Leitner Human Rights Speaker Series: Challenges to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for Youth and Adolescents

Join the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice and Human Rights Advocates Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University for, “Challenges to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for Youth and Adolescents.” The discussion will take a look at challenges related to law and to the access for sexual and reproductive health services as well as the Age of Consent as a legal and policy barrier to Adolescent and Young people’s sexual and reproductive health rights.

November 11, 2020 12:30PM - 1:30 PM

Location: Online

Register here:


Speakers Bios
Ekanaem Itoro Effong
Programs Officer, Advocacy and Policy Influencing
Education as a Vaccine
As a Programs Officer in Advocacy and Policy Influencing at Education as a Vaccine, Ekanem has managed and implemented advocacy and high-impact and evidence-based programs around sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV/AIDS preventions, and malaria and TB interventions.
He has influenced policies and laws that facilitate and sustain social change in the areas of health, protection, and education geared towards achieving the SDGs. He developed a scorecard to monitor the implementation of the SDGs across 11 states of Nigeria, which young people rely on as evidence for their advocacy. Previously, he worked for the National Agency for the Control of AIDS on the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis in HIV patients in Nigeria. He was involved in the collection of data on key selected parameters on HIV and TB from selected facilities across the country; the findings showed huge disparities in access to prompt diagnosis of treatment for HIV and TB. Currently, he is the UNAIDS Youth Leader for West and Central Africa and the Global Advocacy working group assistant lead for The PACT, a coalition of youth-led and youth serving organizations working within the sexual and reproductive health and HIV movement.
Ekanem holds a bachelor of science in biochemistry from the University of Calabar (Nigeria). He earned certificates in Leadership and Management in Global Health and Project Management in Global Health from the University of Washington. He attended a short course on Improving the Health of Women, Children, and Adolescents: From Evidence to Action at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Ruben Avila Reyna
Mexico Country Coordinator
International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Ruben is the Mexico Country Coordinator for the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP), a global network of youth committed to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). IYAFP was founded in 2013 at the International Conference on Family Planning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ruben works to open spaces for youth and adolescents in Mexico to discuss SRHR and to advocate for changes to the laws and policies that affect their sexual and reproductive life, especially for young women and LGBTQI youth. Ruben and his colleagues are aligning IYAFP-Mexico’s objectives to international agendas like Agenda 2030, ICPD25 (International Conference on Population and Development), and Beijing+25 (Beijing Platform for Action) to identify specific points and actions for the
Government of Mexico to take.
Ruben’s advocacy portfolio has also included the co-founding Universitarios por la Equidad y una Sociedad Integra e Incluyente (UNESII), a student group working on prevention of discrimination and bullying against LGBTIQ youth, and Sin Control Parental, a Spanish-language platform developing educational digital content related to SRHR for youth and adolescents. He has advocate for SRHR for young women and LGBTIQ youth as a speaker in local, regional, and international spaces; collaborated as a regional focal point to WHO on adolescent SRHR in Latin America and the Caribbean; created and led a program to train youth counsellors on SRHR in Mexico; and participated as young leader for the SheDecides global movement.
Ruben earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. With a scholarship from the Institut de Drets Humans de Catalunya and the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, Ruben participated in a short course entitled Human Rights in the Face of Extremism and Discrimination in 2018.