Esther Saraelle Tahrir, MPH
Public Health Institute
Esther is the PI Project Director for the Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven) where she provides the strategic direction, supervision, partnership building and fundraising and development leadership to ensure the success of Spanish Regional and English Pilot programs for Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and Belize. She founded GOJoven in 2003 and has worked for the past ten years at the Public Health Institute (PHI) directing multi-million dollar fellowship programs in sexual and reproductive health and rights for senior and emerging leaders globally. She previously directed the International Family Planning Leadership Program (IFPLP) Latin America and contributed to IFPLP Africa and Asia. Ms. Tahrir runs the Summit Foundation Scholarship Fund for graduates of GOJoven and advises IHP/PHI’s Adolescent Girls Advocacy & Leadership Initiative in Latin America and Africa. Ms. Tahrir has worked and lived in Francophone and Anglophone West Africa, Guatemala and Mexico, is fluent in Spanish and French, and speaks basic Portuguese. She completed her undergraduate work in Community Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz with honors and received a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of California Berkeley where she was honored with the Henrik L. Blum Award for Distinguished Social Action and was student elect to the Faculty Council and School Strategic Planning Committee.
Josie Ramos, MA
GOJoven Program Manager and Summit Scholarship Program Director
During her decade-long tenure at PHI, Josie has fulfilled many roles within the GOJoven Program including managing the GOJoven Belize pilot project, an English-language version of the GOJoven program replicated in Belize since 2011. Currently she manages the advocacy component of the GOJoven Regional program, advising country teams on advocacy planning and implementation in Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. She also directs GOJoven’s Summit Scholarship Fund, which supports the educational goals of GOJoven Alumni. Josie also coordinates the curriculum development and economic empowerment components of the Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy and Leadership Initiative, a program that improves girls’ health, educational and economic opportunities, and human rights by strengthening the capacity of Central American and African advocates. Josie is also a certified sex educator and she has served on PHI’s Institutional Review Board for the past eight years.
Marian Alonso, BA
Marian Alonso manages the GOJoven grant portfolio, monitors program activities, researches relevant materials, policies, and funding opportunities, and provides technical assistance and feedback to grantee organizations. She completed her undergraduate work in Psychology and Music at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) inLos Angeles, where she was a member of the University Honors Program and received the Riordan and Arete Community Service Awards and the McKay Student Leadership Award. She directed the LMU Alternative Breaks program, and as a recipient of the Payden Summer Research grant, she worked on a clean stoves project in rural Peru. She volunteered at a family center for working children in Quito,Ecuador and taught college-level English in Quito for two years. She has traveled extensively and speaks both English and Spanish.
Eva Marisol Burgos
GOJoven Belize Executive Director
Eva is currently the Executive Director for GOJoven Belize. Previously, she served as the Country Representative for the Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven), where she was a Summit Fellow in 2004. She is a graduate from the University of Belize with honors as a Practical Nurse and, with support from the Summit Scholarship Fund; Eva hopes to complete her BA in Social Work from the University of West Indies in 2013. As a graduate of the GOJoven Training of Trainer’s process, Eva collaborates with Belmopan Regional office of the Belize Ministry of Health for the Health, Community, and Parenting Bureau (HECOPAB) to conduct SRH trainings to key health providers like the Community Health Workers (CHW) on a variety of topics, including emergency contraception, family planning, gender, and evaluation. She served as the Lead Consultant and Facilitator in the Belizean Emergency Contraceptive Advocates (BECA) project from the year 2007-08 and she has received additional trainings in community outreach, and strategic planning. Eva is particularly passionate about her work in HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment. She is the chair for Belmopan City HIV committee of Belmopan and hopes to collaborate in the fight to decrease discrimination against people living with HIV.
GOJoven Honduras Executive Director
Gabriela Flores Rodríguez was selected to be a GOJoven Fellow when she was 22 and was part of the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Initiative – AIR in 2009. She has served as Technical Secretariat for the Latin American and Caribbean Youth Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (REDLAC), where she took charge of the network’s communication strategy and IT management. Additionally, she founded the Young Women’s Association “Being a woman” (Ser Mujer) in Honduras. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Central American Women’s Fund (FCAM) and has worked as an advisor to the Secretary of Education where she developed an information system for the educational system. Gabriela is a lesbian feminist who participates in many forms of political advocacy, training, research and promotion of Women’s Human Rights and LGBT Rights.
México y Caribe Jóvenes Executive Director
Carlos Ivan Can Estrella was 27-years old when he was selected as a GOJoven Fellow. When he was selected he was the program coordinator for Youth Space, an artisan center for youth. He facilitated discussion groups with youth on various topics, including SRH. This active youth leader has experience starting up community association groups and in proposal writing. Carols believes that youth in his community need to be taught SRH because they are particularly vulnerable to STI’s since a lot of them have to leave the community to find work in the tourist areas. Carlos has a Master’s Degree in Social Anthropology, his goal is to continue his education and get a Doctorate Degree.
Ana Lourdes Tojin Mich
Executive Director, GOJoven Guatemala
Ana Lourdes, a 2005 fellow, served as the director of the Summit supported Poder-Joven project at the indigenous-based Community Health Association (ASECSA). Since becoming a fellow, she has worked diligently in the SRH field as a facilitator and outreach worker at various key NGO’s in Guatemala including APROFAM, WINGS and the Carroll Behrhorst Guatemalan Development Foundation. After graduating from the GOJoven Training of Trainers Process, she put her new public speaking skills to work by being elected to the traditional Community Development Council (COCODE) where she is able to coordinate youth efforts in conservation and SRH. She was awarded a Summit Scholarship in 2010.
Lisa Lieberman is a recent South San Francisco High School graduate who will begin her communications studies at Santa Clara University in the fall. She grew up in Guatemala and speaks fluent Spanish and basic Maya K’ich’e . Lisa writes articles for the GOJoven website and keeps up to date with social media. She is passionate about journalism and expository writing. For her final high school project she wrote a research paper on the effects biased news has on a person’s worldview and worked with a reporter from San Diego’s KPBS to write an article of her school’s water consumption in relation to the recent drought.
Ruhi Nath is a fourth year UC Berkeley undergraduate student and summer intern with GOJoven. She is on the pre-medicine track, pursuing a degree in Public Health and a minor in Anthropology. Ruhi is passionate about improving access to education, be it about health or leadership, in underserved populations, and has done extensive work volunteering in San Francisco, Berkeley, and India. She co-founded the non-profit organization 100 Strong, a female leadership development and mentorship program for high school girls in Oakland, and started the website Premed@Berkeley. Ruhi will be responsible for helping GOJoven with organizational, programmatic, and curriculum-related tasks this summer.
Former Resource Team Members
Denise Raquel Dunning, PhD
Denise is the Program Director of the Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy & Leadership Initiative, a program that improves adolescent girls’ health, educational and economic opportunities, and human rights by strengthening the capacity of Latin American and African advocates. As Training Manager of GOJoven, Denise managed the GOJoven Fellowship training program, curriculum development process, and Training of Trainers. Denise previously worked in the Population Program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation on grantmaking and research in Mexico, India, Ethiopia, and the Philippines. Denise has served as a Fulbright Scholar in Honduras, working with the United Nations Development Program to implement hurricane relief efforts following Hurricane Mitch. Denise holds a doctoral degree in Sociology fromthe University of California Berkeley, where she conducted research on youth, gender, sexuality, and HIV prevention. She received a Masters in Public Affairs from the WoodrowWilsonSchool at PrincetonUniversity, where she focused on international development and health after graduating Summa Cum Laude from DukeUniversity. Denise is a native Spanish speaker who also speaks French, Portuguese, and German.
Julia Zeuli, MPH
Regional Program Coordinator
Julia served as the Regional Program Coordinator for the International Health Program (IHP)’s GOJoven project at PHI. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras where she developed and coordinated health education workshops and trainings for youth focusing on sexual and reproductive health. While in Honduras she evaluated a national youth life skills and HIV/AIDS prevention pilot program for the Global Fund. Julia worked with the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter where she coordinated the international candidate program and conducted in-country evaluations of trainings and provided technical support to the Panamanian Red Cross and the Mexican Red Cross. Julia, a first generation bilingual/bicultural Spanish speaker raised by Nicaraguan parents, has spent her life advocating and working for social justice and equality. She received a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.
Rudy Ariel Felipe Pocop
Regional Program Administrator
Rudy served as the Regional Program Administrator for the Public Health Institute’s Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven). He has 12-years experience in the fields of Community Health and Environmental Studies. Rudy has worked in several different regions of Guatemala in the fields of Primary Health Care, Environmental Conservation, Health Advocacy and Disease Prevention. Rudy’s specific areas of expertise include training, program coordination, and the design, management and implementation of local development projects. Rudy has a Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering from Rural University of Guatemala. He loves playing basketball and football; snorkeling; listening to music and spending time with his family.
Claudia Vanessa Siliezar Turcios
Country Representative in Honduras
Vanessa served as GOJoven’s Country Representative in Honduras. She is a lawyer specializing in Criminal Law and has diplomas in Criminal and Procedural Rights Law. She was a fellow with the International Family Planning Leadership Program in 2005 and with the ILAE IHP/COMPTOM Foundation and volunteered with CEPROSAF on a program serving people living with HIV/AIDS and publicizing the special HIV/AIDS law to civil society. Vanessa has more than ten years experience in the area of gender-based violence and human rights. She has written articles on youth employment in Honduras and her latest collaboration was with the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid in 2009 on legal frameworks for preventing domestic violence in Central America. As a consultant, her work involves training young people and women on the north coast of the country, educating them on topics including: HIV/AIDS, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, diversity, leadership, and increasing social and political involvement of the most vulnerable sections of the country in national decision making. Vanessa teaches Law at the Central American Universidad Tecnológica (UNITEC) in La Ceiba. She has a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development from Alcalá de Henares University in Madrid, Spain.
Nayeli Karina De la Torre García
Country Representative in Mexico
Karina, GOJoven’s Country Representative in Mexico, is a GOJoven 2008 Fellow. Karina holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from La Salle University, Mexico City. She holds certification in Institutional Strengthening and Fundraising, as well as Leadership and Management for Civil Society Organizations. Currently, she works as GOJoven’s Country Representative for Mexico. Karina has worked with environmental non-profit organizations such as Greenpeace Mexico; Flora, Fauna, and Culture of Mexico; Save the Children; and Amigos de Sian Ka’an. In 2009, Karina was part of the Sierra Club Tour in 6 cities in the U.S., presenting on “Environment and Population, the case in Quintana Roo.” Karina also has worked in the area of sexual and reproductive rights organizations APIS and Foundation for Equality, where she addressed issues around domestic violence, gender equity, human rights, and feminism.
José Arturo Patzán Tzay
Accountant and Program Assistant
José Arturo served as GOJoven’s accountant and also contributed in several administrative and logistical capacities. He studied accounting at La Escuela de Ciencias Comerciales (The School of Business Sciences) and is currently working toward a degree in Social and Legal Sciences at Guatemala’s Rural University. He has worked in the Center for National Recuperation – CERNE and the Association of Community Health Services (ASECSA), working mainly on health issues. He has 3 years’ experience in accounting, 1 year as a community promoter/facilitator of HIV topics with children, youth, and adults. He loves reading, listening to music, and playing musical instruments including the marimba, keyboard and guitar. He likes to spend his free time with his family.
National Coordinator, Guatemala
Roberto Morales is an indigenous leader who has worked as an HIV/AIDS researcher, educator, and activist with indigenous communities in rural Guatemala since 2001. He has extensive experience helping indigenous groups develop and write proposals for community improvement projects. Roberto speaks 4 indigenous languages, which enables him to provide SRH education to different indigenous communities in his municipality. From 2002 to 2007 he worked at Proyecto Payaso educating rural communities throughout Guatemala about a broad range of sexual and reproductive health issues using performance art and other creative forms of communication. In 2010, with the support of the Summit Foundation, he implemented an ASRH and gender-based violence prevention project for the victims of tropical storm Agatha. Roberto is a traditional Mayan medicine man (Ajq’ij)
National Coordinator, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Sandybel had been the Director for the Comprehensive Mental Health Center at the Secretary of Health, Mexico for three years when she was selected as a GOJoven Fellow. Furthermore, she has other important experience working with youth: she has been a representative for the College of Psychologists, worked with the Adolescent Health Promoters Group (GAPS), and provided training for a political group. Sandybel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University La Salle, Cancún and specializes in work with children, adolescents, and adults. Her vision for the future is to be promoted to a higher position at her agency. Sandybel desires to connect issues of ASRH with the work that she does currently. She desires to work on a project with sexual and reproductive health and mental health, providing essential workshops. She was 24 when she was selected to be a GOJoven Fellow.
Marketing and Communications
Teryll was the Marketing Specialist with the GOJoven program. Teryll’s marketing experience spans across multiple industries, including: technology, real estate, nonprofits and government. Teryll holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. After college, she spent time traveling to Guatemala, Argentina and most recently Nicaragua. She also lived in Chile teaching high school English as part of a United Nations program called Inglés Abre Puertas.