In case you missed it

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Launch of General Comment 20 on the Implementation of the Rights of the Child during Adolescence

On the margins of the 74th session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, on 7 February 2017, a ground breaking General Comment on the realization of the rights of adolescents was launched.  But there was nothing marginal about the event itself.  The conference room in the Palais des Nations was packed far beyond capacity with Member States, NGOs and UN left standing in the back and peering through the door for this monumental event. “All children and adolescents want to be heard and have their opinions count so that they can contribute towards better, healthier and peaceful societies,” stressed 16 year old Henry Marzano Sacón who is the President of the Consultative Committee of Boys, Girls, and Adolescents of Ecuador and who participated in the launch. The line-up of States, requesting to speak reflected States’ commitment to the realization of the General Comment.

image3With the adoption of the General Comment 20, States will now have access to detailed guidance on the measures necessary to ensure the realization of the rights of children during adolescence, and in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “This is not a document whose time has come; it is long overdue!” stated Benyam Dawit Mezmure, Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The General Comment highlights the importance of a human rights-based approach that includes recognition and respect for the dignity and agency of adolescents; their empowerment, citizenship and active participation in their own lives; the promotion of optimum health, well-being and development; and a commitment to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of their human rights, without discrimination.

While the Convention recognizes the rights of all persons under 18 years, its implementation to date has largely been blind to children in the second decade.  The General Comment lifts up the importance of taking into account children’s development and their evolving capacities. Approaches adopted to ensure the realization of the rights of adolescents differ significantly from those adopted for younger children. The General Comment raises the profile and awareness on adolescents and allows States to strengthen their approach to the realization of adolescents’ rights.

“UNICEF welcomes this General Comment as a normative guidance for realizing the rights of children in their second decade of life,” mentioned Judith Diers, Chief, Adolescent Development and Participation Section at UNICEF HQ. She confirmed that  “UNICEF commits to working with adolescents and States parties to strengthen reporting on adolescents rights’ as part of their CRC report preparation. We will also work closely with State parties due to report in 2019 to model collaborative processes for reporting to the CRC.”

The General Comment recognizes adolescence as a life stage characterized by growing opportunities, capacities, aspirations, energy and creativity, but also significant vulnerability.  It emphasizes that adolescents are agents of change and a key asset and resource with the potential to contribute positively to their families, communities and the countries.

The full ‘General Comment 20 on Realizing the Rights of Children during Adolescence’ can be read here.


On Tuesday 14th February, UNICEF hosted a Geneva launch of the CRC General Comment 20 on Realizing the Rights of Children during Adolescence. One of our Commissioners Judith Diers (who serves as the chief of adolescent development and participation at UNICEF) was there at the launch event and was involved in the creation of the document. “It was an incredible event – with standing room only – full of member states, NGOs and others.  It was the culmination of 5 years of work – a great moment for adolescent rights” – Judith Diers.

Enrol now

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Global Adolescent Health course,  enrol now!

2017 course start dates: 6 Mar, 22 May, 7 Aug, 23 Oct

Interested in learning more about ‘global adolescent health’ or are you in need of a refresher? This free University of Melbourne course, led by our very own Lancet Commissioners – Professors Susan Sawyer (@susansawyer01) and George Patton (@gcpatton1) will explore the dynamic factors affecting the health and wellbeing of young people around the world, and how important it is for individuals, communities and nations that we improve their health and life chances.

Over 25% of the world’s population is aged between 10 and 24 years. As the future leaders and drivers of growth, productivity and innovation, young people are our greatest assets. Investment in their health and wellbeing has social, economic and other benefits that continue across the lifespan and into the next generation.

This course adopts a life-course framework to take a holistic view of youth health and wellbeing. It explores changing patterns of adolescent health and development; how puberty and adolescent brain development may shape future health; and how what happens in adolescence can affect the next generation. It also looks at the major health and social issues affecting young people and ways of addressing these through policy, practice and programming.

Do I have to pay for this course? NO – you may access 100% of material in this course for free.

Time commitment: 6-8 weeks of study, 3-4 hours/week

Who is this class for? Anyone with an interest in the health and wellbeing of young people. For more information or to enrol head to the course homepage.

What is the most interesting thing you’ll learn if you take this course? You’ll learn how what happens during adolescence can impact not only the future health of individuals, but the health of the next generation as well. You’ll develop an understanding of the key factors impacting upon youth health and learn how to be a better advocate for the health and wellbeing of young people.

YouthPower Learning Grants

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YPRequest for Applications:
YouthPower Learning Grants

Making Cents International (Making Cents) under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded contract YouthPower Learning is seeking grant applications from qualified entities as part of its efforts to further assess, evaluate, document, and disseminate innovative work in positive youth development and cross-sectoral youth programming.

YouthPower Learning is launching requests for applications (RFA) for grants in the following thematic areas:

Click here to download the YouthPower Learning Grants RFA#002-2017 documents.

Click here to download the YouthPower Learning Grants RFA#003-2017 documents.


Issuance Date: February 27, 2017
RFA Current Closing Date: April 13, 2017, 21:00 GMT


These funding opportunities are posted on www.YouthPower.org and may be amended. Potential applicants should regularly check the website to ensure they have the latest information pertaining to this RFA. If you have difficulty accessing this document, please contact the Grants Manager via email at grants@youthpower.org.

Any information that substantially changes the requirements of this RFA shall be released through the issuance of an amendment to the RFA. Making Cents may, at its own discretion, extend the deadline for the submission of applications.

Scoping meeting

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On Monday 27th February and Tuesday 28th February, representatives, academics and youth advocates from a variety of organisations and universities are coming together for an initial scoping meeting to plan the next 5 + years of a ‘Lancet Standing Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing’. This meeting will take place in Seattle, and is hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Why a scoping meeting?

The six recommendations from our Commission Report (below) cover diverse topics, and their implementation well require engagement with different constituents, disciplines and sectors. They in fact represent work that is likely to continue for decades into the future. The work of the Standing Commission is intended to be pursued over the next five years. We simply can’t do everything that needs to be done in this field in five years! We therefore need to focus on what is most important and achievable. The scoping meeting will provide an opportunity to consider areas of priority focus.

Recommendation 1: Reframing and rethinking adolescent health and wellbeing
Recommendation 2: Assessing health needs and responses
Recommendation 3: Achieving universal health coverage
Recommendation 4: Create protective and empowering social scaffolds through intersectoral partnerships
Recommendation 5: Youth engagement and empowerment
Recommendation 6: Growing knowledge and capacity

Watch this space to see, how we ‘The Standing Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing’ with our collaborators, plan to change the global face of adolescent health and wellbeing.


We are very grateful for the support of  the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided much of the funding for the 2016 report. The Foundation has committed to developing a comprehensive and integrated approach to adolescent health.

this-generation

Webinar

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health for all adols - webinar

“Health for All Adolescents: What is shaping adolescent health today” Webinar


Watch it here!


On Feb 1, the American Public Health Association; The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health; the HHS Office of Adolescent Health, and The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing hosted a webinar to provide the latest information on changing policy, economic, and environmental issues that shape adolescent health.

Globally, we have seen dramatic gains in women’s and younger children’s health, but adolescents continue to lag behind other age groups. Ensuring the healthy development of today’s adolescents reaps triple benefits for their health now, for their future adult life, and for future generations. However, the factors that shape adolescent health span multiple domains and are complex. How do we, the professionals who work with youth, handle these factors? Find out by watching the “Health for All Adolescents” webinar.

The Commission would like to thank everyone involved, especially the speakers (Commission chair – George Patton, and Commissioners Terry McGovern and John Santelli), and a special thank you to Evelyn Kappeler who moderated the event.

“Adolescents and young adults face unprecedented social, economic, and cultural change. We must transform our health, education, family support, and legal systems to keep pace with these changes.”

View the webinar slides (all are downloadable PDFs): George PattonJohn Santelli, Terry McGovern

New resources

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Technical guidance for prioritizing adolescent health

Cover of report - Technical guidance for prioritizing adolescent healthThis technical guidance, developed by the UNFPA- and WHO-led Adolescent Working Group of Every Woman Every Child, aims to support countries to both advocate for increased investments in adolescent health and to guide strategic choices and decision-making for such investments to be reflected in national development policies, strategies or plans. It describes a systematic process for identifying the needs, priorities and actions for adolescents to survive, thrive and transform their societies as envisioned through the Global Strategy of Every Woman Every Child. Data sources, resources and tools for conducting a situation assessment and prioritization exercise are also included.

 

Imagine a School by UNICEF

Screenshot 2017-02-07 15.16.15UNICEF launches interactive glimpse into Syrian children’s struggle for education. This new interactive documentary provides an intimate look into the lives of Syrian school-aged children living as refugees in Lebanon. #ImagineaSchool provides a first-hand account of the challenges Syrian refugees face in their struggle to access education. The title of the project, #ImagineaSchool, is a quote from two of the girls interviewed that had never been to school. Nearly six years into the violence, half of all Syrian children, or 2.8 million, in Syria and neighboring countries, are out of school. Some of the main obstacles are poverty, social exclusion, discrimination, insecurity, vulnerability, language barriers and lack of information.

To access downloadable video and photo content from the series, visit: http://uni.cf/2jt2WHi
To watch the interactive series, visit: www.imagineaschool.com
To watch the #ImagineaSchool ‘making of’ video, visit: http://bit.ly/2iL2PWj

 

Positive Youth Development Measurement ToolkitPYD Measurement Toolkit

The Positive Youth Development Measurement Toolkit, developed by YouthPower Learning, provides guidance and resources for implementers of youth programming in LMICs to integrate PYD principles in their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and effectively measure PYD outputs and outcomes within their programs. This online toolkit provides an introduction and a brief overview of the toolkit. The complete toolkit can be downloaded here.

The overall goal of this toolkit is to help programs effectively measure PYD outcomes in order to improve program performance over time, contribute to the body of evidence on PYD, and ultimately influence multi-sector outcomes and impact of youth programming.

 

IAP Inaugural reportScreenshot 2017-02-07 15.33.08

The Independent Accountability Panel’s (IAP) inaugural report provides a framework to assess the global community’s progress on the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health 2016–2030. The report argues that urgent action is needed to meet global health commitments to women, children and adolescents through the Sustainable Development Goals.

Feb 1 webinar

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health for all adols - webinar

“Health for All Adolescents: What is shaping adolescent health today” Webinar

Feb 01 2017, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST


Register here!


On Feb 1, at 11 am EST, join the American Public Health Association; The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health; the HHS Office of Adolescent Health, and The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing to get the latest information on changing policy, economic, and environmental issues that shape adolescent health. During this webinar, speakers will discuss findings from our report, Our future: a Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing and provide a closer look at policies and other multi-sectoral factors that affect adolescents globally and in the United States. It will include examples of what youth-serving professionals can do to support healthy adolescent development.

Globally, we have seen dramatic gains in women’s and younger children’s health, but adolescents continue to lag behind other age groups. Ensuring the healthy development of today’s adolescents reaps triple benefits for their health now, for their future adult life, and for future generations. However, the factors that shape adolescent health span multiple domains and are complex. How do we, the professionals who work with youth, handle these factors? Find out by joining the “Health for All Adolescents” webinar.

Speakers:

“Adolescents and young adults face unprecedented social, economic, and cultural change. We must transform our health, education, family support, and legal systems to keep pace with these changes.”

Looking back

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Dear Subscribers,

Though a little late, I wanted to highlight some of the wonderful things former US First lady Michelle Obama, spoke about during an event that honoured the 2017 School Counsellor of the Year. As part of her Reach Higher initiative to promote post-secondary education, Obama was visibly moved as she concluded her final official speech, as she urged young Americans to remain hopeful and engaged in the country’s future.

I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don’t be afraid — you hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise”

Reach Higher was launched back in 2014, with one goal in mind: to make higher education cool, and to shine a spotlight on all things educational, not just for example on those fortunate sports athletes choosing their college and university teams.  “We wanted to focus that same level of energy and attention on kids going to college because of their academic achievements. Because as a nation, that’s where the spotlight should also be — on kids who work hard in school and do the right thing when no one is watching, many beating daunting odds”. 

After all, if the spotlight is only ever on celebrities, recording artists, or professional athletes, and they are the only achievements / professions ever celebrated “why would we ever think kids would see college as a priority?”

“Education is the key to success for so many kids.” We, at the Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing couldn’t agree more. Though we focused on the benefits of secondary education, there is no doubt that guaranteeing access to quality education for all is the single best investment for health and wellbeing of young people.

Obama’s Reach Higher initiative worked, one example Obama gave was their ambition to make College Signing Day a national event. With the aim of creating a tradition to celebrate students going to college the same way the US celebrates athletes and celebrities. “We wanted to focus that same level of energy and attention on kids going to college because of their academic achievements.” Another, was Better Make Room. A social media campaign that provides young people the support and inspiration they need to actually complete a higher education.

These are some of the examples Obama gave in her speech. If you would like to know more, visit the Reach Higher website.

Obama then thanked the educators: the teachers and advocates, “who get up every day and work their hearts out to lift up our young people. I am so grateful to all of you for your passion and your dedication and all the hard work on behalf of the next generation”. These roles are often underappreciated and faced with such overwhelming challenges – budgets, student to teach ratios, the extra hours – but as we know the impact an educator can have on young people is priceless.

“You all come in early, you stay late… You stick with students in their darkest moments, when they’re most anxious and afraid. And if anyone is dealing with a college [high school] senior or junior, you know what this feels like. These men and women show them that those kids matter; that they have something to offer; that no matter where they’re from or how much money their parents have, no matter what they look like or who they love or how they worship or what language they speak at home, they have a place in this country.”

In her closing moments Obama, again addressed the young population – the leaders of tomorrow, and the parents of the next – “I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong.” That any child who is given the opportunity of a good education, and with hard work, can achieve. Anything is possible for that child or young adult, “that means getting the best education possible so you can think critically, so you can express yourself clearly, so you can get a good job and support yourself and your family, so you can be a positive force in your communities.”

And reminded the politicians, the parents, and the employers, “all of us need to be providing for our young people.” Again, this is something we, at the Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing are so passionate about. “We must create opportunities to extend youth engagement into the real world. This requires financial investment, strong partnerships with adults, training and mentorship, and the creation of structures and processes that allow adolescent and young adult involvement in decision making.”


Michelle Obama’s final speech as first lady can be read here.

Screenshot 2017-01-25 10.53.20

Save the Date – webinar

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health for all adols - webinar

“Health for All Adolescents: What is shaping adolescent health today” Webinar

February 1, 2017

Globally, we have seen dramatic gains in women’s and younger children’s health, but adolescents continue to lag behind other age groups. Ensuring the healthy development of today’s adolescents reaps triple benefits for their health now, for their future adult life, and for future generations. However, the factors that shape adolescent health span multiple domains and are complex. How do we, the professionals who work with youth, handle these factors? Find out by joining the “Health for All Adolescents” webinar.

This joint webinar, hosted by the American Public Health Association; The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health; and the HHS Office of Adolescent Health, will feature representatives from The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. It will provide an overview of the state of adolescent health across the globe and then take a closer look at the policies and multi-sectoral factors that affect adolescents in the United States. At the end of the webinar, there will be time to discuss concrete actions youth-serving professionals can take to support adolescent health.

Speakers:

Don’t miss this event! Mark your calendars for Wednesday, February 1, 2017, and stay tuned for a post with a registration link for the webinar.

the Education Commission

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600_449434077“In 2016, a quarter of a billion children and young people are out of school. Another 330 million are not learning because we fail to invest in them even when they are in school. We cannot accept another year or decade like this. It is time we started telling new stories about our children. Time we offered them not just safety, but a real future – not just freedom from fear, but the freedom to realize their potential through education.”  Rt Hon Gordon Brown


Read it here


Overview

The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity was set up to reinvigorate the case for investing in education and to chart a pathway for increased investment in order to develop the potential of all of the world’s young people. It brings together the best research and policy analysis to identify the most effective and accountable ways of mobilising and deploying resources to help ensure that all children and young people have the opportunity to participate, learn and gain the skills they need for adulthood and work in the 21st century. Specifically, the Commission created three separate panels of expert advisors, each focused on a critical issue related to education reform: technology, health, and finance.

The Education Commission’s work builds upon the vision agreed to by world leaders in 2015 with the UN Sustainable Development Goal for education: To ensure inclusive and equitable quality education by 2030 and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Taking Urgent Action

Sufficient leadership and investment in education has not been a priority for governments and leaders. Education’s share in government budgets has been declining in a number of countries despite growing needs. With international assistance to education declining by nearly 10 percent in recent years, the financing gap for basic education is unlikely to be closed without urgent action.

If leaders do not take action now to increase investment and reform global education, more than 124 million young people will continue to be denied access to schools and more than 250 million will not gain the skills they need to lead healthy and successful lives.

Over the last year, the Education Commission has sought to persuade global leaders to take urgent action by bringing together the best evidence on what works in expanding access to quality education and learning for all.

The first generation where every child goes to school

Inspired by examples of extraordinary educational advancement around the world, and challenged by the urgent need to continually reshape education to meet the needs of a new generation, the Education Commission articulates a progressive way forward for global education. They show how their vision of a world in which all children and young people are in school and learning is not a dream but an achievable reality already witnessed in some countries. If we transform the performance of education systems, unleash innovation, prioritise inclusion, expand financing, and motivate all countries to accelerate their progress to match the world’s top 25 percent fastest education improvers, we can build the “Learning Generation.”

Next steps

Following the launch of the Education Commission’s report at the United Nations, the Commission’s efforts now shift toward report uptake and holding all actors to account for delivering the #LearningGeneration. During the coming year, the Commission will work to disseminate the Commission report and agenda for action, inspire and motivate reforms in financing and delivery of education and structure partnerships to carry forward the recommendations. During the past month, the Commission’s report findings have been covered in 237 news stories, 16 Commissioner OpEds and disseminated through a launch video generating more than 1.2 million views. You can see some of the coverage here.

Over the coming year, the Commission will focus on five priority areas:

1. Supporting Pioneer Countries
2. Establishing Multilateral Development Bank Investment Mechanism
3. Strengthening Global Accountability
4. Catalysing Strategic Initiatives
5. Spreading the Message


educationThe goals of the Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing are consistent with and complementary to those of the Education Commission. The Lancet Commission called for guaranteeing access to free, quality secondary education for all as the single best investment for health and wellbeing. It presented new evidence that participation in secondary education is associated with a range of health benefits for individuals and societies. But it also reviewed evidence suggesting that it is not merely enrolment in secondary education that is critical to achieving health impacts but also: the quality of education provided; the extent to which schools actively engage students in an inclusive community; and the implementation of multi-component school health interventions.

By Prof Chris Bonell
#LancetYouth Commisisoner
Professor of Public Health Sociology
Head of Department of Social & Environmental Health Research, LSHTM

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