- Stephen Daniel DiazStephen 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 Ne...
GOJoven Fellows in Honduras announced today that they plan to form their own NGO in the coming year. This exciting news came on the heels of the annual meeting of GOJoven Honduras Fellows, held last week from September 26 to 28. Thirty-five GOJoven Fellows from different regions of Honduras met in the Hotel Molina 2 in the City of La Ceiba to talk about the 2014-2017 Plan of Action for GOJoven Honduras.
Representatives of various partner organizations funded and directed by GOJoven Fellows also attended the meeting, including the Association for Young Women, Project Gritón, the Movement Youth Association, and Youth Alliance of Honduras. On the first day, the various groups talked about health issues, youth, and current Honduran laws and policies.
On the second day, the GOJoven Fellows discussed names and logistics for the soon-to-be operational local GOJoven organization, the focus of which is the development of youth in Honduras. The fellows decided that GOJoven Honduras will be the name of their non-governmental agency. The fellows also elected the board of directors for the 2013-2014 year and agreed to have an annual meeting every September to elect new board members. Furthermore, the board decided to meet once more November 15th, 2013 to talk, vote, and approve the yearly budget for 2014.
The decision to form an NGO represents a tremendous step forward for GOJoven Honduras, which until now has consisted of an unincorporated network of graduates of PHI’s Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven). With the conclusion of the annual meeting, GOJoven Honduras prepares to launch a new era as an organization led by young GOJoven Fellows.
GOJoven Fellows organize First National Youth Conference for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Guatemala City
Yesterday the City of Guatemala hosted the First National Youth Conference for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Approximately 175 youth and over 25 different civil organizations in Guatemala met at the Holiday Inn of Zone 10, in the City of Guatemala, to exchange their experiences in the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and present their proposed solutions to the Guatemalan government. Nine GOJoven Fellows helped organize and facilitate the event and 10 beneficiaries from the GOJoven Fellows’ Leadership Action Plans attended to share their experiences in SRHR.
Attorney Tracie Saravia, AGALI/PHI Fellow, from the Collective Youth Revolution and Juan Pablo Escalante, GOJoven/PHI Fellow, inaugurated the conference and emphasized the need to listen to youth in the creation and implementation of public policies to improve access to sexual education and SRH services. Some of the attendees represented various Guatemalan authorities and international entities, including Dr. Ludy Rodas, National Program Coordinator of Reproductive Health, Dr. Gustavo Batres from the Public Health Ministry and Social Assistance, Ana Luisa Rivas, Guatemalan UNFPA Representative, Christian Skoog, Guatemalan UNICEF Representative, and Kathy Hall, Program Officer at the Summit Foundation.
The youth attendees of the conference met in five simultaneous round-tables facilitated by youth groups to talk about SRHR, teen pregnancy, HIV and sexual violence. Today, September 25th, the youth participants will present their proposed solutions to the Guatemalan government.
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.
by Gabriela Flores, GOJoven graduate
The Sixth General Assembly of Latin American and Caribbean Youth for Sexual and Reproductive Rights- REDLAC– took place in Quito, Ecuador from September 5th to the 8th, 2013.
REDLAC is a regional collective of autonomous youth organizations working to defend and promote sexual and reproductive rights in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is currently comprised of organizations and youth from seven countries working in the Latin American and Caribbean region (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico).
During the first two days of the Assembly, participants met to carry out an analysis of youth participation in the 20-year review process of the International Conference on Population and Development known as Cairo+20.
On both days REDLAC met with the political committee, the Ecuadorian Alliance of Youth on the Road to Cairo+20, who shared their national experience of becoming a youth platform and participating in the Cairo process.
Also, thanks to REDLAC, people from Honduras, México, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia are involved in reviewing the Cairo agreements.
Gabriela Flores made a presentation to the group on the context, advances, challenges and predictions about the Central American Cairo+20 process. Central American reviewers of Cairo+20 hope that REDLAC’s work in El Salvador and Honduras, and work done through the GOJoven program in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Quintana Roo, Mexico, will be strengthened during this process.
During the meeting in Quito, REDLAC defined its one-year Action Plan, including key actions to support the national Cairo+20 monitoring processes. Other topics include the Post-2015 Agenda and feminist endeavors like the September 28 Campaign for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America, the Campaign for a Convention on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, CLADEM (Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights) and regional and international events in the coming months related to youth, feminism and SRHR.
Five GOJoven fellows attended the First Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo, Uruguay, this August 12-15, 2013. The conference was organized by the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Attendees from GOJoven were: Wendy Aguilar and Gabriela Flores from Honduras, Wilson Campa and Ingrid Galvez from Guatemala, and Nancy Leiva and Stephen Diaz from Belize.
Before the meeting itself, Fellows took part in a political advocacy training session organized by IWHC, Resurj, DAWN and the Youth Coalition. During the training, participants studied which delegations represented Caribbean or Latin American governments during the ECLAC conference. Participants in the training analyzed the CAIRO+20 resolution, and selected topics that needed to be revised and modified in order to be approved at the ECLAC conference and the delegation debates.
When revising and adapting the resolutions, participants focused on: gender equality, universal access to SRH services, the rights, needs, responsibilities, and requirements of girls, boys, adolescents and youth, and the rights of indigenous women and Afro-descendants. Participants joined an official group (communications, political advocacy, language, or monitoring). Each group had separate responsibilities for during and after the conference.
For Nancy Leiva, one of the most striking moments was when she realized the importance of recognizing civil society organizations. Nancy, as president of the board of directors of GOBelize, GOJoven’s Graduate Association, was chosen to take part in the Belizean National Delegation, and thus represent a section of civil society:
“I realized that civil society organizations are taken for granted throughout the region, and only a few were represented in each country’s National Delegation.”
Nancy and her co-delegates kept in communication with people who were not able to participate in the debate because they weren’t members of the National Delegation. Thanks to this internal communication, these groups were able to advocate for youth, women, and other marginalized groups’ rights with the most conservative National Delegations.
For Ingrid Galvez, being able to influence the discourse was one of the most important achievements of the conference. Participants used carefully chosen terms, for example, sexual rights and reproductive rights were separated into two different entities.
Ingrid and her colleagues defined the top priority areas for intervention for advocacy work in the region, and, in turn, Guatemala. Ingrid said:
“The chance to be part of a team with wide experience in advocacy processes and with different approaches and different views of the situation in the region really broadens and clarifies ways of providing interventions to strengthen GOJoven and work to improve sexual and reproductive health in my department and community. From the global to the local level, [it’s a] different, more effective way of advocating.”
The document that came out of the conference was the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development. For the most part, the GOJoven Fellows were pleased with the consensus although some conference participants felt it lacked certain stipulations. For example, it did not include the abolishment of forced sterilization of women in the Caribbean, nor the decriminalization of homosexuality. Furthermore, the document gives each government the right to choose whether to execute, or not, any part of the consensus, according to that country’s laws and legislation.
On the other hand, the consensus does contain several stipulations that consider sexual rights and reproductive rights in a more comprehensive way. The consensus urges governments to revise their abortion laws, given the evidence of maternal mortality related to clandestine abortions. The consensus also mentions access to friendly services for youth, respect for confidentiality, and coercion-free decision-making regarding reproductive health and expression of sexuality.
GOJoven Fellows plan to disseminate the information and tools they picked up at the conference through GOJoven’s national networks.
In Belize, Nancy will share the advocacy strategies she learned at the conference with the GOBelize network in their October 2013 political advocacy training. They plan to use the media, including radio and TV shows, to carry out their advocacy strategy.
In Guatemala, Ingrid and Wilson are also planning to share lessons from the conference with Guatemala’s national GOJoven network. At the conference, they saw the tools they took away used practically to great effect, and which will need to be included in GOJoven’s own advocacy plan, as ways to strengthen the organizational structure, increase legitimacy, negotiation capacity, appropriate language, visualize problems and the tools to overcome them, and to increase the sense of teamwork. Wilson is also a member of the promotional group for the CAIRO+20 resolution at a national level; on August 23rd, they will create an action plan to monitor the agreements reached by official government representatives and how the agreements from the ECLAC conference are implemented.
Thanks to their participation in this meeting in Montevideo, GOJoven Fellows became more aware of the opportunities available through their national networks, and that they are working towards the same goals. They know that it will be important to establish alliances, and increase GOJoven’s visibility among other organizations, decision-makers, and donors at a national and regional level.
The following Consensus was written by representatives of countries participating in the first session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Montevideo, Uruguay, from August 12-15, 2013. The central topic of this first session was the Program of Action from the International Conference on Population and Development +2014, with the objective of examining its progress in Latin America and the Caribbean in the last 20 years. Participants identified the fundamental measures to reinforce the implementation of the Program of Action, with emphasis on emerging population and development issues, human well-being and dignity, and the sustainability of the Program of Action.
Download the Consensus here: 2013-Montevideo Consensus
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!
Please enjoy reading the GOBelize News Bulletin! Subscribe to the bulletin (instructions on page 4) to keep up to date with events, announcements, and important achievements from the GOBelize Alumni Association. Click to download the April 2013 GOBelize bulletin (PDF).