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YOUTH/FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION (FLE)

The Federation first introduced Family Life Education (FLE) in the country in the 1970s and since then the topic has been institutionalised as an on-going programme for youth especially after the publication of the first FLE Manual on responsible living/healthy lifestyles and behaviours in 1985. Our successes had provided the incentive for many other agencies to adopt similar programme to promote youth development and youth issues to tackle social ills associated with young people.

The fast pace of economic development of the 1980s and 1990s later prompted the FFPAM to develop a new manual for youth. Through a 3-year project. funded by the United Nations Funds for Population Activities (UNFPA), the FFPAM Reproductive Health of Adolescents Module (RHAM) was published and officially launched in 2000. Since then, multi-level approaches were used to promote its usage and as a source for income-generation

RHAM, A Training Tool

Since its publication, the FFPAM RHAM has been widely disseminated and accepted as a training tool for youth education. In the country, the State FPAs made active use of the Module to impart information on adolescents' reproductive health at youth workshops/camps and other skills-building workshops.

We have also started to make some head-way promoting the use of RHAM in schools through sponsorships of the RHAM for selected schools by private companies and distinguished individuals following state/technical visits by key volunteers and staff of the Federation. Dialogues and discussions had taken place with relevant officials of the Ministry of Education, to have the RHAM incorporated in the school curriculum as a topic on Family Health Education.

Through the Inter-Regional Technical Assistance Partnership Programme promoted by the IPPF, between April and June this year, the FFPAM team comprising of (youths) volunteers and staff provided a 2-way technical assistance to the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ). The team assisted the PPAZ to re-adapt the RHAM so that it could be used as a training manual for their educators and trainers in their own setting.

Following an earlier technical assistance visit by the FFPAM staff to the Myamar Maternal and Child Welfare Association (MMCWA), the Association had the RHAM translated into the Myamarese language as a trainer’s guide. Preparatory work has taken to translate the Training Manual into Bahasa Malaysia, to be produced as a Dwi-Bahasa version a recommendation of the Ministry of Education.

Service Model Clinic for Youth

As an extension of the UNFPA-funded project, a Service Model Clinic for youth was established at three State FPAs (Sabah, Selangor/Federal Territory and Terengganu) to provide services and information on adolescent reproductive health. To promote greater youth involvement/participation in our programmes, the youth were given an active role in the design, planning and management of youth-related activities including the sharing of information with other youth and young people through the internet/youth web sites. New strategies have been put in place to "convert" such models into youth-friendly clinics to attract more youth to come forward either as volunteers and/or service-users.

Youth and Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)

Apart from encouraging more youth and young people to communicate via the Internet as mentioned earlier, the Federation, in partnership with a local IT company has also laid the necessary groundwork to put on the Internet topics on adolescent sexual and reproductive health via the e-RHAM Project. Initially, the Project will involve the Secretariat working in collaboration with Perak FPA, and is expected to take-off next year depending on the availability of funds from the government through a special IT Fund managed by the National Information and Technology Council, a national organization entrusted to promote the use of ICT in the country.

The above initiatives were implemented with the belief that IT is not only a modern tool for learning and communication amongst the young people but is becoming an essential tool for everyone, whether young or old, rich or poor, especially in these days and age where IT touches almost every aspect of our lives.

International Exposure for Youth

The election of Ms Lee Yoke Lee, a youth volunteer from Negeri Sembilan FPA as the IPPF-ESEAO Regional Youth Representative for a 2-year term (2001/2003) is looked upon as our success story as our programme has the ability to prepare youth to assume leadership role at the international arena. With this in mind, opportunities were also given to other State FPAs’ youth members and youth volunteers to participate at youth meetings such as the Asia Pacific Conference of Reproductive Health in Manila, IPPF Youth Forum 2001, IPPF Inter-Regional Working Group on Men as Partners for Gender Equity in New York and the JOICFP Regional Workshop on ASRH in Tokyo.

Youth and HIV/AIDS

With funds from the Ministry of Health and Levi Strauss through the Malaysian AIDS Council/Malaysian AIDS Foundation, a youth forum/workshop entitled: The Next Agenda: Youth Empowerment @ FFPAM Youth Forum 2001 was carried out at a resort-style setting outside Kuala Lumpur. The activity gave the youths from the 13 State FPAs and selected organizations, a platform to discuss/express views on HIV/AIDS including the charting of future directions/strategies to tackle the HIV/AIDS menace. To sensitize the media, young journalists/reporters from several print media came as participants and following that our work on HIV/AIDS was highlighted to generate greater public interest and awareness on the subject.

Skills-building and Other Educational Activities

On-going IEC activities such as talks, workshops and youth camps were organized by all the thirteen State FPAs to reinforce our educational programme, providing youth with accurate and up-to-date information on adolescents reproductive health and other youth-related issues. For easy reference and understanding, relevant IEC pamphlets and leaflets were included as training materials.

In addition, many State FPAs have incorporated in their training programme, different types of skills-building courses to prepare the youth to assume a more visible role as future leaders and responsible citizens of the country. To sustain the programme, efforts were directed at these youth to contribute back to the organization as youth volunteers and/or resource personnel.

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