GYCA is a youth-led global network of over 8,542 young leaders and adult allies working on youth and HIV/AIDS in over 170 countries world-wide. GYCA's mission is to empower young leaders with the skills, knowledge, resources and opportunities they need to scale up HIV/AIDS interventions amongst their peers.
GYCA is a program of the Public Health Institute, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
GYCA seeks to improve HIV and AIDS policies and programming geared toward young people by facilitating the inclusion of skilled young leaders in decision-making that affects our lives. For example, GYCA has coordinated the inclusion of young leaders on government delegations through which they have addressed the UN General Assembly and dialogued directly with Ministers of Health and Education. GYCA has secured prominent advocacy opportunities for powerful young leaders affected and infected with HIV, such as the opening ceremony and plenary sessions at International AIDS Conferences. GYCA also connects young people to positions in their countries from which they can affect great change, such as employment with National AIDS Control Organizations, heading NGOs and designing effective prevention and outreach programs.
GYCA decision-makers include youth living with HIV/AIDS, and the Coalition is committed to working with and for marginalized youth such as injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, sex workers, youth in resource-constrained areas without access to information communication technology (ICT), and others, and aims to create meaningful youth-adult partnerships.
GYCA advocates for a human rights-based approach to HIV/AIDS interventions that includes full and accurate information, education and services including condoms and needle exchange. Because most young people are infected with HIV through sexual intercourse, GYCA reaffirms that sexual and reproductive health and rights must be integrated with HIV/AIDS interventions to succeed.
GYCA's work is focused in three main areas: Capacity-building and technical assistance; Networking and sharing of best practices; and Political Advocacy.
GYCA members have regular access to training opportunities, internships, jobs, volunteer positions, grants, and scholarships, allowing them to reach their highest potential as change-makers. GYCA offers free month-long e-courses in Project Management, Political Advocacy, and Grant Proposal Writing & Fundraising to help young people more effectively conduct their HIV/AIDS work on the ground. After graduating, e-course graduates can apply for a grant to implement their projects. Graduates receive technical assistance from GYCA staff and local members to implement their final project plan, and are linked to local members and allies in their own countries and communities. GYCA offers international, regional, and local trainings, e-groups, and speaking and publicity opportunities at prominent international events such as the bi-annual International AIDS Conferences during which GYCA is a lead organizer of the YouthForce program.
International public health events are crucial opportunities for training, networking, fundraising, showcasing successful work, and for advocating to high level decision-makers to take action on HIV/AIDS interventions for and with youth. GYCA provides capacity-building workshops for youth before major events to train youth participants on advocacy, media outreach, technical aspects of the AIDS epidemic, and other topics. GYCA members are frequently selected to speak on panels, plenary sessions, and to give presentations. GYCA also offers a special e-course on preparing conference abstracts and securing scholarships before major international conferences.
GYCA maps youth-focused HIV/AIDS initiatives and leaders through an online Global Directory. The Directory links young leaders together to collaborate for change. It is frequently used by governments, United Nations agencies, and NGOs to identify local partners, to pool resources, and to reduce the duplication of efforts. GYCA's online social networking platform, TakingITGlobal, has helped hundreds of thousands of young people to turn their ideas and ideals into collaborative action.
GYCA provides spaces for members to work directly with their governments and the United Nations to create and influence HIV and AIDS national and international policy and programs that affect young people. GYCA works to measure progress and hold governments accountable to international declarations and national commitments to reduce HIV infections among youth, and to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health information and services including comprehensive sex education, condoms, HIV testing, and youth-friendly health clinics.