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About

Youth RISE is a youth-led network promoting evidence-based drug policies and harm reduction strategies with the involvement of young people who use drugs and other key affected populations.

Youth RISE envisions a world where society addresses the needs of young people who use drugs through innovative, humane, evidence-informed, harm reduction and public health-based perspectives.

To establish a youth-led global network of people who use drugs and those affected by drug policies

To develop regional YR working groups

Map needs and services of key affected populations

Develop regional structures in every region in the world

Provide technical resources

Who we are

Youth RISE being the only international youth led voices of young people using drugs, acts as a catalyst to bring more voices and active participation of different youth communities on drugs. The goal is to develop a global network of youth with a bottom up model. We are here to bring technical support, community mobilization and involvement of our affected peers. From basic harm reduction services in communities to advocacy of access to right to health and protection of young people who use drugs, we call each organization and peer youths to raise voices and bring out their needs on table for better inclusive policies.

I believe youth and drugs has a prominent relation which is hard to neglect by suppressive behavior and promoting the evil of taboo. Accepting the problem makes it easier for us to come out and talk about our experiences, needs and problems. Through this platform we encourage all our peers to join and create movements in their own communities. The change will start in our unity and action as one, also,

Let’s accept that there are young people who say ‘maybe’, ‘sometimes’ or ‘yes’ to drugs!

Let’s raise our voices to be heard and accepted!

‘Lets be realistic and demand the impossible!’

Murtaza Majeed, 2016

What we do

Harm reduction

Despite overwhelming evidence of its effectiveness in reducing drug related harm, harm reduction approaches are yet to be accepted as a viable and effective way to reduce harms among youth. The predominant approach to drug use among young people remains drug prevention, “just say no to drugs”; campaigns, forced treatment and law enforcement. Youth RISE believes a more balanced approach is urgently needed, which involves non-judgmental service provision and which recognises the need to reduce harms among young people who use drugs.

Training

We offer training on a range of drug policy / harm reduction issues with a particular focus on young people who use drugs. This include training for service providers on youth friendly harm reduction, how can you engage young people who use drugs in your service, and what are age appropriate harm reduction interventions and what do you need to do differently to cater for young people who use drugs. Training for young people who use drugs on how to reduce drug related harm. To date, we have carried out peer education trainings with young people who use drugs in over 20 countries using a peer-to-peer approach. As well as training for young people in general on drug policy issues and how young people can be more active in the debate, whether through group sessions or online E-courses. If you would like more information about our training sessions, would like Youth RISE to facilitate a training in your country or support an organisation in its implemention of youth friendly harm reduction services, please contact us.

Drug policy

Youth RISE exists as a response to the punitive approach that currently dominates the current international framework and the misguided drug policies that are promoted to “protect”; young people, yet instead cause significant harm. Current drug policies have disastrous and far reaching consequences for young people, from denial of health services, to reduced educational, employment and other opportunities, to numerous human rights violations. Despite clear evidence that young people are significantly affected by drug policy and use, policy makers, service providers and the international community fail to address young peoples’ specific needs and issues. They are often excluded from discussions and decisions regarding the most appropriate and humane policies and practices to respond to drug use among young people. Youth RISE advocates for humane drug policies for young people and provides a space for young people to advocate for policy reform at an international level.

Capacity building

Youth RISE has supported the establishment of four national groups/organisations in countries (Nigeria, Nepal, Lebanon, Kyrgzstan). They are important for creating a movement at a national level, engaging more people in the Youth RISE network, opening up possibilities sustainability, improving national level advocacy, and opening up possibilities for additional fundraising. They have also been important for informing our international work and advocacy and will continue to be key members of the Youth RISE network. Group representatives will remain part of the network structure through a reserved place on our International Working Group, and mutual support will continue through communication from the local and national level groups up to the secretariat, as well as from the secretariat to the ground.

Team

Murtaza Majeed

International Coordinator

Murtaza Majeed has been working on drug treatment, policymaking, advocacy on drug policy, and harm reduction services. Murtaza has worked with Medicines du Monde and he was national training and resource center coordinator for the Afghanistan National AIDS Control Program. The first methadone clinic funded by the Global Fund and Afghanistan government was one of his organisation’s achievements. Training and development of harm reduction programs, OST to other health staffs in Afghanistan was part of his responsibilities through the National Training and Resource Centre…

Eva Césarová

Communication Officer

Eva Césarová is a young activist from Czech Republic who is involved in various activities related to drug policy, harm reduction and psychedelics. She studied Marketing Communications and Film Production and dedicated all activities to the drug related topics. She is one of the co-founders of the Czech Psychedelic Society where she is currently the guarantee of external affairs. She is also one of the organizers of Beyond Psychedelics 2016 conference.

With over 15 years experience in peer and community-based HIV/AIDS, harm reduction, public health and human rights programs, Caitlin is the co-founder of Youth RISE – an international youth-led network that advocates for the reduction of drug related harm grounded in human-rights based policies. She has worked in Cambodia and Southeast Asia in the field of HIV/AIDS advocacy and education, drug policy and human rights initiatives and regularly speaks, facilitates and moderates sessions and panels at high level meetings within the United Nations agencies, international organizations and conferences. (more…)


TEAM

Hunter is a trans woman harm reduction advocate from Australia, currently working as a health promotion officer and peer educator at Harm Reduction Victoria, a drug user organisation based in Melbourne. In this role, she works to design and deliver peer education, community development and other health promotion interventions for people who inject drugs, to reduce risks of BBV transmission and other health issues. This role also involves delivering workforce development training to health and human services workers to increase their ability to effectively work with people who inject drugs. She also works as a freelance copy-editor, working on policy papers and reports for organisations like the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) and Rose Alliance (Sweden). Apart from harm reduction and working to end the war on drugs, Hunter is passionate about LGBT and gender issues, as well as prison abolition.

Shaun is a youth activist from Zimbabwe who is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management at Midlands State University in Zimbabwe. Shaun is actively involved in harm reduction initiatives, advocating for human rights, and researching issues related to HIV/AIDS. For his work on youth activism the International Aids Society named Shaun among the 25 youth ambassadors who were actively contributing to fighting HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe and the world. Shaun is also a peer reviewer for the International Journal of Business and Management and he has worked closely with organisations such as the International Aids Society, UNAIDS, Africaid Zvandiri and POZ on issues relating to research and advocacy. In his free time Shaun enjoys training young peer educators,running marathons and watching soccer.

 

Wiqas is a youth activist from Pakistan who is working for in health and education with a focus on young people to have access to all their rights including health, education, and enjoying a peaceful life. He started his activism at a very young age by joining the school scout team and volunteering with his village social organization Youth Welfare Society. He was the founder of “Human Resources Organization” and “Initiative for Youth & Sustainable Development.” Wiqas is the current Executive Director for the Initiative for Youth and Sustainable Development in Pakistan and is a part of several different international and national networks like Youth Peer Education Network, International AIDS Society, and Youth Rise.

As a researcher and activist Wiqas has presented his work at different international platforms like WYC2010, Women Deliver Conference 2013 in Malaysia, the International Congress on AIDS Asia Pacific (ICAAP11) 2013 in Thailand, and the International Aids Conference 2016.
Wiqas was also a participant of the creation of the draft of“ Khyber Pakhtonkhwa Youth Policy” in Pakistan. Under Chanan Development Association Wiqas has worked on several projects such as “UNFPA Pakistan, UNDEF, Y-Care, British Council, Oxfam Navib. He is also involved in cross border education and health initiatives with young people in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He also served in war zones like Urozgan and Qandahar working on GIZ IS & AUSAID Projects in Afghanistan and FATA, KP in Pakistan.

Catherine is an enthusiastic young African feminist, Lover of Life and passionate advocate for Women and girls health especially Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Catherine enjoys exploring and amplifying the convergences between daily lived realities of women and girls with local, national and global policies. Catherine is currently the Deputy Director at Dandelion Kenya and chairs the Women Global Network for Reproductive Rights Alliance Kenya (WAK), a network working towards reduction of maternal mortality attributed to unsafe abortions.Catherine has engaged with various global policy processes; International Conference on Population & Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014 review, Beijing+20 review and the sustainable development goals. Catherine sits on the interim steering committee of African CSOs Coalition on Population and Development (ACCPD), a coalition working towards full implementation of ICPD Program of Action in Africa and a member of the African Youth Task Force on Post 2015. Catherine also sits on the SDGs Forum Kenya steering committee, a knowledge Management and peer resource platform for CSOs undertaking the implementation of the SDGs in Kenya including provide technical and advocacy support to Kenyan Government. Catherine has worked to develop her skills in policy advocacy including joining the Kenyan government to the UN during CPD and UNGA meetings in 2015. Continue reading about Catherine Wanjiru Nyambura

Young activist promoting harm reduction initiatives which values health and human rights of drug users in Nepal through peer led organization called Aavash Samuha and national networks called CDUN(collation of drug users of nepal) and YKAP Nepal( network of young key affected population of Nepal).He is also one of the National focal point of Youth LEAD (A regional HIV network of young key populations in the Asia-Pacific Region). He recently got a Bachelor’s degree and currently studying for Master’s Degree in Tribhuvan University.

Since 2011, Maharjan have been advocating for the gender equality and needs and rights of young drug users and also directly working with young key population and non-governmental organizations which works with Drug Users and PLHIVs by providing comprehensive services and information like Oral substitution Therapy, Needle Syringe Exchange Programs, Crisis Care Center and Treatment and Rehabilitation.

Tristan is coming from St. Andrew, Jamaica. He attended Wolmer’s Boys’ High School.where his passion for youth advocacy truly came to life as the head of the Legal Committee of the Student’s Council advocating for students’ rights. His passion and thirst for the youth’s voice and rights led him to become the Chairman of Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation’s Youth Council and the Youth Advisory Task Force acting as a local authority on youth related issues providing advisory services to the Mayor of the city. He also sat on the council St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church working directly associated with youth affiliated activities. Tristan will complete his degree in 2018 in BSc in Economics and Banking and Finance at the University of The West Indies, Mona.

Penny is currently working as a Mobile Drug Safety Worker and Outreach Worker based in Melbourne, Australia. She works to promote harm-reduction based education to users, members of the public, and conducts training for staff of various health and welfare services throughout the Eastern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne. Her involvement in the harm reduction sector was initiated when working as an NSP worker at Sydney’ Kirketon Road Centre in Kings Cross, a primary health care facility for injecting drug users, sex workers and at-risk youth. Penelope currently volunteers with the Victorian AIDS Council, Save the Children Australia, Homeless of Melbourne. She is an active member of the Enpsychedelia community radio program and a co-founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Australia, President of SSDP Deakin University, and Project Supervisor for the Global Health Next Generation Network.

Penelope is currently undertaking a Masters of International and Community Development at Deakin University, Australia; and holds a Master of Science (Public Health), Umea University, Sweden; Bachelor of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia, and Diploma of Community Services (Alcohol and Other Drugs, Mental Heath), TAFE NSW, Australia.

Francis is a young activist from Malawi. His main passion is to help the voices of marginalized populations be heard in order to effect change. He’s a Community Advisory Board Member of the Johns Hopkins Research Project and an active member of the Key Correspondents network, a citizen journalism platform, supported by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance where he reports on issues related to HIV, health, and human rights, in order to get the voices of those most affected into global debates.

Florian is a co-founder of SSDP Ireland and a Deputy Director of Help Not Harm – a non profit promoting a health-based approach in Ireland.  He has represented Youth RISE to the Irish Department of Health, Department of Justice, Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Permanent Representative to the United Nations.  He has been involved in Help Not Harm and SSDP Ireland’s submissions as part of the Department of Health’s Education and Prevention focus groups.  His current focuses include decriminalization, full spectrum harm reduction and the availability of cannabis-based medicines.

was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and started using drugs at the age of 15 while studying in class ten. She has been working in Nepal for the past five years in the fields of drug treatment, harm reduction, and HIV & AIDS. She is focused on youth and female using/injecting drug users (FIDU), a very marginalized and voiceless part of Nepali society. She works as a Program Officer of female wings at AAFNO Nepal (a community-led organization of young people who use drugs and live with HIV) drug treatment and HIV. She is also interested in sexual and reproductive health care, as well advocacy. She advocates for the necessary reforms of youth friendly right-based drug policy and to promote and works to defend the rights of young people and FIDUs at the local, district and national level.

Timeline

2016

Youth RISE new brand and strategy is developed in order to reach out more grass-root communities.

2015

Youth RISE gains UNODC consultancy status for developing Youth Friendly Harm Reduction toolkits and actively involved young people who use drugs voices for UNGASS 2016 through advocacy workshops and campaigns. Here you can have a link for UN on Drugs page

2014

Youth RISE launches its new website and online drug policy courses for young people in collaboration with International Drug Policy Consortium

2013

Youth RISE continues its collaboration with different UN and Civil Society members to bring out voices of young people and key affected opulation. Youth RISE deliver extensive peer education trainings, capacity building activities and youth drug policy work in 4 countries, Portugal, Mexico, Nigeria and Kyrgyzstan under EU funding project.

2012

Youth RISE co organises the pre conference to the Bi-annual International AIDS conference in Washington DC and launches Youth RISE Nigeria to improve advocacy and program activities in West Africa

2011

Youth RISE joins the UNAIDS Inter Agency Task Team on young people, contributing as experts on young people who use, supported and created two youth-led organization on drug use and harm reduction in Middle East (S.I.B.A) and Kyrgyzstan (Ganesha).

2010

Launched our comprehensive peer education guide for HIV prevention, drug use and sexual health for young people.

2009

Launch of the global “RISE UP for HIV prevention” project, funded by MTV Staying Alive Foundation to develop peer education based harm reduction workshops for young people around the world

2008

The network is developed and grows to 200 members in 60 countries, and our our first International Working Group is formed.

2007

Youth RISE is founded as a group of volunteer activists

Supported by grant from Robert Carr Network Fund