On November 29th, eleven new youth leaders graduated from the year-long GOBelize leadership development program in sexual and reproductive health. Thanks to this newest graduating cohort, local youth in Belize now know where to go to access sexual and reproductive health services in their communities and will soon have the opportunity to learn about sexually transmitted infections (STI) and how to communicate about this sensitive topic with their families.
These two youth-led initiatives are the result of two separate Leadership Action Plans (LAPs) developed by the program participants during the program; giving the youth leaders the opportunity to apply the concepts they learned through trainings and gain direct experience in program design and implementation.
The LAPs are just one facet of the program. Over the course of a year, youth participants received in-depth training covering a range of topics related to sexual and reproductive health, program planning and leadership, including: the specific needs of youth related to sexual and reproductive health resources, family planning, evidence-based sexual education, budgets and financial planning and public speaking and presentation skills.
The graduation ceremony, which came at the end of the fourth and final training for the year, recognized the dedication of these youth to improving adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights programs, policies and outcomes in Belize. These newest graduates will now be part of the larger network of over 40 Belizean youth who are known as GOBelize Fellows. When fellow Jenna Hoare was asked what she gained from her participation in the GOJoven program, she said “Respect for other persons’ personal values and beliefs”.
Congratulations to this group of amazing youth adolescent sexual and reproductive health leaders!