wide variety of young people,” said Roehlkepartain.

The Necessity of an Integrated Approach

Because of the impact developmental assets can have on a range of behaviors across cultures, Roehlkepartain likened their impact to preventive programming. “We think that focusing on identifying and building the strengths in young people complements the efforts to prevent the problems” that so many youth programs target, like health, education, and workforce development, he said.

CEDPA’s on-the-ground work in India, Nepal, Nigeria, and South Africa shows the importance of cross-cutting interventions that empower youth and create supporting environments for addressing sexual and reproductive health. For example, reproductive health programming in India’s Jharkhand state included “intensive advocacy with parents, media, and communities from the outset,” and was able to survive even as comparable programs in other states were coming under increasing criticism, Cucuzza said.

In Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom state, where “HIV prevalence is high, primary school attendance is low, and poverty is rampant,” village chiefs worked alongside religious and women leaders to create an integrated approach, teaching adolescents vocational skills, providing sexual and reproductive education, and improving primary school attendance,  she said.

There is a tendency to only deal with “positive development” – empowering youth and strengthening preventive behaviors and norms – once more pressing, immediate problems have been tackled, said Roehlkepartain. But “what we’re learning in developing contexts, which I think is true for this country as well, is that by paying attention to developing and empowering children and youth in all walks of life…is part of what lifts them up.”

“It’s not just waiting until they’ve got everything else solved,” he said. “It all goes together.”

Pursuing positive development could hold promise for USAID and the myriad goals it has relating to the health and wellbeing of young people, said Lane.

“If we are to really achieve USAID’s goals of reducing high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortions, HIV, reducing maternal mortality, improving child survival, increasing the use of contraception, stabilizing population growth,” she said, “we really have to understand how we instill and sustain positive behaviors among this group of very young adolescents instead of trying to change those negative and often entrenched behaviors when people are older.”

 Event Resources:

 Photo Credit: Sean Peoples.

Thoughts on 2012 International Youth Day

The following opinion piece is a re-posting from Kenny Ayeni, Communications Coordinator at LEAP Africa. The piece originally appeared on Punch Nigeria online.

Every year, since 2000, the United Nations has celebrated the International Youth Day on August 12. This year, the Day’s event which held last Sunday, is aptly titled, “Building A better World, partnering with youth”. This is in recognition of the need to encourage youths to be ambitious and recommendations to the older generation to partner with young people to achieve their goals. In addition, the UN is showcasing outstanding works done by young people around the world whilst also emphasising the need to improve and strengthen connections with them in order to advance their quality of life.

The 2012 event is geared towards providing opportunities for the improvement of youth organisations and for UN Member States worldwide to fortify partnerships with youths through diverse and innovative means. This would include exploring the ways through which the UN, member states, civil society, the private sector, the academic sector and humanitarians could team up and work with young people to improve their living standards as well as improve their education, employment opportunities, entrepreneurship, citizenship and, most importantly, human rights.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, is quoted as saying that, “to unleash the power of young people, we need to partner with them”. Also, in an address by Kofi Annan, United Nations-Arab League joint special envoy for Syria and seventh UN Secretary-General, on the International Youth Day in 2004, he urged the international community “to prepare for the future, so as to promote solidarity between generations today”. Consequently, countries across the world are devoting resources to youth development to ensure that their youths are adequately trained and prepared to address personal, organisational and societal challenges. The case should not be different in Nigeria. There is an urgent need for the government to invest in youths to create a sustainable and successful future, most especially to survive in a competitive and changing world that we live in.

In order to effectively alleviate global challenges faced by the youth, such as poverty, gender discrimination, human trafficking, drug abuse, high illiteracy and unemployment, there is an urgent need for stakeholders to work together. This underscores the importance of establishing a global strategy to build a better world; a world that is free and fair. A world that recognises that if the youth are constructively engaged, they will emerge as great leaders and become useful resources to their nations.

It is germaine to mention that there are organisations in Nigeria that are dedicated to working to achieve this year’s theme. One such organisation is the Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, a non-profit organisation committed to developing dynamic, innovative and principled leaders. For the past decade, the organisation has trained more than 20, 000 youths and partnered with many youth-led organisations in an attempt to amplify their leadership capacity. The organisation also offers training programmes targeted at disadvantaged youths aged between 14 and 35 years through its various leadership programmes such as the Leadership, Ethics and Civics Programme, Employability Programme and Values and Leadership Skills Programme.

It is instructive that beneficiaries of such programmes have initiated high impact social change projects in their local communities across Nigeria and Africa. These young innovators are championing global discussions in areas like climate change resolution. Locally, they are also contributing to national issues including agriculture, corruption, human rights, and providing basic health care to the underserved — in an attempt to alleviate social and economic problems in the society. Beyond these activities, seminars to impart knowledge to their peers and young adults on topical issues ranging from teenage pregnancies to entrepreneurship are encouraged.

The actions of these young people demonstrate that leadership is not a position but an act that clearly defies the belief that only successful and influential individuals can positively transform lives and influence situations in their community.

To celebrate the 2012 International Youth Day, the United Nations and LEAP Africa urge non-governmental organisations, government, private sector and well-meaning citizens to partner with and support young people in the key areas of need such as employment, entrepreneurship, political inclusion, citizenship and protection of rights, education and sexual/reproductive health.

The dedicated and collective efforts of organisations and citizens towards establishing positive and strategic youth engagement on a national scale would eventually lead to improvements in the global state of affairs.

•Ayeni is the Communications Coordinator, LEAP Africa.

Remarks for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on International Youth Day

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State

Washington, DC

12 August 2012

There are more than three billion people under the age of 30. Young people represent a growing class who are yearning to have their voices heard. But in too many places around the world, the needs and concerns of young women and men continue to be marginalized. Countries are failing to provide young people with the chance to realize even their most basic aspirations. Their political will has too often been suppressed. Yet they are inextricably tied to the problems we all face, from security issues and the economy to changes in governments and society.

We have all witnessed over the last two years that youth are shaping the political landscape of their countries. I have seen young people driving innovations and economic and social entrepreneurship in every region of the world. I believe the best solutions to our shared challenges will come from harnessing the energy and creativity of youth.

As we celebrate the achievements of young people, it is incumbent on the leaders of today – in politics, civil society, the private sector, academia, and scientific fields – to mentor and to cultivate the next generation. It is only through partnership that we can equip young people with the skills, resources, and networks they need, while also empowering them to be agents of change in their communities. The United States stands with young people everywhere as we work to build a brighter future together.

A call for U.S. recognition of National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day

This week, the 19th International AIDS Conference is being held in Washington, DC. Over 20,000 scientists, researchers, activists, and policy makers have gathered in the United States capital to discuss “Turning the Tide Together” and how to create an “AIDS-free generation.”

Among those fighting to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States is Lawrence Stallworth III, a young, HIV-positive activist. Yesterday, Lawrence wrote an amazing blog in the Huffington Post calling for President Barack Obama and members of the US Congress to officially recognize April 10 as National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day.

You can read Lawrence’s blog HERE. 

Tell us what you think: Why are youth critical to achieving an “AIDS-free generation?”

Public Health Institute (PHI) at the International AIDS Conference 2012

Join the Public Health Institute (PHI) at the International AIDS Conference

PHI will be active throughout the IAC.  Please join us, our project teams and our partners at the following events:

PHI/Global Health Fellows Program-II Reception

Monday, July 23, 5:30pm to 7:00pm, GHFP-II Training Room, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC

Please join staff and fellows from PHI programs around the world for a special reception on the occasion of the International AIDS Conference. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and refreshments while learning about the diverse and innovative ways in which PHI is tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic. (RSVP at


Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA) Youth Roundtable

Monday, July 23, 8:30am to 10:30am, Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th Street NW, Washington, DC

PHI’s GYCA and the Youth Health and Rights Coalition (YHRC) will be co-hosting an interactive breakfast roundtable for adolescent- and youth-focused coalitions. We hope for this to be an opportunity for participating coalitions to explore opportunities for collaboration and coordination to further promote the health and rights of young people.


What Works for Women and Girls

Sunday, July 22, 11:15am to 1:15pm, Satellite Session Room 7

A Reason to Celebrate: What Works for Women & Girls: Evidence for HIV/AIDS Interventions (SUSA23): Join us to celebrate the launch of the updated, award-winning website What Works for Women & Girls: Evidence for HIV/AIDS Interventions. Come learn about what’s new in what works for women and girls; how others are utilizing the resource and how it can be useful in your work.


Tuesday, July 24, 4:45pm to 5:45pm, Main Stage, Women’s Networking Zone (WNZ)

What Works for Women & Girls: Advocacy Workshop for Gender Sensitive Interventions: This highly interactive, practical workshop invites participants to answer the question:  how do you advocate for an evidence-based, gender-sensitive response to the HIV epidemic in your country? Participants are encouraged to come with data about the epidemic in their country, including who is most at risk and the conditions for women and girls living with HIV. Participants will leave with concrete strategies and tools to more effectively advocate for gender-specific programming and policies in their countries. 


Wednesday, July 25, 7:00am to 8:30am, Mini Room 3

Messages that Matter: Reaching the World’s Women with Effective, Evidence-Based HIV Prevention Strategies (WESA06): This session will promote cross-learning and highlight why prevention strategies for women must be different than those for men, what is working for women within the US and internationally to reduce risk of HIV infection, and how emerging structural and biomedical strategies can play a role in future prevention efforts for women.


Thursday, July 26, 7:00am to 8:30am, Mini Room 1

From Evidence to Programming: Gender and Gender-Based Violence in the HIV and AIDS Response (THSA02): The session will discuss evidence on addressing gender-based violence (GBV) in HIV programming, and review how the evidence is being put into practice through guidelines and programs. It will focus on current challenges, including taking gender interventions to scale, and measuring program impact. This session will complement the US Government session on PEPFAR GBV program guidance by discussing the “why” behind the guidance.


Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy and Leadership Initiative (AGALI)

 Monday, July 23, 12:30pm to 2:30 pm, Poster Exhibition Hall on Level 2

Strengthening global advocacy for adolescent girls: Lessons learned from the Adolescent Girls´ Advocacy and Leadership Initiative”


Coalition for the Advancement of Multipurpose Innovations (CAMI)

 Thursday, July 26, 12:30pm to 2:30pm, Poster Exhibition Hall on Level 2

CAMI and our Initiative for Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (IMPT) partners are presenting a poster entitled “Simultaneous risks, simultaneous protection: the critical path to “multipurpose” prevention products for women.” Dr. Polly Harrison will be at the exhibit to answer questions and provide MPT informational materials.


Thursday, July 26, 6:30pm to 8:30pm, Mini Room 1

The Population Council and CAMI, along with AVAC, CONRAD, USAID, and WHO, are co-convening a satellite session, New Products, New Paradigms: Combination Products for Women.”  Dr. Helen Rees of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, South Africa, and Dr. Debra Birnkrant of the U.S. FDA, will co-chair the session.


Wednesday, July 25, 6:30pm to 8:30pm, Session Room 6

The International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) and Women Deliver are holding a satellite session entitled Advancing the Integration of HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health”.


The Art of Engaging Indigenous Youth Via Social Media

The following is a guest blog by Kishan Kariippanon, MD, MPH at Youthhealth2.0

Media consumption today has become personalized, through emergent technology, especially mobile technology and social media (which enables peer-to-peer sharing).Indigenous youth have more control over what their choices are in terms of what they want to view online. More and more access to media is neither ‘only offline’ or ‘only online’ as the shift to a seamless media consumption consumer becomes more widespread.

Media and Social Media

Until the dawn of emergent technology, media has always been within the grasp of a finite group of people and their companies. Today, media has become social where ‘You” are the central actor or director and your media content can be shared with anyone, anywhere, with access to the Internet.

The novelty in media consumption (my first TV vs my first iPhone)  is no longer about the tools but more on the content. Engaging, relevant, simple and targeted content is what makes a successful social media effort. Every minute, 24 hours or more of video material is being uploaded to YouTube. How then does health related videos compete with popular video for viewership if it is not tailor-made to reflect local content, local actors and especially local efforts and ideas. Engagement, for the purpose of behavior change, targeting Indigenous youth today is far  from simply raising awareness on  television or radio and definitely not on social media either.

The 3 elements of ‘Engagement’

Engagement in the days before social media meant it involved a more hands off process. Health promotion project officers would take their project plan to a dedicated team in the local/national radio and television company and based on the available budget, a series of advertisements will be produced and aired. The media companies having done extensive research on what time slots are worth in dollars and cents, and will advise your air time. This was best practice in the days of ’one way’ health communications via traditional media.

Media and marketing companies are wired to sell, they are focused on converting information dissemination (advertising) to sales (behavior change). Social marketing campaigns that are geared for behavior change seldom go beyond raising awareness and  (advertising) assuming that knowledge is the key to behavior change. It is quite different to sell a brand (E.g. Coke, Dunhill) as  opposed to promoting a new behavior or stopping an unhealthy one. The comparison between commercial marketing and social marketing is unfortunately not within the scope of this article.

To engage today’s Indigenous youth,  your product or program must:

  1. Be relevant to your target audience; the more precisely defined target audience, the more relevant will be your marketing strategy
  2. Co produce media and social marketing content with motivated representatives of target audience
  3. Make the ability to “share” social marketing content easy to do; e.g. via Bluetooth, share via social media, word of mouth

Target audience

We must stop referring to Indigenous youth as a homogenous group of young people. Firstly, there are hundreds of Indigenous languages, clans, moieties, totems, songs, dances and ceremonies that make up the identity of a particular Indigenous youth. When mainstream health promotion efforts contribute to the homogenization of Indigenous youth, we are indirectly, killing the diversity and richness of knowledge and culture of Indigenous communities.

In order to engage Indigenous youth from a remote community, ( post community consultations) the project must group their youth within their natural clusters; taking into consideration kin, land, traditional beliefs and clan affiliations. The project must be capable of focusing on the process of negotiation, so paramount to Indigenous community life where everyone has a role to play; even the land and the tree that we will sit under and the language that will be spoken, to plan the social marketing and social media campaign.

Indigenous youth from more urban settings would apply to the same process of working with them to produce locally driven content. When content is authentic and empowering then, even when it crosses borders and cultures, it will rarely lose its luster and effect as media and  social media has a trans-cultural effect in knowledge and information dissemination.

Are we creating a  Digital Divide?

The focus of this article is to discuss the importance of relevant, co produced and sharable media made by local youth for their peers. The tools that are used to achieve this have been different based on the available technology at the time. Today, with smartphones, high-speed internet (3G and 4G) and social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, the ability to create targeted media is within the grasp of any motivated and capable health promotion officer and NGO.

The digital divide cannot undermine or disadvantage youth, even Indigenous youth from remote communities. If the main cause of this so-called ’digital divide’ is due to socio-economic disadvantage then, employment and skills training needs must be met first. If young people expressly refuse to use the Internet and social media, and their ability to access information via Internet is halted,  then the process of developing media content for them will take on another form with different dissemination tools. The strategies or principles remain the same.

Creating access to services and health information does not have to end in a “divide”. Innovation in health communications practice is yet to take on the attributes and attitudes of a silicon valley startup. As Lucien Engelen from the ‘Radboud REshape and Innovation Centre’ (Nijmegen University Medical Centre) says: “If you’re afraid of failure and only want 100% positive results, don’t innovate.”

As long as we still have a socio-economic divide, we will continue to have the digital divide amongst young people. What matters the most is that we don’t create a divide called the ‘innovation divide’ because innovation exists everywhere and those disadvantaged are innovating constantly to survive.

IYWG Forum: Alcohol and its Effect on YSRH

The Interagency Youth Working Group (IYWG) is hosting an online forum July 10-11 titled “A Risky Brew: Alcohol and its Effect on Young People’s Reproductive and Sexual Health.”

Research suggests that harmful drinking habits are increasing among adolescents and that alcohol consumption among young people is a growing public health concern. Many negative outcomes are associated with alcohol use among young people including alcohol-related accidents and injuries, alcohol-fueled homicide and suicide, alcohol dependence, and alcohol poisoning. Furthermore, alcohol use can have negative consequences for young people’s sexual and reproductive health. Alcohol use and alcohol dependence contribute to risky sexual behavior, including early initiation of sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, inconsistent condom use and transactional sex.

Join the IYWG July 10-11, 2012, for an online discussion about the effects of alcohol use on young people’s sexual and reproductive health. Moderated by USAID and FHI 360, this forum will give participants an opportunity to discuss alcohol use among young people, associated sexual and reproductive health consequences, programmatic responses to alcohol use among adolescents, and policies aimed at reducing alcohol use.  To learn more about this topic, read our recently released YouthLens publication,“Alcohol and its Effect on Young People’s Reproductive and Sexual Health.”

Starting today, you can submit questions and comments. The forum itself will begin at 9 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Tuesday, July 10 (when previously submitted questions and comments will be posted and answered) and end at 5 PM EST on Wednesday, July 11th.

Click here to join the conversation, and participate in the discussion through Twitter using #RiskyBrew.
You can also follow the IYWG on Twitter @IYWG.