The third year of the Yes I Do Alliance shows good results

The Yes I Do Alliance (YIDA) has again completed a year with good results. The number of child marriages has decreased, alternative ceremonies have been held (instead of female circumcision), trainings have been given and lobbying is progressing. The annual report gives insight into what was achieved last year.

The Yes I Do Alliance started in 2016 and includes Plan International Nederland, Amref Flying Doctors, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, KIT Royal Tropical Institute and Rutgers. In six countries, the problems at the core of female circumcision, child marriage and teenage pregnancy have been jointly addressed. The programme is being carried out in Indonesia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya and Ethiopia and will run until 2020.

Number of child marriages decreases

The behaviour change required to stop female circumcision, child marriage and teenage pregnancy is a long process. The report shows that the number of child marriages has decreased since the start of the programme although curbing teenage pregnancy seems to be progressing more slowly.
It is of the utmost importance that all those involved recognise the sexuality of young people and that this subject can be openly discussed. This will ensure that the correct information is shared about child marriage and teenage pregnancy, among other themes. Sex education and access to services in relation to sexual health also remain crucial in this context. To ensure the success of the programme, it is important that boys and men are also involved in the projects.

Read more on the Yes I Do programme here.

Results from the report
In the 2018 report, the current situation is described per goal. Progress, challenges, and finance are dealt with in detail. A selection of the results is given below:

Lobby in Indonesia
In Indonesia, lobbying has taken place at local level among e.g. teachers and professional health staff in order to avoid child marriage. Thirteen groups addressing child protection at community level drafted plans to highlight to policy makers the danger of child marriage 

Mozambique: Young people actively involved
In Mozambique (just as in other countries), a plan was made to involve young people actively in the whole programme. For example, a training was given for all alliance partners on how they can involve young people as much as possible in the programme implementation.

Generations together in discussion in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, manuals have been designed to facilitate discussions between (grand)parents/carers and children. The first results seem promising; the manuals help to create space for open discussions on sexuality and gender. Results show that parents involved in the programme less often tend to marry off their daughters and to have them circumcised.

Kenya: alternative ceremonies for female circumcision
In Kenya, four alternative ceremonies were held in which the path to adulthood was celebrated without girls being circumcised. In 2018, 1,130 girls took part in such a ceremony and 786 boys followed lessons on sexual health. Thanks to these lessons, the boys gained knowledge and skills on sexual health and rights, the importance of equality between girls and boys and active promotion of equal rights.

Champions of change in Malawi
Results show that by using the Champions of Change methodology, young people gain  more knowledge and skills in the area of sexual health and rights. The number of girls that drop out of school partly decreased because of this and girls who had to leave school due to pregnancy were also able to recontinue their education more often.

Read the full report here.