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Ivonne Miranda: Proof that being a Garífuna woman means being a leader

By Dunia Orellana, Journalist and GOJoven Alumnae, GOJoven Honduras

March 2018 – National Women’s History Month

Continuous thirteen-hour trips on dirt and gravel roads; discrimination; years of difficult academic studies far from the community where she was born. These were some of the barriers which Ivonne Miranda, GOJoven International Fellow and co-founder of GOJoven Honduras, had to deal with on her path to academic and professional success. She dreamt of achieving these things since her childhood growing up in the Garífuna community of Santa Fe, Colón.

Looking back, two events radically changed Ivonne’s life. The first was her ability to live and study for several years in La Ceiba and San Pedro Sula, without “following the pattern of life of the girls who go to the city.” Secondly, she believes that her work with GOJoven has led her to become a more self-confident woman who aspires to help her community and country through education and defense of the sexual and reproductive rights of vulnerable populations.

“Education changed my life”

Santa Fe, where Ivonne was born 34 years ago, is a community of Honduran Garífuna people who struggle to preserve their culture and beliefs despite the influence of cities and growing migration. She was uprooted there when her parents separated when she was only eight years old: “I was raised by my father’s aunt, but I spent one Christmas with my father and another with my mother,” Ivonne says.

Unlike many Garífuna girls, who face the dilemma of whether or not to continue their education, Ivonne was determined to continue on and work towards achieving her educational aspirations. She knew that to achieve her dreams she had to emigrate to the city, like every young adult in Santa Fe who yearns for a higher education. In Ivonne’s family, no woman had ever graduated from university before. One of her uncles eventually became an engineer, but she was essentially a first-generation college student, a pioneer of sorts.

Ivonne was 15 years old when she got off the bus in the city of La Ceiba, Atlántida, after thirteen hours of traveling on gravel roads, “with a suitcase full of dreams” and the desire to challenge fate. A few years later, she found herself working as a computer technician. “I liked computers,” she says, remembering with a smile the day she went to college for the first time, “but according to the tests, I wasn’t meant for a technical career. Rather, the results pointed me towards a career that involved interaction with people.” She challenged her luck again by studying Psychology.

“Education changed my life and significantly turned it around,” says Ivonne. As it turns out, it changed not only her life, but also her family’s. “My younger relatives are inspired by my sacrifice and perseverance to not give up on their own paths,” she says. (Her family follows her example well: both her cousin and sister are also psychologists). When she was studying at La Ceiba, she decided that she would only return to Santa Fe if she had a university degree. And she did not stop there: “In my family, I am the first to get a Master’s degree,” she adds proudly. Deciding to take yet another risk, she went to San Pedro Sula after completing her Master’s degree, where she faced discrimination from her teachers and the violence of a large city.

GOJoven marked her life and made her a leader

In her second job working with HIV-infected populations in a clinic for teenagers, the staff talked to Ivonne about the GOJoven Program. The program piqued her interest, and she decided to take part in a 10 minute interview that ended up being a 45 minute conversation. “I thought something was wrong,” remembers Ivonne. When they told her they saw her as a leader, she could not believe it. “I never saw myself that way,” she says.

“GOJoven marked me. It sensitized me, helped me to better address sexual and reproductive health, and funded my Master’s studies. It is a stage that marks a before and after in my life. With what I learned through GOJoven, I now help to influence the youth of my community.” Regular access to Santa Fe remains difficult, especially in the winter when the rivers’ water level rises and there is no bridge to cross, but the work of committed people like Ivonne helps to reduce the gap between youth and their right to information despite this challenge in reaching the population.

“Thanks to GOJoven, I became a leader in sexual and reproductive health. One of our projects was to create kiosks and host educational fairs where we gave young people  information and distributed 11,000 condoms.” Her youth-focused work has also crossed national borders. Last year Ivonne traveled to Colombia to give a presentation on behalf of GOJoven. In Colombia, they were amazed to learn about her past thirteen-hour trips and that as a Garífuna with higher education, Ivonne was able to preserve her mother tongue.

Most recently, Ivonne was selected for the prestigious “120 Under 40: The New Generation of Leaders in Family Planning,” an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This global award recognizes and highlights Ivonne’s achievements as a member of the next generation of planning leaders from around the world. The selection process was very competitive: 40 winners were selected in 2017 through an electronic public voting system, evaluation by a jury of experts and leaders in the field, and approval from the Project Secretariat.

As an award-winning young leader, Ivonne received $ 1,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health to continue her family planning work and / or to start new innovative projects. With the prize money, Ivonne is funding a project to prevent school drop-out with the help of young people from the GOJoven platform. GOJoven International is committed to supporting Ivonne in this new international space, including for the execution of her Seed Fund award.

What lies ahead

“My dream?”, Ivonne pauses before affirming: “To continue working on sexual and reproductive health and sow that seed of knowledge in youth and in children. I dream that people understand that these problems do not solely belong to ‘others,’ because these issues concern everyone. We must all get involved. ”

This article is the second in a series of two articles produced by the author, Dunia Orellana, about the women leaders of GOJoven Honduras. It is a special series dedicated to National Women’s History Month, March 2018.

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GOJoven’s Ivonne Miranda Chosen as Family Planning Leader for 120 Under 40 Award

September 26, 2017—World Contraception Day

Ivonne Miranda, M.A. in Psychology, alumna of GOJoven International and Co-founder and Trainer at the GOJoven Honduras Association since 2014, was selected for the 120 Under 40 Award: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders, an initiative sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This global award recognizes and highlights Ivonne’s achievements as one of the next generation of family planning leaders worldwide.

Ivonne Miranda, a young Garifuna woman who was 25 when she became a GOJoven Fellow in 2009, is an active member of GOJoven Honduras, currently sitting on their Fiscal Oversight Committee and serving as Lead Trainer for the organization’s new youth platform in the department of Colon, on Honduras’ northern Caribbean coast. In leading the youth platform, Ivonne is building a cohort of 20 young sexual and reproductive health and rights leaders, ages 15-27, primarily mestizo, indigenous and Garifuna ethnicities, to spearhead local efforts that increase access to contraceptives and reduce the high rates of adolescent pregnancy in their municipalities. Previously, Ivonne worked for nearly 6 years in a comprehensive adolescent clinic at the Salvador Paredes Hospital in Trujillo, Honduras, providing contraception and HIV/AIDS counseling and explaining the correct use of contraceptive methods in a youth-friendly manner. Check out  Ivonne’s 120 Under 40 nomination to learn more about what inspires and motivates her as a family planning leader and see photos of her in the field.

The 40 winners for 2017 were chosen through public online voting, scoring by a jury of experts and leaders in family planning, and the project secretariat. Each of the final 40 will receive $1,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health to continue their work in family planning and/or begin innovative new projects. GOJoven International is committed to supporting Ivonne in this new arena, including in the use of her seed fund award, which she aspires to invest in expanding access to contraceptive information and services for youth and adolescents in particularly hard-to-reach areas of Colón, Honduras.

The process took place for the first time in 2016, during which the Director of PHI’s Rise Up Program, Denise Dunning, was selected as 1 of the first 40 champions; 2017 is the second round; and 2019 is the final round. By 2020, 120 outstanding young family planning champions under 40 will be assembled – the year by which the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) partnership aims to enable 120 million additional women and girls to access life-saving contraceptives and other reproductive health supplies.

“This second group of winners is as outstanding as the first,” says Jose “Oying” Rimon II, Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health and Chair of the 120 Under 40 Jury. “These young leaders are creating positive disruptions all over the world, and their impact will only grow stronger as they forge a new network with their fellow 120 Under 40 winners.”

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Ivonne Elena Miranda Card

Ivonne Elena Miranda Card is currently the Interim Executive Director of GOJoven Honduras. She was 25 years old when she became a GOJoven Fellow. Ivonne, a Garifuna woman, graduated with a BA in Psychology at the Universidad Católica de Honduras Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz in La Ceiba, Honduras in 2007, and later obtained her Master’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Education from the Catholic University of Honduras. Upon completing her BA, Ivonne returned to her community and worked as a Psychologist for nearly six years providing individual mental health counseling to adolescents at the Hospital Dr. Salvador Paredes Adolescent Health Center in Trujillo, where she integrated sexual and reproductive health education and services into the Center’s work, as well as in her own counseling. Alongside other GOJoven alumni in Honduran, Ivonne was a co-founder of Asociación GOJoven Honduras in 2014. Ivonne currently resides in her native Santa Fe, department of Colón, Honduras, where she trains local young leaders on sexual and reproductive health issues from a human rights perspective for the project “Together Preventing Pregnancy in Adolescents in Honduras”, implemented by Asociación GOJoven Honduras. She is currently residing in Tegucigalpa to fill the role of Interim Executive Director. In the future, Ivonne wants to continue training young people in family planning issues, advising them about their sexual and reproductive rights. She believes that an empowered and informed young person is guaranteed to be a more committed change agent for him/herself and others.

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GOJoven highlighted at the First Latin American and Caribbean Conference to Reduce SRH Inequities

September 7th, 2016 — Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

By Ivonne Miranda and Eva Burgos

Twenty-two countries gathered at the I Latin America and Caribbean Conference to Reduce Inequities in Sexual and Reproductive Health, held September 6th-8th, 2016, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. The conference focused on three themes: 1) Access, quality and demand; 2) Financing and accountability; and 3) Partnership, inter-sectoral collaboration and advocacy.

The Conference was organized by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and its Salud Mesoamerica Initiative (ISM), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC/LACForum), Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Colombian non-profit organization Profamilia.

Eva Burgos from GOBelize, Ados May from the IBP Initiative, and Ivonne Miranda from GOJoven Honduras (left to right) worked together starting at the Conference opening.

Eva Burgos, Executive Director of GOBelize, and Ivonne Miranda, Regional Coordinator of the Department of Colon, Assembly Member and Member of the GOJoven Honduras Association Audit Committee, were invited by the Conference’s Steering Committee to serve as Country Delegates from Belize and Honduras, respectively, also represented GOJoven International at this high-level forum.

On the second day of the Conference, GOJoven participated in the booth area called the “Ideas Marketplace”, where Eva Burgos and Ivonne Miranda, with the support of the IBP Initiative, presented GOJoven International’s story to the audience, from its beginnings up to the present. They focused on how youth leadership training under the GOJoven Model is a promising practice for reducing inequities in sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Reaffirming youth leadership among other good practices in SRH, Ados May, Technical Advisor of the IBP Initiative’s Secretariat, shared the  High Impact Practices in Family Planning (HIPs) developed by the IBP partner organizations with the support of USAID. Participants from Peru, Jamaica and El Salvador, among others, were some of those most interested in adopting the GOJoven Model methodologies in their countries.

Eva Burgos, GOBelize Executive Director, presenting the GOJoven Model at the GOJoven and IBP Initiative shared booth in the Ideas Marketplace.

The GOJoven presentation was deemed by many participants as one of the most useful and engaging presentations, as it offers a training model that can be adapted to the reality of many countries. Attendees were impressed by the fact that the program not only strengthens the young community leader in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues, but also strengthens their educational level, thereby providing communities with empowered leaders with improved professional skills. Such was the case of GOJoven Honduras alumna Ivonne Miranda, who presented her personal experience as woman leader of the Garifuna ethnic group who participated in the GOJoven program in 2009 in the Department of Colon. With a Summit Scholarship from the Summit Foundation, managed by GOJoven International, Ivonne was able to complete her university studies and obtained a Master’s degree in Psychology, specializing in Education.

Ivonne Miranda, official delegate from Honduras, representing GOJoven Honduras at the Conference, during a public intervention in a plenary session.

In the case of GOBelize, as a result of their participation in the Conference they further strengthened their collaborative relationship with and the commitment of Belize’s Ministry of Health (MOH), particularly regarding the draft national law for sexual and reproductive health. Although the draft law had been tabled, the Ministry of Health pledged to resume its efforts with the aim of having it passed and implemented. Having been part of these discussions in Cartagena, the MOH later invited GOBelize to help convene a Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Ultimately, GOBelize was also elected to sit on this Commission, assuming an active role with the other national multi-sectoral stakeholders who will together consider, promote and propel the adoption of this regulatory framework for young people and adolescents’ rights, and for other marginalized populations in the country. After the Conference, the NGO Belize Youth Empowerment for Change (BYEC) also became a member of the Commission, under the leadership of another GOJoven Belize alumnus, Stephen Diaz (2013).

Moreover, the Conference proved to be a space for dialogue and partnership-building for GOJoven. The two representatives introduced the work of GOJoven in several parallel working meetings with the Vice-Minister of Health from Honduras and with international organizations working in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as  Population Action International (PAI), FP2020, UNFPA, the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Mesoamerican Health Initiative, and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). As a result of the meeting with FP2020, Ivonne Miranda was featured on the FP2020 online radio program and blog “Family Planning Voices”, where they highlighted adolescents’ unmet need for contraceptives in Honduras and her efforts towards achieving increased access. See the transcription here.

These two GOJoven leaders stood out as experts on the topic of youth leadership development for reducing SRH inequities, and are taking what they learned back to their countries to continue strengthening accountability and multi-sectoral efforts to advance the SRHR of the most vulnerable adolescents and youth. Both GOBelize and GOJoven Honduras saw immediate positive results of the increased visibility they gained for GOJoven at this high-level regional Conference. Learn more about the Conference content and check the archives and presentations here!

The GOJoven team, after 8 rounds of presentations on GOJoven at the Ideas Marketplace, through which they spread the word about the GOJoven Model among the majority of Conference-goers.

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GOJoven Honduras

Para ver esta pagina en español, haga click aquí.

About GOJoven:

GOJoven is a pioneer in youth leadership development and mobilization. The GOJoven model is youth-led, local, diverse, and inclusive. Since 2004, GOJoven has been building the capacity of young leaders and organizations to create positive change in Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) programs, policies, and services in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and Quintana Roo, Mexico.

In 2013 the GOJoven Honduras Fellows established Asociación GOJoven Honduras, a new youth-led and youth-serving organization.

Fact Sheets:

Logo GJH

Meet the Fellows:

  • Read about the GOJoven Alumni Fellows in Honduras here.

GOJoven Honduras Fellows are guided by the following mission and vision.


GOJoven Honduras promotes comprehensive development to improve the quality of life of adolescents and youth through capacity-building, collective advocacy and a focus on guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for all youth in Honduras.


GOJoven Honduras strives to be a nationally and internationally recognized organization that drives cutting edge and evidence-based political, social, and cultural transformation, with emphasis on promoting sexual and reproductive rights to guarantee comprehensive development for the diverse populations of Honduras.

Strategic Focus:

  • Comprehensive Development: Train, inform, and educate youth and adolescents about SRHR, employment, professionalism, public safety, and the environment.
  • Institutional Strengthening: Build organizational capacity in order to respond to the social demands of youth and adolescents in Honduras.
  • Advocacy: Advocate for compliance with national and international development policies, with particular emphasis on youth and SRHR.
  • Resource Mobilization: Obtain financial, human, and logistical resources to amplify coverage of GOJoven Honduras initiatives.

base map:

Achievements of GOJoven Honduras:

  • Reached over 20,000 youth and adolescents throughout Honduras with SRHR trainings and information to reduce adolescent pregnancy, HIV transmission and sexually transmitted infections, through workshops, health fairs and action campaigns
  • Opened youth friendly spaces and clinics to meet the SRH needs of thousands of adolescents and youth, and developed radio and television programming to inform thousands of youth of their SRHR
  • Created two Departmental Youth Platforms and one National Youth Platform, made up of 75 youth from 5 departments who were trained by GOJoven Honduras
  • Joined the Technical Working Group on Adolescent Pregnancy, the reform process for the National Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy, and the monitoring process for the implementation of the Ministerial Declaration “Preventing through Education”, among other spaces where they worked in partnership with the Ministries of Health and Education, Members of Congress, the First Lady of Honduras, the National Women’s Institute (INAM), local governments and municipal women’s offices to address priority ASRH topics
  • Led advocacy campaigns for legalizing Emergency Contraception (EC) in Honduras and participated in the Strategic Group for EC Legalization (GE-PAE), working alongside Members of Congress from across the country to improve public opinion and acceptance among decision-makers
  • Advocated alongside local and international coalitions to ensure that comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is part of secondary school curricula, created interactive training tools to offer expanded SRH education, and trained teachers to provide CSE especially in rural areas
  • Leveraged grant funding to create and implement innovative initiatives to reduce HIV transmission in LGBTQI youth and gender-based violence in public and private spheres
  • Worked in partnership with Creative Associates International –USAID, ASHONPLAFA, CARE, Plan International Honduras, PAHO, UNFPA, UN Women, AJEM, Public Health Institute and the Summit Foundation, among others


Contact GOJoven Honduras:

Ivonne Miranda Card, Interim Executive Director

Lesbia Yamileth Cáceres, Board President

Office: Barrio La Ronda, Edificio Metropolitana de Inversiones, Segundo Piso, Local 208, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Telephone: 011 (504) 2220-0650
Email: (under construction)
Twitter: @gojovenhonduras
Web: |

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GOJoven at the 2014 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

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.


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Esther Saraelle Tahrir, MPH

GOJoven Program Director

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 thirteen 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.

Susanna Moore, MA

GOJoven Project Manager

susanna-moore_phi-2Susanna serves as Project Manager for the Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven). She manages and oversees all aspects of GOJoven’s activities, including grantmaking and technical assistances to grantee organizations, communications and marketing, monitoring and evaluation and reporting, public relations and fundraising. Susanna also works in partnership with other Public Health Institute (PHI) programs on collaborative funding proposals on the topic of sexual and reproductive health. She also serves as PHI’s Deputy Chair for the IBP Initiative, an international consortium that identifies and promotes evidence-based and proven effective practices to improve family planning/reproductive health outcomes worldwide. Prior to joining GOJoven and PHI, Susanna worked in Argentina at the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women-FEIM, an NGO promoting women’s and young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV prevention and the elimination of gender-based violence in Latin America and globally. Previously, she conducted Human Rights research with young people in Argentina as a University of Wisconsin Hilldale Fellow and studied international development and women’s rights in Ecuador through the University of Minnesota. She has also worked and volunteered with community health and education programs in the U.S., primarily serving immigrant populations. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Anthropology from the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Argentina and a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology, Latin American Studies and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Katherine Sham

GOJoven Summer Intern

Katherine is a fourth year UC Berkeley student and summer intern with Global Health Leaders and GoJoven International. She is pursuing a degree in Public Health and a minor in Public Policy. Katherine is interested in health policy and management and hopes to improve the accessibility to and affordability of healthcare for the underserved through her work. Her public health experience thus far includes advocacy work with The Glide Foundation, health education and translation for Prevent Blindness Northern California, and marketing and communications for the City of Berkeley’s Healthy Berkeley Program. On campus, she is Assistant Coordinator and TA for the Health Service Internship Program, which places UC Berkeley undergrads in internships with health-related community and nonprofits in the Bay Area. Katherine will be responsible for helping GOJoven with marketing efforts and external communications through the website, blog, and social media channels.

Gabriel Navarette

GOJoven Summer Intern

Gabriel Navarrette is a Master’s in Public Health student at Touro University California and summer intern with GOJoven International, as well as two other PHI programs: Global Health Leaders and the Pacific ADA Center. He will be completing the Public Health Certification exam in Fall 2018 and will graduate in December. Gabriel is interested in the fields of Health Administration and monitoring and evaluation, and is focusing his studies and career in both community and global health fields with an emphasis on program evaluation and preventative healthcare. Gabriel’s public health experience involves working with local coalitions like the “Fighting Back Partnership” in Vallejo, California, where he helps to develop and advocate for safe and reasonable guidelines for businesses and the public regarding the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis to protect and ensure healthy environments for families, youth and adolescents in Vallejo. Gabriel also works as a Teaching Assistant for Research Methodology and Health Policy courses at Touro University. Gabriel helps GOJoven International with monitoring and evaluation, data analysis, literature review, and creation of informative content for the program.

Josie Ramos, MA

GOJoven 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, and managing the advocacy component of the GOJoven Regional program, advising country teams on advocacy planning and implementation in Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. She currently 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.

Angel Luis Martinez

Master Trainer

anson_angel-copyAngel has served as the Master Trainer for GOJoven since its inception, providing training, Training of Trainers (TOT) and technical assistance to allied agencies within the GOJoven countries. He is also the lead trainer for PHI’s California Adolescent Health Collaborative’s (CAHC) Healthy Relationships and Economic Pathways (H-REP) programs. Angel is an internationally recognized sex educator and trainer who from 1997 to 2000 coordinated the technical assistance program for the California Wellness Foundation’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Prior to this, he was a consultant to the California State Department of Health and Human Services at the Office of Family Planning’s Male Involvement Initiative. He has trained professionals and others working with young people throughout the United States and Latin America. Angel has a background of more than thirty years in the human services area. His work includes community organization and development, development of training design and curricula, community health, and family planning/population issues.

Eva Marisol Burgos

GOJoven Belize Executive Director

eva-foto-2016Eva is the Executive Director for GOJoven Belize Alumni Association (GOBelize) in Belmopan City, Belize. She became a GOJoven Fellow in 2004 and later served as the Country Representative and General Coordinator for the GOJoven Program in Belize. Eva graduated with honors from the University of Belize with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from University of West Indies Open Campus in Belize. She is a graduate of GOJoven Program’s Training of Trainer’s process and is currently the chairperson for National AIDS Commission, Belmopan Committee –a committee that works towards decreasing discrimination against people living with HIV. Eva collaborates with Belize’s Ministry of Health for the Health, Community, and Parenting Bureau (HECOPAB) to conduct Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights trainings to key health providers such as Community Health Workers (CHW) on topics, including family planning, emergency contraception, self-esteem, HIV/AIDS, gender, and evaluation to name a few. Eva has also served as the Lead Consultant in the Belizean Emergency Contraceptive Advocates (BECA) Project from the year 2007-2008 with the goal of mainstreaming EC in western Belize by building the capacity of key service providers.  She has received additional trainings in community outreach, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, research methods and Human Rights. Eva is particularly passionate about her youth work and HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment and Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

Ivonne Elena Miranda Card

GOJoven Honduras Interim Executive Director

Ivonne is currently the Interim Executive Director of GOJoven Honduras. She was 25 years old when she became a GOJoven Fellow. Ivonne, a Garifuna woman, graduated with a BA in Psychology at the Universidad Católica de Honduras Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz in La Ceiba, Honduras in 2007, and later obtained her Master’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Education from the Catholic University of Honduras. Upon completing her BA, Ivonne returned to her community and worked as a Psychologist for nearly six years providing individual mental health counseling to adolescents at the Hospital Dr. Salvador Paredes Adolescent Health Center in Trujillo, where she integrated sexual and reproductive health education and services into the Center’s work, as well as in her own counseling. Alongside other GOJoven alumni in Honduran, Ivonne was a co-founder of Asociación GOJoven Honduras in 2014. Ivonne has most recently resided in her native Santa Fe, department of Colón, Honduras, where she was a trainer for local young leaders on sexual and reproductive health issues from a human rights perspective for the GOJoven Honduras project “Together Preventing Pregnancy in Adolescents in Honduras”. She is currently residing in Tegucigalpa to fill the role of Interim Executive Director. In the future, Ivonne wants to continue training young people in family planning issues, advising them about their sexual and reproductive rights. She believes that empowered and informed young people are guaranteed to be more committed change agents for themselves and others.

Ricardo Jara

México y Caribe Jóvenes Executive Director

Ricardo Jara ED GJ Mex May 2016Ricardo is currently the Executive Director of Mexico y Caribe Jóvenes A.C. (GOJoven Mexico). He was selected as a GOJoven Fellow in 2011 at the age of 19, when he was serving as a volunteer at the NGO Red+Posithiva de Quintana Roo A.C., which focuses on HIV prevention, detection and care. Ricardo continued this work for over five years after he became a GOJoven Fellow. During his time as a volunteer with the organization he facilitated workshops on SRH, SRR, STIs and HIV for elementary, high school and university students, adults, rehabilitation centers, detention centers and the general public. He has extensive experience providing HIV tests and pre and post test counselling. He served as regional representative of REDJUVIH (Youth Network in Response to HIV) where he worked in collaboration with youth from the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatan, and coordinated a project in the Mayan area of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. He was “Gente Joven” Program Coordinator for the Mexican Foundation for Family Planning (MEXFAM) in 2015. As a result of his pursuits into other areas of interest as well, he aims to strengthen community work that contributes to sustainability, by using art, permaculture, Human Rights, and food sovereignty. Rooted in his personal philosophy, Ricardo defines his work by being for and with the community.

Ana Lourdes Tojin Mich

Executive Director, GOJoven Guatemala

ana-lourdes-tojin-2016Ana Lourdes is currently the Executive Director for GOJoven Guatemala. She was 25 years old when she was selected as a GOJoven Fellow, while working for ALAS Association, an organization based in Antigua, Guatemala, that promotes sexual and reproductive health training in rural communities. Overcoming cultural obstacles and strong community pressure, Lourdes organized a family planning clinic and brought APROFAM’s (an IPPF affiliate) mobile sterilization unit to her hometown. She also served as Director of the Poder-Joven project at the Community Health Services Association (ASECSA). She graduated from the GOJoven Trainer of Trainers process and is a member of the Coordinating Committee for Guatemala’s ICPD+20 Advocacy Group. As a GOJoven alumnus, she received a Summit Scholarship which helped her obtain her undergraduate degree in Social Work with an emphasis on Development Management, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Local Human Development and International Cooperation.


Former Resource Team Members

Denise Raquel Dunning, PhD

Former Training Manager

Dunning_DDenise 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

Former Regional Program Coordinator

Juliapassport2Julia 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.

Jinna Rosales

Immediate Past Executive Director, GOJoven Honduras

Jinna Rosales ED Bio pic aug. 2016Jinna served as Executive Director of GOJoven Honduras from 2016-2018.  She is a feminist leader in Human Rights and Sexual and Reproductive Rights training, management, research and advocacy processes in Honduras. She began participating in training opportunities led by GOJoven Honduras Fellows in 2013, which strengthened her focus on the defense of the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of adolescents and youth. She was certified as a trainer of trainers in the GOJoven model, is one of the national leaders in the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s Change Agents program, and participates in Central American Women’s Fund (FCAM) trainings. She is currently undertaking a Masters in Demography and Development, and has an undergraduate degree in Social Work as well as ten years of experience and commitment to working with the most vulnerable populations to defend their rights, especially adolescents and youth.

Gabriela Flores

Founding Executive Director, GOJoven Honduras

gabyfloresGabriela served as Founding Executive Director of GOJoven Honduras from 2014-2016. She 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.

Carlos Iván Can Estrella

Founder and Immediate Past Executive Director, México y Caribe Jóvenes

Carlos CanCarlos served as Founding Executive Director of Mexico y Caribe Jovenes (GOJoven Mexico) from 2014-2016. He 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.

Rudy Ariel Felipe Pocop

Former 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

Former 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

Former Country Representative in Mexico

Karina, GOJoven’s Country Representative in Mexico, was 28 years old when she was selected as a GOJoven 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, and she was granted a scholarship from the Summit Foundation to pursue her Master’s in Social Marketing. Karina has worked for more than 15 years with non-profit organizations such as Greenpeace Mexico; Save the Children; Flora, Fauna, and Culture of Mexico; and Fondo Semillas, among others.  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.”  In the area of sexual and reproductive rights, Karina has collaborated with organizations such as APIS Foundation for Equity and Fondo Semillas, where she addressed issues around family violence, gender equity, human rights, and feminism. Karina has volunteered on autonomy and social justice projects in Chiapas and ran a radio program about sexual and reproductive health in Quintana Roo, Mexico. In addition to being a GOJoven Fellow, she was a consultant for PHI on the same project, serving as GOJoven Country Representative in Mexico. In 2015, she served as volunteer at the GOJoven International office in Oakland, California. Currently, she is an independent consultant for fund procurement, corporate social responsibility and fundraising event planning, and she also runs her own online business promoting local products by and for women.

José Arturo Patzán Tzay

Former Accountant and Program Assistant

José Arturo Bio PhotoJosé 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.

Roberto Morales

Former National Coordinator, Guatemala

foto de personasRoberto 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).

 Sandybel Robaldino

Former 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.

Teryll Hopper

Former Marketing and Communications Specialist

TeryllTeryll 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.

Marian Alonso, BA

Former Program Associate

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.

Ruhi Nath

Former Summer Intern

Ruhi headshotRuhi 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.

Lisa Lieberman

Former Summer Intern

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Lisa Lieberman is a second year Communications major at Santa Clara University. She was born and raised in Guatemala and speaks fluent Spanish and basic Maya K’ich’e. This is her second year working at GOJoven International, where she will be writing articles for the GOJoven website, creating videos, and keeping up to date with social media. She hopes to pursue a career in either film or journalism. She plans to incorporate her Latin American cultural and language background to create social change through her future work.

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