- Eva Marisol BurgosEva Burgos has served as the General Coordinator for GOJoven Belize and the Country Representative for the Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven), where she was a Fellow in 2004. She is a graduate from the University of Belize with honors as a Practical Nurse. As a grad...
On International Women’s Day, GOJoven is thrilled to be on our way to New York to be part of the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)! CSW58 brings together member states, UN entities, and NGOs to discuss and address the challenges and achievements related to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls.
The eight MDGs, below, form a blueprint for how the world’s governments and largest development organizations can meet the needs of the world’s most marginalized people.
GOJoven is committed to helping achieve the MDGs with specific emphasis on achieving MDGs 3, 5, and 6. Millions of adolescents across Mexico and Central America continue to face gender-based violence, high risks of early pregnancy, and STI/HIV infection.
The GOJoven Youth Leadership training model promotes gender equality, family planning and HIV prevention by building the capacity of young leaders and organizations to create positive change in Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) programs, policies and services in Mexico and Central America.
GOJoven promotes and facilitates the empowerment of young women from Mestizo, Mayan, Garifuna and Creole cultures across Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. Following participation in the GOJoven program, fellows like Ivonne from Honduras have gone on to open youth friendly spaces and clinics to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of hundreds of adolescents and youth. Other fellows like Nekeisha from Belize have committed to helping educate young women on their reproductive rights and how to protect themselves against early pregnancy.
We look forward to continuing our work to help achieve the MDGs and the opportunity to be part of the 58th Commission on the Status of Women. If you are in New York at CSW58 please join us at our panel presentation “Leading the Way: Youth-Centered Health Strategies in Action” with Let Girls Lead and Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA) that will be held on Friday, March 14th in the Boss Room on the 8th floor of the UN Church Center from 8:30am – 10:00am. We’ll be posting updates and photos from the event to our Facebook, so be sure to Like our page and follow along.
Radio has the power to disseminate information to even the remotest locales, making it an excellent medium for providing young people the information they need to understand and protect their sexual and reproductive health.
Just this month, fellows of GOJoven, in partnership with nonprofit organization Inspira Cambio, offered comprehensive training to more than a dozen local youth radio broadcasters, and members of an adolescent boys collective called JXiibal, in order to equip them with the basic skills they need to talk about and deal with issues related to sexual and reproductive health, HIV prevention, discrimination, and sexism.
The training was coordinated by GOJoven fellows Rodolfo Moo Chi of the Commission for the Development of Indigenous people, and Silvia Muñoz of Inspira Cambio. Carlos Can Estrella, also a fellow of GOJoven, trained participants on leadership, teamwork, and HIV prevention, and Nicté Chablé Berlin, of GOJoven, gave a training on sexist language in the media.
Following the trainings, attendees took a test to assess their ability to communicate, coordinate and lead. After they finished the test they had the opportunity to talk about what they had discovered through the workshops.
In addition to empowering attendees with important information regarding how they could protect their sexual and reproductive health, the training created a small network where participants will be able to exchange information and link with other organizations for future collaboration.
For more information on the work of GOJoven fellows to create positive change in Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) programs, policies, and services in Mexico and Central America through education and advocacy, subscribe to receive our monthly email updates and Like us on Facebook.
GOJoven Honduras Launches a Youth Training Initiative to Eradicate Poverty, Violence, and Discrimination
One of the eight priorities that make up the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development states that children and adolescents should be guaranteed the opportunity to live their lives free of poverty, violence and any form of discrimination. This is of particular importance to the newly formed GOJoven Honduras Association, recently awarded a grant by the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) to develop and implement a training to empower youth to disseminate information on the Montevideo Consensus and monitor its implementation.
The Montevideo Consensus, adopted in August of 2013 by representatives (including six GOJoven Alumni) from 38 member countries who make up the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), contains more than 120 measures concerning eight priority areas developed in follow-up to the Programme of Action of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994. The ICPD Programme of Action from 1994 endorsed a new strategy for addressing population growth and international development. The new strategy highlighted the links between population growth and human well-being (known as development) and focused on meeting the needs of individual men and women. Twenty years later, the international community is looking at what needs to be done post-2014 in order to continue this increasingly important work.
Now that the Montevideo Consensus has been adopted, and with ICPD post-2014 on the horizon, the participation of young people is critical to ensure that the priorities contained within are addressed and implemented in a way that takes into consideration the unique needs of children and adolescents. Only then, it is believed, will it be possible for children and adolescents to live free of poverty, violence and discrimination.
Based on their track record of successfully mobilizing youth and advocating on their behalf, GOJoven Honduras was recently selected by the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) to receive grant funding to develop and implement a training to empower youth to disseminate information on the Montevideo Consensus and monitor its implementation.
With this grant funding, GOJoven Honduras will train 15 fellows to better understand the elements included within the Consensus via virtual trainings, education materials, videos, and media briefings. These 15 youth, from different regions of Honduras, will act as leaders in their communities, tasked with disseminating important information to youth at the local level. GOJoven Honduras will also educate 25 NGOs and government organizations about the Montevideo Consensus and the next steps in the ICPD process in 2014.
Armed with information and ways to get involved, Honduran youth will be better equipped to ensure that their unique needs and challenges are incorporated into the implementation of policies and programs that aim to eradicate poverty, violence and discrimination.
To receive updates on the work of GOJoven Honduras related to the Montevideo Consensus, sign up for our newsletter below. To make a financial contribution to support the work of GOJoven Honduras, click here.
Fellows from GOJoven Mexico were among 700 youth who participated in the public launch of the network for sexual and reproductive health for young people in Quintana Roo. The launch coincided with the kickoff of the National Week of Adolescent Health.
“The network is intended to strengthen institutional strategies and programs in cooperation with civil society organizations and contribute to an increase in the supply of services for youth,” said Sandybel Robaldino, National Coordinator for GOJoven Mexico.
The launch event, promoted by the System for Integral Family Development, the Ministry of Health and the city of Benito Juarez, offered youth educational resources around health and well-being via 12 different booths, including one organized by GOJoven Mexico.
According to Robaldino, “The event was important to help strengthen the preventative and comprehensive sexual education resources available to youth, enabling them to make responsible and informed decisions about their sexual health.”
There are currently 20 million youth between 15 and 24 years old living in Mexico. Both the event and the network were born of the knowledge that youth make up a huge proportion of the population in Mexico and Central America and their health and well-being need to be at the forefront of plans for the future.
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In December, I had the opportunity to travel to Trinidad and Tobago together with Stephen Diaz of the GOJoven Belize Alumni Association and Amber Pitts of the Department of Youth Service to participate in the High Level Consultation to reduce adolescent pregnancy in the Caribbean Region. All of my expenses were covered by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The meeting was attended by 10 Ministers of Governments from across our region, other government officials, representatives from civil society, the private sector, youth organizations like GOJoven, the United Nations and other international development partners.
On our first day, we were briefed on what would be covered at the consultation and how we would participate. At that meeting Amber and I agreed to share our individual stories as to how adolescent pregnancy had impacted our lives personally. Amber shared her story from the perspective of being a mother in her adolescent years and I shared my story as being the child of an adolescent mother. It was a unique moment for me because young men rarely have the opportunity to share how they too can be affected by an adolescent pregnancy. What I hoped to convey as a young man is how men are also involved in the problem of adolescent pregnancy. This also means they are part of the solution to reduce and eventually end adolescent pregnancy in our region.
Also during the first day, we had the opportunity to view and comment on the regional framework to reduce adolescent pregnancy drafted by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). We saw a lot of it that we weren’t in agreement with and worked all afternoon rectifying “errors” and inserting proposed ideas to the draft. It was a success, and at the end we turned in the revised draft in to the organizers. Dr Babatunde, Executive Director for UNFPA said he was glad for our effort.
On the second day, youth in our region had the opportunity to have a discussion and share our ideas with Dr. Babatunde. One of the ideas we proposed was the creation of a Youth Task Force to help with the implementation of the Integrated Framework to Reduce Adolescent Pregnancy in the Caribbean. Dr. Babatunde was supportive of this idea.
After spending the rest of that day working on the draft Integrated Framework to Reduce Adolescent Pregnancy, we attended a reception where we were entertained by two violinists.
At the reception, I spoke with the Honourable Herman Longsworth, Minister of Youth and Sports of Belize, about a possible follow-up to the consultation. He agreed that he would support activities we’d like to make as follow up to the consultation.
All-in-all the mission was rather productive and successful! I am looking forward to the follow-up meeting scheduled for the end of the month in Belmopan City, Belize. Thank you UNFPA/UNDP for the opportunity to participate. I am sure that smart investment in sex education and access to sexual and reproductive health services for young women in the Caribbean can bring about a big change, not only for the development of women in the region, but for society in general.
Starting in January 2014, GOJoven Honduras and local youth association AJEM will partner to reduce the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) among youth who have sex with same-sex partners, including transexual, transgender, transvestite and bisexual.
This yearlong initiative, funded by USAID through the Secretary of Public Health in Honduras, will offer both education and resources, including training, counseling and testing, to youth in the coastal region of Atlantida and the urban core of capital city Tegucigalpa.
During the next year, GOJoven Honduras and AJEM will train and mobilize 800 youth to act as leaders in the fight to reduce the transmission of HIV and STIs. Once trained, these 800 leaders will be responsible for informing 1600 more youth on how to prevent the spread of HIV and STIs.
Of the initial 800 to receive training, 40 will be selected to develop and participate in 40 events throughout 2014. More than 5,000 youth seeking information and resources are expected to attend. At these events, GOJoven and AJEM expect to offer 1,000 youth HIV/STI testing and distribute more than 50,000 condoms.
Honduras has the second highest rate of HIV infections in Central America. The areas of Atlantida and Tegucigalpa were selected as focus areas for HIV Prevention work based on high incidences of infection and lack of information and resources specifically targeting youth who have sex with same-sex partners, including transexual, transgender, transvestite and bisexual.
If you would like to support GOJoven Honduras in their work to deliver HIV Prevention education and resources to youth in Tegucigalpa and Atlantida, you can make a contribution here.
The two-day meeting brought together close to 20 fellows of the GOJoven program in Guatemala from communities across the country to plan for the future. Across the two days, fellows worked together to determine the organizational structure and review the priorities and activities for GOJoven Guatemala in 2014. The group also officially announced the organization’s leadership for next year.
The following fellows will lead GOJoven Guatemala into the future: Dennis Moisés Castillo Moreira as President, Eunice Meeilih Ramirez Cotom as Vice President, Juana Esther Barajas Vásquez as Secretary, Juan Gilberto Escobar Reyes as Treasurer, and Ingrid Janeth Galvez Cuyun, Jessica María Xon Ixtuc, and Eva Patricia Chuc Choxom as Members-At-Large. The new leadership will be critical to leading GOJoven Guatemala into becoming an official NGO organization.
For 2014, the GOJoven Guatemala NGO is committed to furthering their mission to fight for the observance and enactment of sexual rights and reproductive rights of marginalized adolescents and youth in Guatemala through training, research, communication, and political advocacy in various levels of national public administration and the international community. Next year, they plan to finalize the formation of 11 departamental youth networks that will work in their local communities to form service models for youth and advocate for comprehensive sexual education in 20 local schools.
To follow the progress of the GOJoven programs, be sure to like GOJoven.org on Facebook.
On November 29th, eleven new youth leaders graduated from the year-long GOBelize leadership development program in sexual and reproductive health. Thanks to this newest graduating cohort, local youth in Belize now know where to go to access sexual and reproductive health services in their communities and will soon have the opportunity to learn about sexually transmitted infections (STI) and how to communicate about this sensitive topic with their families.
These two youth-led initiatives are the result of two separate Leadership Action Plans (LAPs) developed by the program participants during the program; giving the youth leaders the opportunity to apply the concepts they learned through trainings and gain direct experience in program design and implementation.
The LAPs are just one facet of the program. Over the course of a year, youth participants received in-depth training covering a range of topics related to sexual and reproductive health, program planning and leadership, including: the specific needs of youth related to sexual and reproductive health resources, family planning, evidence-based sexual education, budgets and financial planning and public speaking and presentation skills.
The graduation ceremony, which came at the end of the fourth and final training for the year, recognized the dedication of these youth to improving adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights programs, policies and outcomes in Belize. These newest graduates will now be part of the larger network of over 40 Belizean youth who are known as GOBelize Fellows. When fellow Jenna Hoare was asked what she gained from her participation in the GOJoven program, she said “Respect for other persons’ personal values and beliefs”.
Congratulations to this group of amazing youth adolescent sexual and reproductive health leaders!
From November 23-25, GOJoven Mexico held their annual meeting in the city of Chetumal Quintana Roo in southern Mexico. The three-day meeting brought GOJoven Mexico one step closer to realizing their goal of becoming an official non-governmental organization (NGO) in Mexico.
Close to 20 fellows from the GOJoven program in Mexico attended to plan for the future of the program, including: determining the organizational structure, officially announcing the organization’s leadership and defining the priorities and activities for GOJoven Mexico in 2014.
The following fellows will lead GOJoven Mexico into this next exciting phase of growth as part of the leadership team: Marco Antonio Toh Euan as President, Cecilia Mareny Cortés Santiago as Secretary, Jacinta Chan Pech as Treasurer, Andrea Espinoza as Communications Director, Rodolfo Moo Chí as Member-At-Large, Lemuel Vega as Representative of the Riviera Region, and Gladys Maribel Puc Castillo as Member-At-Large, representative of youth under 25.
For 2014, the GOJoven Mexico NGO is committed to advocating for comprehensive sexual education in public schools. Their focus is on advocating that the General Youth Law in Quintana Roo remain consistent with the stipulations of the “Ministerial Declaration: Prevent Through Education,” which declares that health and education ministries must collaborate with civil society organizations to prevent adolescent sexually transmitted infections (specifically HIV) through comprehensive sexual education in public schools. GOJoven Mexico will also promote the creation of youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, and encourage youth and adolescents to use these services.
One fellow shared about her experience of being part of GOJoven Mexico and the recent annual meeting by saying, “I liked seeing the enthusiasm from the start, and now I see in this meeting that we have results. We’re here because of GOJoven, and I owe the program a lot.”