As part of our mission to develop and support young leaders and their organizations to advance adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights (ASRHR), in tandem with its signature Fellowship Program, GOJoven International conducted a multi-year Institutional Strengthening (IS) process. Through this process, our program aimed to increase the capacity of pivotal local organizations to support ASRHR and growing youth leadership.
From 2006-2012, GOJoven provided local organizations –both the organizations of the GOJoven Fellows themselves and other organizations working in their communities– with tailored technical assistance, training and institutional support to increase their effectiveness in advancing ASRHR and youth engagement in the region. GOJoven provided this support through IS workshops with over 1,500 individuals representing 430 organizations, as well as 43 grants to qualifying participant organizations.
Summary of Projects
To support this Institutional Strengthening (IS) process, from 2006-2012 GOJoven International received targeted funds from the Summit Foundation and the World Bank. In addition to funding the IS workshops, a significant portion of these funds went directly to provide grants to strengthen 43 innovative organizations that work with youth leaders to improve ASRHR in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Quintana Roo, Mexico.
The objective of these grants was to strengthen the capacity of small- and medium-sized organizations in these countries to respond to the need for education, services, and information for adolescents in the region. Each grantee organization developed a project proposal demonstrating how they would utilize their IS funds toward this end.
It is our pleasure to share just a few highlights from these Institutional Strengthening projects:
Asociación Jóvenes en Movimiento
(Youth in Action, AJEM)
Project Title: Youth Without Borders to Improve Sexual and Reproductive Health
Goal: Strengthen the capacity of the executive body of the Asociación Jóvenes en Movimiento (AJEM, or “Youth in Action”) as well as its programs and projects, within the scope of the institution’s strategic plan for 2012 to 2015, in order to improve sexual and reproductive health (SRH) among adolescents and youth in Honduras.
- Update knowledge surrounding SRH, leadership, and communication skills of the facilitator team of AJEM through participatory outdoor recreational activities (5 modules) in order to strengthen the community interventions for local youth in 2012.
- Provide in-kind financial and technical support to cover administrative and operative costs in 2012 in order to meet the proposed program goals and objectives.
Results and Products:
- 10 youth volunteers (5 men, 5 women) trained in SRH and communication skills; pre-post test results showed an increase in SRH knowledge among the participants
- 147 SRH workshops for youth ages 12-24
- 20 antistigma events
- 7,872 youth (approx. 50% female, 50% male) exposed to SRH and human rights materials
- AJEM updated its SRH and human rights curriculum and intervention manual
- The youth who were exposed to SRH materials during community interventions know the correct use of the male condom
Integration of Youth Leadership: The general assembly, executive board and all AJEM staff are less than 30 years old.
Alianza de Jóvenes por Honduras *
(Youth Alliance for Honduras)
Project Title: Strengthening Positive and Purposeful Leaders
Goal: Strengthen technical and administrative capacity of Alianza de Jóvenes por Honduras ("Youth Alliance for Honduras") to systematically advocate to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) in the municipality of Puerto Cortes.
- Finalize the legal constitution of the Alianza de Jóvenes por Honduras during a three-month period in 2013.
- Systematize the operational and administrative processes of the organization by creating a manual of procedures during a three-month period in 2013.
- Increase knowledge of SRH proposal-writing among 25 youth ages 18 to 30, through a training seminar in the first four months of 2013.
- Increase the commitment of civil society and government organizations to institutionalize services for adolescents during 2013.
Results and Products: The organization is currently implementing the project.
* Funded by USAID and implemented by Creative Associates International
Asociación de Servicios Comunitarios de Salud
(Community Health Services Association, ASECSA)
Project Title: Youth Power: Disseminating youth programs in community organizations
Goal: Indigenous youth and adolescents are more informed, empowered, and have more decision-making abilities surrounding sexual and reproductive health (SRH); ASECSA’s partner programs implement political advocacy and youth development activities as intentional actors in community health (specifically to meet the needs of adolescents and youth) during 2012.
- Contribute to an improvement in SRH of 125 adolescents and youth of the five target regions of ASECSA (Center, Western, Baja Verapaz, Northeastern, and Petén) through training activities that develop participants’ knowledge and abilities in negotiation, power, decision-making, gender, pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexual and reproductive rights (SRR).
Results and Products:
- ASECSA trained 234 adolescents and youth (53% female and 47% male) and 61 educators (50% female, 50% male) across the five target regions of Guatemala
- The trained educators reported that it had previously been very difficult to address SRH topics in local schools, and that it is their responsibility (as the principal actors in adolescent education at the community level) to increase their own knowledge about SRH and SRR
- ASECSA held three workshops focusing on building SRH skills and knowledge, with 90% of ASECSA’s Youth Commission participating, representing all five target regions in Guatemala
- In each of the five target regions, ASECSA held advocacy activities that exposed local residents to topics such as violence against women, HIV and advanced HIV, passing out flyers and bulletins during each activity to disseminate information among the locals
Integration of Youth Leadership: ASECSA included youth issues as a major theme of its strategic plan, such that youth issues will be considered in every institutional activity during the next period covered by the strategic plan. This ensures that adolescents will be strategic actors in youth development at the community and national levels.
Red de Jóvenes para La Incidencia Política
(Youth Network for Political Advocacy, Incidejoven)
Project Title: Strengthening the Citizenship and Leadership of Youth in Guatemala
Goal: The project seeks to strengthen the capacity of Incidejoven to promote and defend sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) with an emphasis on access to comprehensive sex education and health services for youth and adolescents in the departments of Huehuetenango, Totonicapán, Sololá, Quiche, Chimaltenango and Escuintla, Guatemala, as well as strengthening youth sexual citizenship.
- Strengthen youth political participation through the National Network of Correspondents of Incidejoven, and generate knowledge in sexual citizenship and political advocacy.
- Create a network of youth educators in comprehensive sex education using the peer training method.
- Promote compliance with SRR by holding advocacy and social auditing activities.
- Strengthen the institutional capacity of Incidejoven to promote and defend SRR.
Results and Products:
- Incidejoven trained students in local schools about SRR, the human body, sex and sexuality, contraceptives, HIV, youth citizenship, political participation, and gender perspectives
- Incidejoven trained 1,200 youth facilitators from local youth-friendly spaces and health services in the implementation of the Sex Education Manual for Life: A generational challenge
- Incidejoven made diagnostic visits to local organizations and institutions to learn about the current practices in implementing the Family Planning Law and the “Prevent Through Education” ministerial declaration
- the diagnostic visits showed a lack of political will and risk of set-backs in compliance with the Family Planning Law and the “Prevent Through Education” declaration
Integration of Youth Leadership: Incidejoven has created a Youth Leaders School, “to promote a sexual and reproductive rights agenda in public policies;” the school guarantees the generational renewal of Incidejoven staff, thus strengthening the youth perspective and youth participation in the organization.
Servicio Educación Sexualidad y Salud
(Service, Education, Sexuality, and Health, SEEDSSA, A.C.)
Quintana Roo, México
Project Title: Comprehensive Humanist Sexuality Center for Adolescents and Youth, CHISPAS.
Goal: Through the CHISPAS project, SEEDSSA seeks to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) in Benito Juárez, Quintana Roo, through a reduction in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and unintended pregnancy.
- Strengthen SEEDSSA’s local and national recognition as a leading sex education and SRH organization in Quintana Roo.
- Remain at the forefront in creating SRH educational materials to benefit adolescents and youth in Quintana Roo.
- Help ensure implementation of public policies and programs relating to SRH education and sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) education in Quintana Roo.
- Promote the sustainability of SEEDSSA.
Results and Products:
- SEEDSSA remains at the forefront of sex education, benefiting 2,924 adolescents and youth ages 12 to 26 in Quintana Roo in 2012.
- SEEDSSA’s health center provided care to 1,567 people, of which:
- 59% sought advice/information about SRH
- 41% sought medical attention concerning SRH
- 40% visited the center for the first time upon recommendation from a friend who had visited SEEDSSA
- 82% of health consultations were provided to women
- Of the 1,567 people who sought health services, there was a 40% increase from the year 2011 in the number of visitors who came specifically to prevent unintended pregnancy, STIs and HIV/AIDS
- SEEDSSA has a strategic plan, created with the technical assistance of an expert in strategic planning and an expert in institutional strengthening, that will guide the organization’s actions for the next five years, which will help SEEDSSA achieve its long-term sustainability goals
Integration of Youth Leadership: Youth leaders are involved in all activities of the organization, including planning, communications and media, educational activities, dramatic theater presentations, and political advocacy.
Asociación TAN UX´IL
(We Are Growing Association)
Project Title: Institutional Strengthening for TAN UX’IL Association to Provide Specialized SRH Services to Adolescents and Youth in the Petén Department of Guatemala
Goal: By the end of the project, TAN UX’IL will have increased its capacity submit competitive and innovative proposals in adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) as well as increased its visibility to potential donors and allies, both locally and internationally.
- Increase the internal capacity of TAN UX’ IL to diversify funding and increase financial sustainability of its ASRH programs and projects.
- Improve internal monitoring and systematization processes in the implementation of projects and programs, allowing for effective internal and external accountability and organizational decision-making through the analysis and dissemination of impact results.
- Use TAN UX’IL’s programs (especially the Yeny Mendoza Leadership Academy, YMLA) to promote healthy lifestyles and responsible sexual behavior in adolescents and youth in the 13 municipalities of Petén by improving access to ASRH information, education, leadership and high-quality services with a focus on gender.
Results and Products:
- TAN UX’IL has used its staff training plan to train personnel in political advocacy techniques to address ASRH.
- TAN UX’IL gathered baseline data regarding the current ASRH situation in local schools that are participating in the “Let’s Talk Seriously, Education without Mystery” campaign, in order to measure knowledge levels before and after the campaign is implemented
- The following services were provided at TAN UX’IL’s Youth Services Clinic in 2012:
- Gynecology, Obstetrics, Psychology, Nutrition: 3,213 total services
- 1,015 obstetric services for pregnant adolescents
- 12 adolescents received psychological services and counselling in ASRH
- 93 adolescents and youth participated in a youth camp held for the different communities and municipalities of Petén, where participants increased their knowledge in ASRH, shared best practices from their communities, and discussed the state of the community/municipal network.
Integration of Youth Leadership: TAN UX’IL is characterized by youth leadership such that the staff who direct projects are youth and adolescents who have been part of the Youth Facilitator network, or are graduates of the YMLA, and have demonstrated strong ASRH leadership.