- Tasha PetilloTasha Petillo has assisted the organization Plenty Belize with its mission of “Working together for the people, communities, and environment of Toledo” as the accounts manager, business skills trainer, and as project manager. Her formal education includes an Associate’s Degree in Natural Resources M...
GOJoven Guatemala Alumni Fellow Joseline Velásquez Morales Recognized as one of BBC’s Top 100 Women in 2018
By Katherine Sham and Susanna Moore
At GOJoven International we are thrilled to announce that the GOJoven Guatemala Alumni Association graduated fellow and colleague, Joseline Velásquez Morales, was recently recognized as one of BBC’s Top 100 Women in 2018 for her work with the Association! As BBC notes, the women on this list are inspiring, influential female leaders in their fields. From over 60 different countries around the world, these women represent different sectors of society and the arts and are truly everyday changemakers.
Joseline, a young SRHR activist, was nominated for her work in Guatemalan communities to help educate girls and young women about sex and eradicate forced marriages and teen pregnancies. While studying Journalism and Law at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala, she also serves as GOJoven Guatemala’s Advocacy Coordinator. Through this role, she leads the association’s involvement in sexual and reproductive rights advocacy initiatives both nationally and internationally. Previously, she has worked with the Ministry of Health and Education to implement Integral Education in Sexuality and also has helped to construct historical memory spaces from the perspective of women.
When asked how she feels about receiving this recognition, she says, “It gives energy to my existence. It is important that the work and contribution of young women and feminists be made visible. On the other hand, it is also important to highlight the problem of early and forced child marriages and unions. Especially in Guatemala, many girls and adolescents are forced to assume pregnancies and maternity wards that they did not want nor plan, and that are a result of acts of sexual violence. Now more than ever, we demand integral education in sexuality to address this growing problem.”
GOJoven is proud to support Joseline and other young women leaders like her in their upstanding efforts to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights for the women and girls of Guatemala! Congratulations, Joseline!
We invite you to read more about this exciting recognition as covered in Guatemalan media:
- ¿Quién es la guatemalteca considerada entre las 100 mujeres mas influyentes del mundo?
- ¿Quién es Joseline Velásquez? La guatemalteca reconocida por BBC Mundo
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The GOJoven Guatemala Association was formed in 2014 by local youth leaders trained under PHI’s GOJoven International program between 2004 and 2012. It is currently run by these same program alumni as well as new generations of young leaders that our alumni are training themselves, through replicating the GOJoven Youth Leadership Development Model with even greater numbers of youth and adolescent leaders in their communities.
Stephen Daniel Diaz started his career in the field of sexual and reproductive health response in 2006, working with the Pan American Social Marketing Organization (PASMO) as their Youth MSM representative, also collaborating with The United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), CNET+ (Collaborative Network of Persons Living with HIV in Belize, (BFLA) Belize Family Life Association, (REDCA+) Regional Network of Persons Living with HIV in Central America, and the National AIDS Commission Belize. Stephen has served as the executive president of a newly inaugurated NGO for youth in difficult circumstances, working with YLGBTI, Young Sex Workers, documented and undocumented migrants, YPLHIV, Incarcerated youths, disabled young persons, and young girls. His passion motivates him to be a dynamic youth leader in his community as he progresses toward positive outcomes in Belizean society. His mantra in life is “To be able is to be capable and be capable with reason.”
Shanese Pitzold was an honor student in the Natural Resource Management program at the University of Belize. She has received a certificate of distinction from The Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music in London, and her professional experience includes working as an office assistant at NEMO and at the Ministry of Education as a secretary. Shanese has volunteered at Dorothy Menzies Children Home, StellaMarisPrimary School, the CamaloteVillage, and was a youth teacher for Maranatha Seventh Day Youth. Shanese believes she is a positive force in her community when it comes to protecting the environment, as she has been involved in clean up and recycling campaigns. Her greatest passion is to educate youth about HIV/STI Protection.
Shaimir Jacobs has completed coursework at the Baptist School of Adult Continuing Education (B.S.A.C.E) and has worked as an office assistant for the Public Service department in the City of Belmopan. He aspires to become a successful and exemplary youth leader and provide young people with knowledge and information in sexual health, which he believes will be a step forward in assisting young Belizeans in making healthy sexual and reproductive health decisions. Shaimir is generous, compassionate and enjoys supporting others.
Renita Pop attended the Toledo Community College (TCC) and graduated in 2007 at the age of 16, with a diploma in Science. She later attended The University of Belize in pursuit of a Nursing Degree. In 2009 she obtained a certificate in Practical Nursing, was a Magna Cum Laude honor student, earned her license as a Practical Nurse and in June 2013 received her Bachelor’s Degree in the Nursing Field. Renita has volunteered at the Belize Red Cross Belmopan Branch and has served as the Youth Representative on the executive committee. She is a certified member of the NIT (National Intervention Team), a First Aid Instructor, and a National Trainer for the Together We Can Program. Renita is a passionate, self empowered and determined youth leader who believes in honesty, hard work and success. She plans on having an impact on many young people’s lives, particularly in sexual and reproductive health, and hopes to see a decrease in teenage pregnancy in her community.
Elianne Magaña has completed coursework in the Marine Biology program at the University of Belize and has volunteered with the Environmental Research Institute (ERI). Her volunteer work includes data collection, monitoring and data analysis of the marine environment along the Turneffe Atoll. She considers her work as a volunteer researcher to be vital in protecting the environment. Elianne has also worked at the Belmopan Medical Center as an Ob/Gyn assistant, providing postnatal care for patients. Her long term goal is to become the Minister of Natural Resources of Belize and work for the best interest of all citizens while maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Elianne was born in Havana, Cuba, and moved to Belize at the age of 3; her son’s name is Samer.
Christopher Vincent Reid is a public servant whose professional experience includes working at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture as an Assistant Land’s Officer. He has attended countless peer education sessions on various topics ranging from stigma and discrimination to safe sexual practices, and has been inspired to further build his capacity in the field. He is a founding member of the Belize Youth Empowerment for Change (BYEC), an NGO dedicated to improving the quality of life for young people. He is certified by REDCA+ in primary, secondary and home care for PLHIV, and is particularly passionate about doing his part in reversing the escalating HIV prevalence in Belize through peer education in vulnerable groups.
Jazmine Lino is always on the go and describes herself as being an active youth in her community. She was a participant in the UNDP/GOBelize Out of School Youth outreach program, where she became interested in sexual health. She enjoys writing, drawing, reading, cooking and farm living. Jazmine is a strong and confident individual as she continues to overcome obstacles and celebrate life and the experiences it has to offer. Her goal is to go back to school and study to become a counselor and assist teen single moms and other at-risk youth in her community.
Kyle Miller has worked at the Department of Youth Services in the Governance Unit in Belize City and has volunteered at various organizations that are youth service providers or work with young people, namely UNICEF and NCFC. Kyle has a passion when it comes to working with youth, whether it be for advocacy or personal and professional development. Kyle’s short-term goals include facilitating the development of a National Youth Council, a structure that will advocate for young people at both national and international levels. His long term goal is to continue empowering himself and others.
Kashieka Broaster’s professional experience includes working with RESTORE Belize as an assistant Human Development Officer. She has done volunteer work with agencies like UNICEF, Red Cross and Secondary Schools collaborating with RESTORE Belize. Her academic achievements included topping CXC examinations and maintaining herself on the Dean’s List at St. John’s Junior College and then at University of Belize. Kashieka’s long term goal is to receive a Master’s Degree in International Development with a special concentration in Conflict Resolution. She takes pride in working with communities as it facilitates the creation of programs and policies that are tailored to fit communities’ needs. Kashieka understands that there is a greater need for sexual health information in Belize; her passion for youth development and sexual and reproductive rights lies in reaching a younger audience and laying strong foundations about sexual and reproductive health.