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CHAPTER 1

FOREWORD By Elsemieke de Jong

‘N

ever before have there been so many young people’.

ambition to be a connector by bringing youth from around the

According to the UNFPA State of the World Report, our

globe together to build strong youth-led initiatives. During the

world today is home to 1.8 billion people between the ages of

CPD for example, CHOICE, for the first time, brought its youth

10 and 24, the majority of which live in developing countries.

partners to New York where we advocated for the SRHR of

The report makes an important case: to invest in the Sexual and

young people together.

Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of young people is not solely meeting their needs, but is imperative for sustainable

The year 2014 was also an important year for CHOICE as an

development! Matters such as unwanted pregnancies and early

organization. We started an internal trajectory, as a result of our

and forced marriages limit young people from living up to their

recent growth, to evaluate procedures and efficiency within our

potential. They also prevent us from contributing optimally to

organization. We started our quest for our own office, which we

our societies, which harms our countries’ development.

eventually found in Amsterdam at the Keizersgracht. Being a youth-led organization also (unfortunately) means dealing with

Unfortunately, today we witness that young people often still do

a high turn-over. In 2014 we said goodbye to 3 staff members

not have the freedom to make their own personal and informed

who had been with CHOICE for several years and we welcomed

choices when it comes to sex and their sexuality. CHOICE’s ef-

a total of four new staff members. Our staff team also grew

forts to give young people a voice to claim their rights therefore

considerably: from 3.22 to 5.50 FTE! Also various of our youth

remained crucial in 2014. So how did we do this?

advocates spread their wings and left CHOICE to travel, study abroad or found jobs. Thankfully we always find new, ambitious

We enabled youth-led organizations in Africa and Asia to

advocates to take over the work! Some of these ‘CHOICErs’ are

increase their capacity to lobby for the SRHR of young people

put in the spotlight in this report.

globally. In order to show the impact of CHOICE’s and our partner’s work, we have included ‘Significant Change Stories’. With

I am proud of the results of our work and how CHOICE as an or-

these stories we want to show results from our programs and

ganization continues to grow and develop. We acknowledge our

try to give you a glimpse how these programs actually affect

strengths, we have clear ambitions, but at the same time we

and change the lives of young people. We are proud that we

also recognize the realities of being a youth-led organization.

were able to expand our work with funding from the Child MarTogether we are ready for 2015!

riage Call by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We started a new partnership with Plan Netherlands to battle child marriage in Zambia and Mozambique and continued our work to end child marriage in Malawi. At the international level, CHOICE’s advocacy efforts focused on strategizing, together with our partners, how we want the new international development framework to look like. Finally, CHOICE worked hard to strengthen our 5

CHOICE Annual Report 2014  
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