Family planning is a field that I have just recently entered, but I've finally managed to affiliate myself with the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP), a youth-driven network of young leaders with an interest in sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) across the globe. As Country Coordinator, I strive to help other young people like myself attain the leadership skills and knowledge they need in order to contribute to decision-making processes surrounding SRHR here in the US. Family Planning is an issue that impacts all communities. Thus, it is part of my duty as CC to ensure that all populations in this movement are represented to their best capacities and to ensure SRHR is achieved for all people who are in need of accessible and safe FP information & services.
Several challenges have erupted as someone of my age has attempted to engage with larger organizations and decision-making bodies in the realm of SRHR. The most common challenge I've faced in my family planning efforts is that several older individuals do not trust or have respect for youth perspectives like mine. Because of my age, adults think that I'm incapable of delivering as required in this field. Nonetheless, I think my clear interest and passion for catalyzing change this field helps.
To other countries, the US has the appearance of being sex-positive. In reality, however, while many people here do have an insatiable hunger for knowledge surrounding family planning, they are not quite so sure where to look, nor do they necessarily feel comfortable openly discussing FP-related issues. If people do discuss this subject, the the conversations surrounding FP are typically ill-informed. In turn, we exclude so many populations that are critical in advancing the SRHR movement.
With my advocacy here in the US I would love to boost the membership enrollment with IYAFP. Currently, our presence in the US is not as strong as it could be. Nonetheless, there are several opportunities for IYAFP to garner new members not just within the youth population, but across other generations as well. Increased membership enrollment can help build a bigger platform for IYAFP to spearhead advocacy initiatives in the US while also promoting intergenerational dialogue.