FOREWORD By Elsemieke de Jong
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