The implementation of the recently changed “one-child policy” (the law on the two-child policy just became effective on January 1, 2016) was accompanied by the establishment of a strong reproductive health program and a vast network of government family planning centres and other initiatives on SRH. However, China’s SRH system and policies are geared mainly toward married couples and women, leaving young, single individuals without adequate information and (youth-friendly) services. Also, in China today, there is no comprehensive sex education, but rather a focus on reproduction issues. If there is sexuality education in schools, teachers lack nationally agreed technical tools and materials that are age and gender appropriate as well as culturally sensitive.
Yunnan Youth Development Centre (YYDC) was founded in 2005 as a non-governmental organization with a mission to serve young people aged 6-24 through: (1) ‘civil education’ in basic life skills, citizenship as well as sexual and reproductive health (SRH), (2) advocacy and (3) volunteer-led experiential learning. YYDC implements its programs by training university student volunteers, empowering them to be directly involved in a range of activities to promote the development of other young people, especially those who are excluded. In 2016, the organization worked with 50 volunteers, and approximately a fifth of them is involved with YYDC for two or more years. In 2013, YYDC started a Youth Hostel outside of the city of Kunming as a social enterprise to offer rental space for social organizations, and generate revenue to fund its programs. In 2015, they had to move the hostel to a smaller site in Kunming city, because of challenges in its capacity utilisation. Founder and Executive Director Ms. Zhou Rong was trained as a lawyer and is highly reputed in the social sector in Yunnan, and in reproductive health education.
EMpower’s 5th grant to YYDC will provide sexual and reproductive health education to over 1,000 children and youth in urban and rural primary and junior high schools in and around Kunming. Interventions in schools will be conducted by its own staff as well as by prior trained university student volunteers and teachers. YYDC will also develop models on the reporting as well as the counselling/assistance process to victims of sexual harassment in schools to protect children better.
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