Advocates for Youth

Advocates for Youth is advancing the sexual health and rights of LGBTI youth in the developing world by strengthening the capacity of sustainable youth-led and youth-serving non-governmental organizations. Often there are limited spaces to organize and elevate issues that make LGBTI youth particularly vulnerable. Advocates has a network of 3,000 youth-led and youth-serving non-governmental organizations and activists from 96 countries and provides support in 40 countries.

Advocates for Youth works across the U.S. and developing world to advance youth sexual health and rights to further a vision of a society in which all young people are valued, respected and treated with dignity; sexuality is accepted as a healthy part of being human; and youth sexual development is recognized as normal.

For more than three decades, staff has mobilized and empowered young people, particularly youth from marginalized communities such as LGBTI youth, to drive programmatic and policy changes to improve their sexual health and rights. In 1999, Advocates began partnering with youth-led LGBTI organizations in Latin America to develop safe spaces for LGBTI youth to obtain sexual health information and services without fear of being targeted.

In 2011, Advocates launched an international LGBTI youth health and rights initiative in response to the needs of its youth leaders from around the world. Advocates was also a forerunner in using web technology to engage and inform young people disproportionately affected by negative health outcomes. In 1998 Advocates spearheaded a landmark online peer education program, YouthResource, developed by and for LGBTI youth providing affirmation and, often, lifesaving support to tens of thousands in the U.S. and around the world.

Today, Advocates maintains a network of nearly 3,000 youth-led and youth-serving organizations and activists in the developing world from 96 countries, provides technical assistance in 40 countries and works intensively in 18 countries providing onsite training and subgrants to support regional, national and international youth sexual and reproductive health and rights priorities. Successful efforts have included launching online peer education for LGBTI youth in Jamaica; conducting groundbreaking research to improve the provision of health services for LGBTI youth in Uganda; working in Pakistan and Kenya to improve HIV/AIDS prevention and linkages to care for LGBTI youth and; advancing an LGBTI inclusive sex education curriculum in Nepal.

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