IPPF EN Youth Initiatives
The IPPF European Network Regional Office has implemented several regional level projects directed to young people and with the full engagement of young people.
The SAFE project
The SAFE project (2006 – 2012), a European Commission funded project, aimed to improve and promote the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of young people in Europe. The project was led by the IPPF EN Regional Office in close collaboration with a large number of its Member Associations and European and national collaborative partners.
The first phase of the project (2006 – 2009) was conducted in partnership with Lund University and WHO Regional Office for Europe. A research was conducted to provide an overall picture of the patterns and trends on the SRHR of young people across the region and tools were produced to inform, support and advance policy development:
– Sex and Young People in Europe – A research report of the Sexual Awareness for Europe Partnership.
– Sexuality Education in Europe – A Reference Guide to Policies and Practices.
– A Guide for Developing Policies on the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Young People in Europe.
The second phase of the project (2009 – 2012) focused on qualitative research at national level, advocacy for policy change and replication of good practices. Achievements include:
- Policy changes in Ireland, Portugal, Slovakia and Portugal. The policy changes will benefit young people in their countries and will hopefully inspire other decision makers.
- The production of a policy assessment tool and a policy compendium that provides an overview of the current policy environment regarding young people’s SRHR in 18 European countries. Click here for the policy compendium.
- Valuable evidence collected through qualitative research in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, and Belgium. The data gathered will inform future programmes and policies, and areas for future research have been identified Click here for the research summary report.
- Existing good practices replicated in Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Poland, improving access to SRHR information and services for young people.
- Increased capacity of a broad range of stakeholders on both the European and national levels stakeholders through tools, information sharing and skills building. Stakeholders gained a better insight into young people’s SRHR and some included young people’s SRHR in their agenda.
Overall, meaningful youth participation was cross-cutting throughout the SAFE project. Young people were empowered and youth-adult partnerships were strengthened at partner level as well as regional level.
Young people were:
– Trained as researchers and conducted in-depth interviews with their peers. They were involved on advisory committees in the analysis of research data;
– Involved in the development of the good practice materials: a youth-friendly website and online counselling, education materials focused on sexual violence, a map on youth-friendly doctors, posters, cartoons and a training manual for medical students;
– Conducting information and education sessions for their peers;
– Involved and trained as youth advocates, made advocacy statements on youth SRHR as well as send in their creative contributions to national youth competitions;
– Involved as project coordinators;
– Actively involved at the regional level in the SAFE Steering Committee;
– Representing YSAFE in relevant regional and international events to advocate for young people’s SRHR;
– Involved in developing the final evaluation plan and consulted by the evaluators through focus group discussions.
All project partners confirmed the added value of meaningful youth participation. can because of what follows in the next sentence.n not ; but “or the last semething already publishedetter “h is not in bold Young people provided a different perspective on the research results, ensured that advocacy messages and statements addressed the needs and realities of young people and that materials and resources developed suit the context young people live in. Investing in the YSAFE network at the regional level resulted in a stronger network that is increasingly visible at regional and international events.
The achievements and results of the SAFE project contribute to ongoing national, European and international actions on realizing young people’s SRHR. All the partners in the SAFE project agreed that the work of the SAFE project should be taken forward. Qualitative research capacity, youth participation and advocacy at both national and regional level needs continued support and resources to sustain the developments and advances that have been made so far.