World Assembly of Youth (WAY): The world consists of a population of over 7 billion. Where, 16 million of this population is girls under the age of 18 who give birth each year, whereas 3.2 opt to undergo unsafe terminations of their pregnancies. This goes on to show just how severe the situation of adolescent pregnancy is worldwide, especially in developing countries where numbers seem to be higher than those of developed countries.
A large population has often been linked with good economic growth, the larger the population, the better the economy. However, quantity does not always win over quality because with the number of young girls giving birth, quantity is now a cause of concern. Reasons for adolescent pregnancies may vary from child marriages, rape, and lack of education on safe sex to sexual coercion. Many of these young people are introduced to sexual intercourse at an age where they are oblivious to what they are doing and do not know how to protect themselves, not only from pregnancy but sexual transmitted diseases as well.
In accordance with World Population Day themed "Halt to Unsafe Adolescent Pregnancy", the World Assembly of Youth (WAY) has taken up various measures to address this issue and other related issues. The safety of these young girls is our first priority. Regardless of the situation these young people are in, we believe that if they get enough education about sexual intercourse and reproductive health, a lot of them will be saved from adolescent pregnancies. This education should not end with just the children, parents as caretakers must learn the dangers their children may encounter if they fall pregnant at such a young age, that way they will be able to protect them against child marriages and other social ills that may contribute to adolescent pregnancies. We whole heartedly are against the violations of girls and young women rights which are great contributors to various cruel treatments against women.
We have taken a step further by addressing the issue of adolescent pregnancy under goal 4; Gender Equality and Women Empowerment and goal 9; Improving Maternal Health in our Millennium Plan of Action 3 (MPAC 3). In line with that, we have conducted several programs and produced various publications to raise awareness to all stakeholders towards minimizing the risk of unsafe motherhood. For instance, we published a press release to commemorate the International Women's Day that was themed 'Call to End Gender Based Violence', as gender based violence is one of the key factors of adolescent pregnancies.
WAY has also conducted several international events like the annual Melaka International Youth Dialogue (MIYD) to bring awareness to the youth about their rights as citizens of the universe. Our 12 th MIYD 'Health, It is My Right!' aimed at maximizing the equal access of public services, health-care to be precise. One of our aims was to raise awareness on the current situation of youth health with anticipated behavior adaptation and consequently admission to decision making among the youth.
We reiterate our support towards education to young women and girls as the major preventive tool of the issues related to unsafe adolescent-pregnancy.
Happy World Population Day and let us protect our children and young women from early unprotected sexual activities and say NO to unsafe adolescent pregnancies.