During the most recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week in New York, Joseline Velásquez, GOJoven Guatemala Alumna Fellow and staff member, was invited by Girls Not Brides to speak at the Ford Foundation event “Supporting Communities to End Child Marriage” to present the results of the GOJoven Guatemala project against forced unions. The event was held to provide an open space for government representatives, advocates, nonprofit organizations, and funders to meet, network, and find new avenues of collaboration to end child marriage. Since 2018, GOJoven Guatemala has been a member of the “Latin American and Caribbean Initiative to Prevent and Address Early Unions Among Adolescents and Girls,” a regional network promoted by CAMY Fund to address the impact of early unions on young adolescent girls regionally. GOJoven Guatemala was one of the few featured partners leading successful grassroots projects invited to speak.
For the past two years, Joseline has served as co-leader on GOJoven Guatemala’s CAMY Fund-supported project to eliminate child marriage in 5 departments in the country. She has spoken on their work at other high-level international events, including the Central American Donors Forum (CADF) in Panama City in 2017. Notably, Joseline’s participation at events like the CADF and now UNGA has solidified GOJoven Guatemala’s reputation as a regional expert in the prevention of forced unions. During her presentation, Joseline highlighted GOJoven Guatemala’s advocacy agenda in this space at both the national and municipal level. The organization has led active youth participation in congressional hearings, as well as discussions with community leaders and delegates to ensure that policies regarding forced unions are implemented both accurately and within the communities that are most affected by this issue.
Here at the Public Health Institute and GOJoven International we are proud of Joseline’s and GOJoven Guatemala’s strong efforts to support communities in putting an end to child marriage, and we look forward to their advocacy work in the upcoming year!