GOJoven International, PHI’s flagship adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) program, was specially invited by the Colombian Ministry of Health to present its award winning GOJoven Model and outcomes at the IV National Forum on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, held September 22-23, 2016, in Bogotá, Colombia.
The government of Colombia is interested in partnering with GOJoven International to replicate the GOJoven Model as a part of Colombia’s adolescent pregnancy prevention national strategy. The country’s Ministry of Health began discussing the potential collaboration following a presentation by GOJoven’s Founder and Director Esther Tahrir at a regional meeting about Family Planning and the Zika Epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean in June 2016, where she highlighted GOJoven’s unique Youth Leadership Development approach to improving AYSRH. That meeting was held in Lima, Perú, under the auspices of the IBP Initiative and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).
Colombia’s IV National Forum on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention brought together over 100 participants from across the Colombia, including government, UN, and non-governmental organizations and a diverse group of youth and adolescent leaders who are spearheading efforts with their peers to reduce adolescent pregnancy in their municipalities. Susanna Moore, GOJoven International’s Project Coordinator, and Esther Barajas, GOJoven Guatemala’s Board President and GOJoven alumni fellow, were the featured international guests at the Forum. They shared the GOJoven experience through a high-level panel addressing: “Transformational Participation: Experiences of Adolescents and Youth”, which garnered the interest of participants from across sectors, including Colombia’s National Intersectoral Commission for the Promotion and Guarantee of Sexual and Reproductive Rights.
The National Commission brings together representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, the Presidential Office, the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, the National Learning Service, UNFPA, UNICEF and PAHO, among others. Their mission is to harmonize the country’s sexual and reproductive rights-related plans, programs and interventions with their National Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy, while uplifting youth and adolescents both as partners and beneficiaries. GOJoven’s leaders are liaising with the Commission to share strategies and determine how the GOJoven Model could be scaled up from Central America and Mexico to Colombia and used to further strengthen and enhance the Commission’s ongoing work with local populations of youth leaders in the field of AYSRH.
The objective of the Forum was to create a space for analysis and reflection on national and international strategies for promoting adolescent pregnancy prevention. It took place during the Andean Week of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, which was celebrated in Colombia from September 19-30, 2016, with a range of public events aimed to build awareness around and promote strategies for reducing unplanned adolescent pregnancy. This year’s theme was “Sexuality without Mystery. Dispelling Myths and Exercising your Rights!”