UNFPA, Levi’s and MTV have collaborated to reach young people through “A Youth Story”, a multichannel national campaign. This campaign raises young people’s awareness of sexual and reproductive health in Turkey, a society which has been hesitant to discuss sexual health issues among young people.
As in many cultures, young people’s knowledge of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and HIV issues has been limited in Turkey. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) sought to bridge the awareness gap by working with private sector allies to develop a new kind of campaign to reach young people with vitally important information and engage youth in the process of advocating improved SRH education for themselves and their peers.
UNFPA collaborated with leading youth brands Levi’s and MTV Turkey, and with the Turkish nongovernmental organization Youth for Habitat Association, which hosts one of the biggest youth networks in Turkey, to develop “A Youth Story”, a multichannel national campaign on SRH that reaches young people through peer education and activities they enjoy most: youth-oriented TV programming, the web, concerts, youth events and festivals.
This innovative collaboration had twin objectives. Firstly, to increase awareness of and create demand for SRH education among
young people. Secondly, to help policy-makers understand the need to integrate appropriate SRH education in school curricula. Young people were involved in all phases of planning and implementation of “A Youth Story”.
Advocacy workshops reflecting key campaign messages bring together young participants from 30 provinces in Turkey. Trainees then act as
advocates for other young people, reaching out to peers and creating networks of awareness on SRH. Furthermore, trainees act as advocates for young people’s information needs and SRH rights with local policy and decision-makers. So far, 70 young people have been trained as key advocates. In the first six months, the campaign joined youth events at 30 university spring festivals, three international music festivals and two national youth festivals.