GOJoven Fellows Participate in Women Deliver

Cinthia Interian Varguez, Elmer Cornejo and Kathy Hall

Cinthia Interian Varguez, Elmer Cornejo and Kathy Hall

Congratulations to Iris Reyes (Belize 2011), Errol Longsworth (Belize 2011), and Elmer Cornejo (Belize 2009) for being awarded full-scholarships to attend the Women Deliver Conference being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 28-30, 2013. The conference will bring together over 5,000 global participants who will take part in 120 concurrent sessions focused on creating a better world for girls and women.

The trio provides continuity to GOJoven’s involvement in supporting Women Deliver’s mission to create equality for women and girls around the world. In June 2012 Elmer Cornejo and Cinthia Interian (Mexico 2010) participated in Women Deliver’s Latin American and the Caribbean Consultation on Maternal Health in Mexico City where they provided valuable feedback on the realities women and girls face in their countries.

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GOJoven’s 2nd Digital Storytelling Workshop

(Clockwise top left) Roberto Morales, Nekisha Lima, Jacinta Chan Pech, Gabriela Flores, Jorge Lopez, Gladys Puc, Allison Meyer, Errol Longsworth, Julia Zeuli, Andrea Spagat

(Clockwise top left) Roberto Morales, Nekisha Lima, Jacinta Chan Pech, Gabriela Flores, Jorge Lopez, Gladys Puc, Allison Meyer, Errol Longsworth, Julia Zeuli, Andrea Spagat

The second GOJoven Digital storytelling Workshop took place July 28 to 31 in San Ignacio, Belize. The Center for Digital Storytelling facilitated the four-day workshop with the assistance of two Alumni Fellows, Roberto Morales (Guatemala 2005) and Jacinta Chan Pech (Mexico 2008) as well as Julia Zeuli from PHI. During the first three days of the workshop, five new GOJoven Alumni had the opportunity to develop their own digital stories using their personal narrative, fixed images and video clips. The last day of the workshop, the team participated in a session where they provided their input on the creation of a Training and Advocacy Manual that will provide a new tool to improve the SRH of adolescents and youth using digital stories.

Stay tuned for the new GOJoven Digital Storytelling manual and DVD that will be coming to you soon!

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First National Survey of the Lesbian, Gay and Transexual Community in Mexico

Marco Antonio Toh (México 2005), director of the Human Rights unit for the Attorney General of Quintana Roo, México, assisted in the coordination of the first national survey on discrimination against the lesbian, gay and transexual community. According to the survey, which was conducted via email to 1,273 lesbian, gay and transexual youth over the age of twelve, 75% of the respondents had suffered some type of abuse in school because of their sexual orientation. High school is the main place where homophobic bullying takes place.

To learn more about the survey:

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“Like” our new Facebook Page

GOJoven’s resource team has a new Facebook page. It will provide program updates and news; links to professional opportunities; photos and much more. This is a great way to stay in touch with the entire GOJoven family. Please check it out and “like” our new page.

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Lemuel Vega participates in COP 17 Climate Change Youth Advisory Board in Durban, South Africa

lemuel_mexico_2009Lemuel Vega (Mexico 2009) participated in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa as a member of Advocates for Youth’s (AFY) climate change youth advisory board.  As a board member, Lemuel blogged about his experience at the conference, this included interviews with delegates from South Africa and Brazil on their work on climate change and sexual and reproductive rights. He also met with Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFECC), regarding the feedback provided by several GOJoven Fellows on the COP 17 Global Youth Support Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policy Statement.

During COP 17, Lemuel helped organize and implement an action on World AIDS Day that creatively captured the global effects of HIV/AIDS.  Participants wore read and played with a globe to illustrate how we are playing with our future by not paying closer attention to the consequences of HIV/AIDS.

To read Lemuel’s blog entries:

Lemuel’s World AIDS Day action:

World AIDS Day at COP17

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Daisy Magaña presents at the International Family Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal

Daisy MagañaDaisy Magaña (Belize 2009) received a full scholarship from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to attend the International Family Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal. While at the conference, Daisy participated in a panel discussion on the connection between SRH and the environment; presented in a session on improving SRH in Latin America; and met with various organizations, including Johns Hopkins, Restless Development (a youth-lead development agency in Zimbabwe), Sonke Gender Network (in South Africa), Population Action, Pathfinder, and the Population Reference Bureau.

Daisy was featured in an article on the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ website, along with fellow panelist from the SRH and environment session, which included Population Action International’s vice president of research and director of the climate program, Sierra Club’s global population and environment program director and Worldwatch Institute’s president. The article highlights Daisy’s simple message when it comes to advocating for sexual and reproductive rights and the environment: Don’t give up.

To read the article:

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Wendy Aguilar’s Documentary Nominated in the XIV Icaro Film Festival

Wendy Aguilar (Honduras 2007) participated in the XIV Icaro Film Festival, which took place in Guatemala City, November 24 to December 1, 2011. Wendy did the cinematography for the film “En mis Tacones” (In My Heels) which was nominated for best Central American documentary short. During the festival Wendy had the opportunity to bring awareness to the plight of the transgender community to a wide audience and mingle with other young film makers from the region.

“En mis Tacones”, is about the reality faced by the transgender community in Honduras after the June 2009 coup d’état. The film illustrates the violation of human rights, discrimination, political and military repression, assassinations and transphobia suffered by this community by highlighting the experiences of individual transgender women and men. You can watch the film on Youtube:


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GOJoven Country Representative in Honduras visits the U.S. to share her experience in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Human Rights

We are excited to announce that Vanessa Siliezar, GOJoven’s Country Representative for Honduras, was awarded the Central American Women’s Leadership Fellowship (CAWL) 2011 through iLEAP, The Center for Critical Service. This inspiring young leader traveled to Seattle, Washington in September 2011 for three months to participate in the fellowship’s intensive training program designed to strengthen and expand the leadership capacities of international social change leaders.  Check out this article to learn more about her experience.

While in the United States this fall, this passionate young advocate traveled to Los Angeles on November 4th to present on her work on promoting human rights and sexual and reproductive rights in Honduras at the Western Regional Feminist Campus Leadership Conference hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation. There, she shared her unique experience working for GOJoven in Latin America. “I spoke with campus leaders about my experience in Honduras,” she said. “I told them that young women in my country can make a difference. Family planning is very important in a region with a lot of violence against women, most of them young, who do not have the same access to education, health or freedom from violence.”

At the conference, Siliezar engaged in a discussion with an audience of over one hundred and forty young feminists from university campuses around California about the reality of being a feminist and a Latina from Honduras. “For me, it was a great opportunity to share with other young women of Latino background,” she said. “Our parents don’t like having a daughter as a feminist, lesbian or women’s rights activist. We share this problem in Honduras, when we dare to name ourselves ‘feminists.’”

Siliezar said that despite the enormous barriers she faces living in a conservative religious nation, she continues advocating for increased access to contraception and HIV/AIDS services, equal rights for women, and a society free of violence against women. It helps that she brings a deep passion, commitment and courage to this mission.

Following her visit to Los Angeles, Siliezar traveled to PHI’s headquarters in Oakland where she presented to PHI staff members on her work. In this presentation, Siliezar also discussed the current situation in Honduras with regard to Human Rights and Sexual and Reproductive Rights and how PHI’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs have supported these movements in Honduras. 

 On November 23rd, Vanessa also visited the Oakland office of U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, where she met with Senior Congressional Aide Daniela Quintanilla. Vanessa described for Quintanilla the critical importance of the work GOJoven fellows do building support for international reproductive health in Latin America, including Honduras. Vanessa also expressed her own admiration for Representative Lee’s advocacy in Congress on support of U.S. Government funding for international reproductive health, as well as global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.


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2006 Guatemala Fellow José Roberto Luna presents at Funders Network annual meeting in Santa Cruz, California

José Roberto Luna, a 2006 GOJoven graduate, traveled to Santa Cruz, California to present at the Funders Network on Population Reproductive Health and Rights annual meeting in November 2011.  José Roberto participated in a plenary session on youth leadership and engagement, sharing his success working in Reproductive Health and Rights issues in Guatemala, including his work as founder of Incidejoven, a youth network that advocates for comprehensive sexual education, access to sexual health services for youth, and the right to decide.  The California GOJoven office was also excited to host a brown bag forum for José Roberto beforehand, where he could meet Public Health Institute staff, and discuss his latest leadership at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as a consultant in Education and Youth issues in Guatemala, promoting the youth perspective, sexual and reproductive rights and youth participation in political spaces.

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2010 Mexico Team opens youth friendly space in Jose Maria Morelos

On September 16, 2011, the GOJoven 2010 Mexico Team, made up of Santos Fuentes, Carlos Estrella, Cinthia Interian, Gladys Puc, and Zuemy Beatriz Alvarado, made their Leadership Action Plan a reality with the opening of Kanantaba, a new youth friendly space in Jose Maria Morelos.  The goal of Kanantaba, which means “Take care of yourself” in Mayan, is to provide sexual and reproductive health information to youth ages 13-25. See the GOJoven Mexico Facebook Page for more information and photos of the grand opening.  Congratulations on this fabulous accomplishment! 


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