- Adriana VarillasAdriana Varillas was 28 when selected as a GOJoven Fellow and was a writer for the La Voz del Caribe newspaper, based in Cancun, with a circulation extending throughout the northern part of Quintana Roo. She specializes in writing about the environment, but also covers gender, human rights, politics...
GOJoven Fellow Elmer Cornejo has been selected to attend the Iberoamerican Conference 2013 in Panama
Elmer Cornejo (Belize, 2009) has been invited to participate in the Iberoamerican Conference 2013 in Panama (Vanguardia Iberoaméricana 2013 Panamá “Iberoámerica: Alianza para nuevos paradigmas”) this October 13th-16th. The conference recruits youth, community leaders, college students, and representatives of social and civic organizations that have worked in social causes in their communities. This year, over 200 young people of 22 countries will brainstorm and share their proposed solutions in addressing a variety of social, political, economic, and environmental issues in their countries. The proposed solutions will be shared at the inauguration of the XXIII Summit of Head of State and Governments of Latin America (XXIII Cumbre de Jefes de Estado y de Govierno de Iberoamérica) which will take place in Panama October 18th and 19th.
The GOJoven team congratulates Elmer for his participation in this conference and looks forward to hearing more about his experiences in Panama this year.
On Saturday, July 13th, 2013, a group of eleven GOJoven Mexico Fellows, accompanied by trainer Ricardo Baruch and GOJoven Director Esther Tahrir, marched alongside the LGBT community in the 10th “Gay Pride” parade. The Fellows started the march with more than 1000 people at the Cancun malecon and marched towards the Municipal Palace of Benito Juarez. The community took to the streets to demand basic rights such as non-discrimination and recognition of same sex marriage.
GOJoven joined the march in support of sexual diversityand to encourage youth and adolescents to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights and demand protection of the same. Together with more than 20 additional groups, GOJoven called for respect of the LGBTQ population, an end to homophobia and unity in the fight for a diverse and safe Quintana Roo. The event was covered by numerous media sources and a photo of GOJoven Mexico appeared front and center in the Diario Respuesta.
GOJoven Honduras fellows recently trained young leaders under the age of 24 in political advocacy. On July 18, 2013, the daily news magazine La Tribuna reported on the training process developed by the Advocacy Coalition for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Rights (a group formed by fellows of the AGALI program). The training covered topics including political advocacy, sexual and reproductive rights, monitoring and evaluation, and social inventory. Click on the photo to the left to read the article (in Spanish).
GOJoven Belize has released the second issue of their bulletin. Click to download the July 2013 GOJoven Bulletin and stay up to date with news and events from our GOJoven Belize family!
In late May, 2013, three GOJoven Fellows attended the Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on full competitive scholarships furnished by Women Deliver. The conference brought together advocates from around the world to call for action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women. Public Health Institute and GOJoven would like to congratulate Elmer Cornejo, Errol Longsworth, and Iris Reyes, all from Belize, on winning the scholarships and participating in such a successful global event!
The European Commission awarded Elmer Cornejo an additional scholarship to attend the 100 Young Leaders Pre-Conference, a workshop that brought together 100 young leaders from 68 different countries. Elmer reported that the event provided attendees with tools to carry out advocacy activities and communicate effectively with potential donors:
“Investment in sex education and access to sexual and reproductive health services for young women were the issues that were raised emphatically by Latin-American and Caribbean participants [of the 100 Young Leaders Pre-Conference]. I highlighted that both areas could bring about a big change, not only for the development of women in the region, but for society in general.” - Elmer Cornejo, on the Pre-Conference
One thing that stood out to Elmer was the moment when Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver, said in the opening plenary that the past three years have seen tremendous momentum for the health and empowerment of girls and women worldwide. Sheffield said, “Maternal deaths have declined by nearly 50 percent since 1990, proving that our goals are within reach.” Elmer said that this statement gave him goose bumps, and marked the beginning of a three-day whirlwind that ended in an action plan for ensuring that girls and women are prioritized in the new development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.
Errol Longsworth represented GOJoven at the Women Deliver Cinema Corner, a space for filmmakers to share their work surrounding maternal and child health. Women Deliver selected the GOJoven Digital Story “Where are you…/Dónde estás…” created by Roberto Morales (2005 Guatemala fellow) to be screened at the Cinema Corner, and Errol Longsworth presented the film on behalf of Roberto. Errol said the experience was “life-changing,” and that the audience was intensely moved by Roberto’s story.
In an unexpected turn of events, the audience and the Cinema Corner moderator encouraged Errol to show his own Digital Story, “The Mirror/El Espejo,” after screening Roberto’s story. The audience congratulated Errol for his courage and willingness to share his story on such short notice.
Errol welcomed the challenge of choosing which breakout sessions to attend at the conference. He said that the agenda was packed with a wide range of topics all revolving around Millennium Development Goal number 5, Improve Maternal Health. At times he found himself dashing from one to room to another, and wished he could attend multiple sessions at once. Errol said that attending the conference was an incredibly meaningful experience:
“I am very grateful for the opportunity of partaking in this conference. It was a life-changing event and the experience and knowledge gained is not only beneficial for me, but for my organization. I plan to share the information that I have learned and brought back home to my work and my community. This was also beneficial for my country to have had a presence on a global level to help promote the country for further development.” – Errol Longsworth, on bringing the experience home to Belize
Iris Reyes was pleased to see the conference’s emphasis on women’s leadership. She said that in Belize, it’s rare to see women in high-level leadership positions in government and business. Women face numerous barriers to political and financial success, including lack of access to education and contraceptive methods, and a cultural attitude that women can or should not be in positions of power. As a Business teacher and entrepreneur, Iris noted the connection between poor access to contraceptives and failed distribution models; she said that if we treated contraceptives as we treat any other product or material good, we could harness the power of international distribution networks and increase access to family planning methods across the globe. For Iris, attending the conference allowed her to exercise her own leadership:
“I really appreciate the opportunity given to me to be part of the conference. I am very privileged to have been invited. I learned so much, with so many people from different countries and backgrounds, all there for the same reason: to improve the lives of women, girls, and youth. When I left the conference, I made a commitment to advocate, to be the change I wish to see in the world.” – Iris Reyes, on what the Women Deliver conference means to her
We are proud to call Elmer, Errol, and Iris members of the GOJoven family. Keep up the great work, fellows!
To view photos, watch videos, and see the full agenda for the 3rd Global Women Deliver Conference, click here.
The Ministry of Social Development in Guatemala has published the “National Report on the World Survey Regarding the Progress on the Programme of Action for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).” GOJoven Guatemala participated in the survey that informed this report, which can be accessed at the link below. Below you will also find a pdf that summarizes the progress on the ICPD Programme of Action in Guatemala.
Full report (in Spanish) Informe CIPD Guatemala junio 2013
Summary slides (in Spanish) Situación Guate C+20
In June, 2013, GOJoven Program Assistant Marian Alonso met with staff from International Planned Parenthood Federation / Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), at IPPF/WHR’s home offices in New York City to learn about their programs and share information about GOJoven’s latest activities in Central America.
Marian and IPPF staff spoke of the various resources available for activists in the region, and we’d like to share those with you now!
Mesoamerican Coalition for Comprehensive Sex Education: This group of civil society organizations has published an Evaluation of the Implementation of the Ministerial Declaration “Prevent Through Education.” A report card of sorts, this resource evaluates the degree to which each country in Central America and the Caribbean has been implementing the Ministerial Declaration through the end of 2011. Check it out here. You can find many more resources on the coalition’s resource page here (click on “view resources in English” for English language publications).
Marian also met with PHI’s Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA) in Brooklyn, New York. GYCA counts on the expertise of numerous collaborators all over the world to share information and resources to combat HIV and AIDS. GYCA members are individuals or representatives of organizations from 170 countries who are subscribed to GYCA’s information-sharing e-forum. Anyone, regardless of race, HIV status, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age, and/or physical disability, is welcome to join GYCA. Are you a member yet? Click here to sign up and receive excellent up-to-date information about the fight against HIV and AIDS around the world!
GYCA has a great list of resources on their website. And they offer free online e-courses in three topic areas: Project Management, Political Advocacy, and Fundraising (Resource Mobilization). GOJoven is happy to share this program with all fellows–be sure to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity!
Congratulations to Luis José Correa and Areli Sanchez (both from the 2011 Quintana Roo team) whose projects were selected by Ashoka-Avancemos and MTV Latinoamérica for the campaign Jóvenes Agentes de Cambio: Toma la Iniciativa frente al VIH/SIDA (Youth Changemakers: Taking Initiative against HIV/AIDS). The campaign seeks to identify and recognize innovative youth with real solutions focusing on educating, preventing, and combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Latin America.
Luis José’s project, Úsalo!!!! Así de fácil (Use it! It’s easy) seeks to “contribute to a reduction in new HIV and other sexually transmitted infection (STI) cases through comprehensive sex education among youth ages 15 to 19 in rural areas of the Benito Juárez municipality of Quintana Roo.”
Areli’s project, Prevenir con educación (Prevent Through Education) seeks to “use media and social networks to highlight the demands of adolescents and young people around HIV in order to encourage stakeholders to contribute to the fulfillment of the agreements signed by the Secretary of Health and to ensure friendly access to sexual and reproductive health in Quintana Roo. ”
We are very proud of all our fellows who are tremendously energetic and committed to sexual and reproductive health in the region. Congratulations!!!
GOJoven Fellows Gain Audience with Honduran President, Push for Policies to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Violence Against Women
This post originally appeared as a PHI Blog entry here.
Adolescents in Honduras face serious challenges obtaining comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services. Almost 40% of girls are married by 18 and the birth rate among girls 15-19 is among the highest in Latin America.
The Public Health Institute’s GOJoven (or Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health) program trains young leaders across Latin America to advocate for policies and programs to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) in their countries. In Honduras, GOJoven fellows are mobilizing and raising their voices – and the Honduran President is listening.
Honduran President, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, came to know of GOJoven alumnus Wendy Aguilar, from the Center for the Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights, after she successfully advocated for a presidential mandate that would obligate cabinet members to follow specific guidelines to prevent violence against children and youth. To follow up on this new mandate, he called on Wendy to organize youth organizations and youth stakeholders to present their needs to him and his cabinet during a cabinet meeting in late 2012.
Enter GOJoven Honduras, a youth-led network of highly skilled, highly committed experts in ASRH, trained by PHI GOJoven staff to promote change at the local, regional and national levels. At the cabinet meeting GOJoven Honduras alumni Gabriela Flores, Antonio Barahona and Licda Alvarez urged the Honduran government to invest in preventing adolescent pregnancy and violence against women, and to support sexual education and young people’s access to emergency contraception.
As a result of the cabinet meeting, there has been ongoing communication between GOJoven Honduras and the Ministries of Health and Youth. Gabriela Flores (the GOJoven Honduras National Coordinator) has now been appointed to the national Technical Committee of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, which consists of 20 civil society organizations, corporations and government organizations committed to creating multisectoral alliances to push forward the Honduran National Strategy to Prevent Adolescent Pregnancy (ENAPREAH) launched in late 2012.
In coordination with the Advocacy Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, comprised of 13 Honduran organizations and founded by participants of PHI’s AGALI program, GOJoven Honduras is in negotiations with the Vice Minister of Education to fund and train teachers to implement the new sex education manual throughout Honduras. In May 2013, Gabriela Flores and other members of the Advocacy Coalition met with several NGO leaders and the educational director of a large high school in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, to negotiate the inclusion of a new sex education class in local teacher-training schools. The group also discussed the need to adequately train teachers who use the sex education manual in public schools.
Also in May 2013, Gabriela Flores met with the technical director of the Honduran government’s Youth Institute to discuss collaborative opportunities with the Youth Institute’s local committees across the country.
With GOJoven Honduras fellows and alumni active in nearly all of the country’s regions, the possibilities for far-reaching change are looking more and more attainable.
Congratulations Mexico 2011 team, for the various mentions in the Diario Respuesta news magazine about their Leadership Action Plan, Red Space. GOJoven Fellow Sandybel Robaldino said of the project: “in Red Space we analyzed current conditions, and the central problem to resolve is the increase in cases of HIV in adolescents between 15 and 19 years old by contributing to the strengthening of their communication skills in sexual and reproductive health topics, and help them assert their sexual and reproductive rights.” Take a look at the links below to see the important work this team is doing to educate the youth of Quintana Roo about HIV prevention and other SRH topics: