The Youth Leadership in Sexual & Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven)—created and successfully implemented for over 15 years by GOJoven International at the Public Health Institute of Oakland, California, USA—was designed as a fellowship program that trains young leaders between the ages of 18 and 30 on a comprehensive set of information, skills, and competencies in the fields of Leadership, Program Design and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
GOJoven International ran the GOJoven Fellowship Program in Spanish from 2004 to 2012 in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. In 2010, GOJoven launched a new English-language program in Belize while continuing with the Spanish-language program in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico through 2012. Together they graduated 192 Fellows from 9 cohorts in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
The program was implemented by the Public Health Institute with primary funding from the Summit Foundation.
- To improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights programs, policies, and outcomes in Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Quintana Roo, Mexico, by developing the next generation of young leaders in the Mesoamerican region.
- To strengthen the capacity of organizations working locally to create lasting improvements in sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people in their countries.
As of 2019, GOJoven International and the GOJoven Alumni Associations have trained & graduated more than 400 young leaders and over 440 local organizations and government institutions to improve ASRHR. Teams of GOJoven Fellows from each country have designed and implemented 68 SRHR Leadership Action Plans reaching over 40,000 young people, and hundreds of organizations.
Theory of Change & Factsheets:
- GOJoven Fellowship Theory of Change
- GOJoven Scale-Up Infographic
- GOJoven Impact Factsheet
- GOJoven Evaluation Results Factsheet
Training Program (2004-2012):
In the Spanish-language training young leaders participated in approximately one month of full-time intensive training during the course of the fellowship year. The year-long training consisted of three 8-day regional trainings that convened Fellows from Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Quintana Roo, México. During the Fellowship year participants were also invited to participate in country meetings and related trainings and conferences, corresponding to their unique interests.
The GOJoven training methodology incorporates participatory strategies appropriate to the needs and interests of young leaders, including experiential approaches to leadership development using outdoor activities, theater, art and popular culture. GOJoven Fellows develop skills and knowledge in a culturally informed learning environment by building on their diverse life experiences to enhance their collaborative leadership skills, self-esteem, and commitment to ASRHR. Participants develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in a range of areas, including:
- Personal Leadership Development
- Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights
- Gender and Sexuality
- Strategic Thinking and Planning
- Program Management and Evaluation
- Policy Advocacy
- Media and Strategic Communications
- Conflict Resolution
- Community and Political Mobilization
- Population and Environment
- Information Technology
- Facilitation and Training
- Financial Management and Fundraising
Working in teams, GOJoven Fellows applied these skills in leadership, management and teamwork to design and implement a Leadership Action Plan (LAP), which addressed a specific ASRHR issue in their communities.
To learn more about the GOJoven training methodologies, check out the GOJoven Training Curriculum, recently published and downloadable in English on our website.
“I never imagined being a Fellow would have so many repercussions in my personal life… The project touched me and opened up my horizons.” – GOJoven Fellow
Training of Trainers (TOT) Process:
The GOJoven Model also included a rigorous Training of Trainer (TOT) process for GOJoven Alumni Fellows that graduated 43 program alumni as certified Advanced GOJoven Fellow Trainers. These advanced trainers became key allies to GOJoven International, helping to design and facilitate the training of successive cohorts of Fellows. GOJoven International trained an additional 30 Alumni Fellows in 2014 to specifically implement the GOJoven Training Curriculum. In turn, many of the TOT graduates and other Alumni Fellows acting as trainers helped shape the GOJoven Training Curriculum, published in English for the first time in 2020.
These experienced GOJoven trainers are now adapting and replicating our Curriculum in both Spanish and English to train larger cadres of youth and adolescents in their countries both within and outside of the independent GOJoven Alumni Associations. These GOJoven Alumni are available as certified in-country trainers to implement and adapt the GOJoven Training Curriculum in English and Spanish in partnership with other local and international institutions. They can be reached by contacting the GOJoven Alumni Associations.
Professional Development Component:
Alumni Fellows participate in continuous professional development opportunities that enhance their professional skills and knowledge. The professional development process uses a variety of methods, including coaching, mentoring, technical assistance, and regularly updated information on potential academic scholarships, study tours, and conferences. Fellows receive funds to implement a personal development activity during their fellowship year and Alumni Fellows have the opportunity to receive financial support to participate in training courses and conferences, based on program approval. Alumni Fellows have participated in a number of key international events, including:
- Central American Congress on HIV (CONCASIDA)
- Clinton Global Initiative University
- Digital Storytelling Workshop
- Global Health Council Conference
- Sierra Club Sex and Environment Campus Tours
- United Nations Climate Change Conference Youth Delegation
- Women Deliver Conference
- Conference on Population and Development
“GOJoven has done more than impact my life – it has changed it almost completely. Thank you!” – GOJoven Fellow
GOJoven Fellowship Scale-Up:
In 2011-2013, GOJoven International supported the GOJoven Alumni Fellows to create their own, independently-run organizations that currently operate in their home countries. They are the GOJoven Belize Alumni Association, GOJoven Guatemala Association, GOJoven Honduras Association, and GOJoven México (Mexico y Caribe Jóvenes A.C.). They are now adapting and replicating the GOJoven Fellowship Model in both Spanish and English to train larger cadres of youth and adolescents in their countries. Learn more at: GOBelize | GOJoven Honduras | GOJoven Guatemala | GOJoven Mexico.
Since its inception in 2004 and its scale-up through the GOJoven Alumni Associations in 2013, the GOJoven Fellowship has built an influential network of hundreds of young leaders to advance adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights (ASRHR) among their peers, their organizations, and their communities in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Quintana Roo, Mexico.