25 years of dsw

Twenty-five years ago, the founders of DSW set out with a plan. That plan was to create an organisation with the goal of enabling people to decide freely and responsibly about the number and spacing of their children. They believed that a person’s access to sexual and reproductive health is both a fundamental human right and a crucial step towards eliminating global poverty. By securing the sexual and reproductive health and rights for future generations, we would be giving millions of young people the opportunity to take control of their lives and futures. Twenty-five years later, as DSW celebrates a landmark birthday, this remains our core mission: a healthy and sustainable world in which all young people can realise their full potential.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

In thinking about this special introduction for DSW’s Silver Anniversary, my mind began to reflect on the incredible successes and many accomplishments that we have aachieved over the past 25 years. I also began to think about something else. A key attribute that has contributed to our achievements and that continues to flow in abundance through the team – our spirit! In all my time at DSW, I have never witnessed this spirit falter or weaken, even in the face of insurmountable odds.

Today, that spirit is as strong as ever. We continue to push boundaries and firmly believe that change, real change, is not only possible but obtainable. Since 1991, we have carried this message through many profound developments and major achievements – for us and for the global development community. We have been witness to, and a participant in, transformative agendas, such as the International Conference on Population and Development, the staggering successes of the Millennium Development Goals, and now the international efforts to secure the FP 2020 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Since 1991, we have expanded our activities from Germany to the worldwide stage to build networks, long lasting partnerships, and offices at the EU level and in east Africa. These relationships ensure that we will continue to push at all levels in our pursuit towards achieving better health outcomes and financing for the world’s most neglected populations.

DSW is committed to positive change, positive action, and a better future for all. Your support for DSW ensures that we can continue this work for another 25 years. Let’s make the future ours today!

Renate Baehr, Executive Director, DSW

Three questions to renate

The trigger was a newspaper article written about the state of the world population and the consequences this would have should it continue to increase. The urgency of this issue, and the fact that no organisation in Germany was, at the time, focusing on the human right to family planning, urged our founder Erhard Schreiber to change that. In 1991, he teamed up with Dirk Rossmann and founded DSW.
DSW will continue to be a youth-focused organisation and we are proud to be working alongside the largest youth generation in history, the generation which will become the leaders, teachers, and parents of tomorrow. With over half the world’s population under 25 years of age and with 70 per cent living in low- and middle-income countries, now is the time to help these young people focus and realise their untapped potential!
Over the past year, we have been busy developing a new strategy that will guide our work in the coming years. While previously the focus of our work included other target groups, we are now narrowing our focus on strengthening youth potential. Why? Because they are the key to our future! As stated in the 2030-Agenda for Sustainable Development, ‘The future of humanity and of our planet lies […] in the hands of today’s younger generation who will pass the torch to future generations […]”.However, this can only be achieved if young people are healthy and empowered to make informed decisions and to exercise their rights. With special emphasis on SDG’s three (Health) and five (Gender Equality) which explicitly take up these issues, DSW will push for the implementation of the 2030-Agenda in the coming years. This focus is reflected best in our new logo: “Youth can”! Via our work in Germany, Brussels, and in east Africa, we will continue to break down barriers for young people to ensure a brighter tomorrow.

25 years, 25 faces, 25 Wishes

My Wish Is...

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Anna

"I wish that people around the world come together around the SDGs to improve health, realize gender equality and human rights for all."


Brussels

My Wish Is...

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Cecile

"Everyone from the current and future generations exert freely their rights, wherever they are."


Brussels

My Wish Is...

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Lisa

"I wish that no woman or adolescent girl in the world would have to worry about access to contraception anymore."


Brussels

My Wish Is...

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Esayas

I envisage of DSW becoming a key global actor spreading its reaches over 25 more countries"


Ethiopia

My Wish Is...

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Fekadu

"DSW has existed 25 great years for the empowerment of young people and it is my wish that DSW will stay put on course to continue empowering youth in the future. Happy Anniversary!"


Ethiopia

My Wish Is...

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Feyera

"I strongly wish DSW to continue carrying its youth empowerment efforts into the future."


Ethiopia

My Wish Is...

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Meskerem

"I see DSW as an everlasting 25 years old leafy tree. I wish that the more DSW will rise up and grow more branches, the more it will sink its roots to be more stable in the future than ever."


Ethiopia

My Wish Is...

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Nigus

"I wish of DSW to become of the leading CSOs in the world for being an enabler of disadvantaged youth, particularly women to realize their potential. "


Ethiopia

My Wish Is...

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Tirsit

"I would like to see DSW being more focused on gender issue in the future."


Ethiopia

My Wish Is...

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Irina

"My wish is that we will expand our successful approaches in terms of scale as well as reach and intensify activities in West Africa. "


Germany

My Wish Is...

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Cecily

"My dream for DSW is that we get enough financial muscle to reach underserved communities in all the 47 counties in Kenya."


Kenya

My Wish Is...

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Imali

"Working in DSW is awesome, it gives me the opportunity to literally change the sphere of gender equity and women empowerment!"


Kenya

My Wish Is...

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Julius

My hope and dreams about DSW? That DSW continues to grow in future and as it grows, that it may change more people’s life by empowering them in different ways."


Kenya

My Wish Is...

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Diana

“Let’s fosters meaningful and inclusive participation of young people in decision making process in health and development”


Tanzania

My Wish Is...

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Easter

““My wish for DSW is to see the organization expand to reach millions of young people in the world””


Tanzania

My Wish Is...

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Fadhili

"DSW to be a leading NGO in addressing issues related to young generation SRHR"


Tanzania

My Wish Is...

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Goodluck

"DSW expansion to reach most vulnerable youth in Tanzania with SRHR education along with livelihood skills, especial entrepreneurship"


Tanzania

My Wish Is...

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Monica

"We diversify our resource mobilization strategies for increased reserved fund for sustainability”


Tanzania

My Wish Is...

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Peter

"Youth leaders to spearhead and translate SDGs into action”


Tanzania

My Wish Is...

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Herbert

“I wish DSW becomes a worldwide international organisation”


Uganda

My Wish Is...

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Moses

“I wish DSW peace and longevity”


Uganda

My Wish Is...

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Flavia

“I wish the BEST for DSW”


Uganda

My Wish Is...

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Grace

“I wish for longevity and fresh ideas that will enable us continue making a positive impact in society”


Uganda

My Wish Is...

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Maureen

“I wish DSW endless years of existence and excellent service to Young People”


Uganda

My Wish Is...

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Sarah

“I wish for prosperity and growth for both DSW and its staff”



Uganda

Mission, Vision, & Where we work

Vision

DSW’s vision is for a healthy and sustainable world in which all young people can realise their full potential.

Mission

To unleash this potential, DSW empowers young people, promotes an enabling environment, and fosters meaningful and inclusive participation.

Values

In working closely with young people as well as our partners and donors, we are committed to these COREVALUES

  • Mutual Trust & Respect
  • Partnership & Teamwork
  • Transparency
  • Where we work!

    For twenty-five years, DSW has sought to ensure that family planning is recognised as a human right. Young people form the focus of this work. They are not only the parents of tomorrow but also the key for the future development of their countries – investing in their health means investing in a better future. To advance this cause, DSW works tirelessly from each of its seven officesworldwide (Brussels, Hannover, Berlin, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, & Tanzania), by promoting advocacy dialogue and raising awareness of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues, and on the linkages between sustainable development, poverty, health, environmental protection, and demographic trends. In addition, DSW monitors and influences political decision-making in areas relating to SRHR.

    Our offices in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

    Ethiopia

    Kenya

    Tanzania

    Uganda

    New logo, New Branding…New Beginning!

    This anniversary is not just about reflecting on past achievements, it is also about looking forward. To celebrate a new beginning for DSW, we have created a new brand that best reflects our innovative and forward thinking personality. Our slogan “Youth Can” is direct and uncompromising – there is no time for doubt, not when the potential is so great. Just like our slogan, we CAN and will create a better future.

    Learn more about the process here!

    Our Focus

    ACTIVATING YOUTH
    POTENTIAL

    Empowering Young People Is The Key To A Successful Future

    ADVOCATING FOR A BETTER WORLD

    making sure that health remains a development priority

    investing in
    global health

    when women and girls win, we all win

    WOMEN AND GIRLS EMPOWERMENT

    working to eradicate HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030

    DSW’S Youth-to-Youth (Y2Y) Initiative in East Africa

    DSW’s Youth-to-Youth Initiative (Y2Y) has been established to address the needs of young people (10-24) in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. To achieve this, DSW works in close cooperation with young people to improve their knowledge of their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and offers training and counselling on club management, leadership, and entrepreneurship to provide them with the skills and power to lead a self-determined future.

    A snapshot of our successes in 2015:

    • Connector.

      Over 213,000 youth and community members reached via our youth clubs through integrated outreach activities on issues relating to SRHR, HIV & AIDS, and gender violence.

    • Connector.

      DSW has distributed more than two million condoms to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

    • Connector.

      Registered 12 NEW Y2Y clubs.

    • Connector.

      Trained over a 100 young people on entrepreneurship skills which led to the creation of 113 local income generating activities.

    • Connector.

      Increased female leadership of clubs to over 47 percent.

    • Connector.

      Enabled the establishment of 23 political dialogue forums at local and national levels to address ongoing issues relating to the provision of youth friendly health services, youth leadership, and youth unemployment.

    HIGHLIGHTS OVER THE YEARS

    Speaking to the heart of a legislator in Uganda

    A colleague at work recently made a joke and said to me, “Mona, if I needed a salesman, I would call you to do the job”. Of course we laughed about it, and it seemed flattery, yet I could vividly recall the first time I convened 200 members of parliament in a room to talk to them about the reality of the sexual health of young people in my country Uganda.

    This was almost 10 years ago.

    I had been informed of the challenges to convince members of parliament to attend civil society meetings, and to make them stay for even an hour with their undivided attention. This seemed somewhat of a huge task to accomplish, yet here we were, me with a limited advocacy experience on the topic of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), having to address political figures, many of whom I had zero contact with. What to tell them?

    Fortunately, the Guttmacher Institute in that same year had just published a study about young people in Uganda, titled “The Next Generation”. This study, focused on important topics ranging from teenage pregnancies rates and abortion, to the need for sexual and reproductive health services and demands, to contraceptives use and gaps, and the general lack of knowledge on SRHR among young people in both urban and rural communities in Uganda.

    The Guttmacher study had guided my meeting with parliamentarians and I successfully built a case that became the foundation of a FIVE hour discussion. This was later known as one of the many honest conversations about young people.

    At the time, it did not matter if it was a member of parliament, or an officer of the Government at this meeting, in the room. What mattered was finding ways to ensure that young people in Uganda remain healthy and safe.

    Several years later, I received a call from an honourable member of parliament, Sylvia Namabidde. She had convened a meeting to petition her fellow legislators to vote for the approval of a Government loan from the World Bank but only if the Government was willing to use some of the funds to procure contraceptives and to train health workers for improved service delivery. I saw a true champion.

    Another champion, the honourable Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Right Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, continues to inspire hundreds of fellow legislators that young people deserve to have health lives. She continues to advocate to the Uganda Government to invest in the young generation, to ensure their well being. She stands firm on the belief in zero tolerance to violence against the girl child and women in Uganda and the world. In her words and commitment, she is always willing to give time to our cause, to represent our SRHR issues in parliament and beyond and to provide space for civil society to participate in free debate and to share knowledge.

    DSW to me is a home away from my family, a place where I have for the 10 years learnt a lot, and lived the life as an advocate for young people. I have built good and honest relations with all stakeholders. I am confident that legislators in parliament will continue to support our work, because just like me, they too are parents, and like me, they want to see their daughters living in safe communities, getting better reproductive health services, graduating after school, and growing up to be beautiful intelligent and independent strong young women and men.

    They, like any other parent, want to see success in the lives of their children. This is how we tap onto their compassion; we simply speak to their hearts that every life of a young person in Uganda matters.

    Mona Herbert is the Country Director of DSW in Uganda since 2013.

    Improving the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Young Adolescents

    “Before the project, many girls used not to perform well in class, they would not attend classes when in their menstrual period, but with the project introduction of giving sanitary pads, the construction of the girls changing room and training of peer educators, girls no longer absent themselves, perform even better than boys and they have registered no school drop-out”

    Susan Babiiha is the Head teacher for Walyoba primary school. The school has over 400 young adolescents and only 15 teachers.

    “The schools have registered reduced school dropout rates, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, and many other forms of sexual harassment compared to the schools where the project has not reached. Parents have a positive attitude towards their children education and are now responding to their duties and responsibilities. Teachers have been equipped with friendly methods of passing on information to adolescents through the teachers trainings conducted during the project.”

    Mr. Aroda J. Robinson is the Tororo District Inspector of Schools. As the head of the District Inspectorate, he works with four other inspectors. The District has over 249 primary schools.

    Our Finances in 2015

    DSW is supervised by the state supervisory authority for foundations. We produce our annual financial statements voluntarily in accordance with the requirements of the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch, HGB) and have them reviewed by independent auditors. Statutory requirements for the supervision of foundations include an annual audit of the financial conduct of the foundation, with particular attention to the use of funds and the foundation’s activities.

    Development Projects – By Region

    Financial Report 2015

    Thank you

    Your donation counts!

    Your support over the past 25 years has enabled us to reach and empower millions of young people living in the world’s poorest countries. You have given them a better chance in life and the power to fulfil their destinies. Without your continued confidence in our work, none of our successes would have been possible. For this you have our sincere heartfelt gratitude.

    Together, we can do anything!

    Our heartfelt thanks!

    And now, a word from our donors…

    Thomas Schröder, Wertgarantie.
    “Family planning and healthcare are still the best way to design a future for generationsto come.”

    Karin and Werner Schneider
    “For 20 years now we have supported the important work of the DSW in Africa. Our participation on three project trips have convinced us of the efficiency of their work.”

    Anne Osenbrück
    “Even after 25 years, the tireless commitment of DSW plays a vital role in enabling people create new prospects and a chance for a self-determined future.”

    A SPECIAL MESSAGE

    From UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, on the occasion of DSW’s 25th anniversary.

    “DSW is an invaluable partner to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and an advocate for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of millions of women and young people around the world.

    DSW has played a central role in mobilizing political and financial support to advance the agenda set forth in the landmark Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.

    I congratulate DSW for its many successes in expanding access to information and services that enable individuals to decide whether and when to become pregnant and thus to exercise a fundamental human right.

    UNFPA welcomes DSW’s continued contribution towards a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”