Esther Saraelle Tahrir, MPH
GOJoven Program Director
Esther is the PI Project Director for the Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven) where she provides the strategic direction, supervision, partnership building and fundraising and development leadership to ensure the success of Spanish Regional and English Pilot programs for Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and Belize. She founded GOJoven in 2003 and has worked for the past thirteen years at the Public Health Institute (PHI) directing multi-million dollar fellowship programs in sexual and reproductive health and rights for senior and emerging leaders globally. She previously directed the International Family Planning Leadership Program (IFPLP) Latin America and contributed to IFPLP Africa and Asia. Ms. Tahrir runs the Summit Foundation Scholarship Fund for graduates of GOJoven and advises IHP/PHI’s Adolescent Girls Advocacy & Leadership Initiative in Latin America and Africa. Ms. Tahrir has worked and lived in Francophone and Anglophone West Africa, Guatemala and Mexico, is fluent in Spanish and French, and speaks basic Portuguese. She completed her undergraduate work in Community Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz with honors and received a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of California Berkeley where she was honored with the Henrik L. Blum Award for Distinguished Social Action and was student elect to the Faculty Council and School Strategic Planning Committee.
Susanna Moore, MA
GOJoven Program Manager
Susanna serves as Program Manager for the Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven). She manages and oversees all aspects of GOJoven’s activities, including grantmaking and technical assistances to grantee organizations, communications and marketing, monitoring and evaluation and reporting, public relations and fundraising. Susanna also works in partnership with other Public Health Institute (PHI) programs on collaborative funding proposals on the topic of sexual and reproductive health. She also serves as PHI’s Deputy Chair for the IBP Initiative, an international consortium that identifies and promotes evidence-based and proven effective practices to improve family planning/reproductive health outcomes worldwide. Prior to joining GOJoven and PHI, Susanna worked in Argentina at the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women-FEIM, an NGO promoting women’s and young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV prevention and the elimination of gender-based violence in Latin America and globally. Previously, she conducted Human Rights research with young people in Argentina as a University of Wisconsin Hilldale Fellow and studied international development and women’s rights in Ecuador through the University of Minnesota. She has also worked and volunteered with community health and education programs in the U.S., primarily serving immigrant populations. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Anthropology from the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Argentina and a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology, Latin American Studies and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Angel Luis Martinez
Angel has served as the Master Trainer for GOJoven since its inception, providing training, Training of Trainers (TOT) and technical assistance to allied agencies within the GOJoven countries. He is also the lead trainer for PHI’s California Adolescent Health Collaborative’s (CAHC) Healthy Relationships and Economic Pathways (H-REP) programs. Angel is an internationally recognized sex educator and trainer who from 1997 to 2000 coordinated the technical assistance program for the California Wellness Foundation’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Prior to this, he was a consultant to the California State Department of Health and Human Services at the Office of Family Planning’s Male Involvement Initiative. He has trained professionals and others working with young people throughout the United States and Latin America. Angel has a background of more than thirty years in the human services area. His work includes community organization and development, development of training design and curricula, community health, and family planning/population issues.
Eva Marisol Burgos
GOJoven Belize Executive Director
Eva is the Executive Director for GOJoven Belize Alumni Association (GOBelize) in Belmopan City, Belize. She became a GOJoven Fellow in 2004 and later served as the Country Representative and General Coordinator for the GOJoven Program in Belize. Eva graduated with honors from the University of Belize with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from University of West Indies Open Campus in Belize. She is a graduate of GOJoven Program’s Training of Trainer’s process and is currently the chairperson for National AIDS Commission, Belmopan Committee –a committee that works towards decreasing discrimination against people living with HIV. Eva collaborates with Belize’s Ministry of Health for the Health, Community, and Parenting Bureau (HECOPAB) to conduct Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights trainings to key health providers such as Community Health Workers (CHW) on topics, including family planning, emergency contraception, self-esteem, HIV/AIDS, gender, and evaluation to name a few. Eva has also served as the Lead Consultant in the Belizean Emergency Contraceptive Advocates (BECA) Project from the year 2007-2008 with the goal of mainstreaming EC in western Belize by building the capacity of key service providers. She has received additional trainings in community outreach, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, research methods and Human Rights. Eva is particularly passionate about her youth work and HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment and Sexual and Reproductive Rights.
Licda Nory Álvarez Betancourth
GOJoven Honduras Executive Director
Licda is currently the Executive Director of the GOJoven Honduras Association, of which she is a founding member. She was 25 years old when she became a GOJoven Fellow. Licda has a degree in Public Accounting and Finance from the National Autonomous University of Honduras and has worked for 13 years in the area of internal auditing. Licda is passionate about social justice issues and defending the rights of women, children, adolescents, and youth, especially in her volunteer work with youth from marginalized communities. She previously served as board member of the National Council of Honduran Youth Population (CONJUPH) during the period 2005-2010; represented the CONJUPH in the Alliance for Children, Adolescents and Youth; and participated in advocacy processes for the approval of the Framework Law on Youth and the creation of the National Youth Institute. Licda has also facilitated HIV/AIDS Prevention, Autism, and Women’s Rights campaigns and workshops, as well as projects with blind youth and helped to manage funds for projects for children and youth of the Col. Las Torres.
México y Caribe Jóvenes Executive Director
Ricardo is currently the Executive Director of Mexico y Caribe Jóvenes A.C. (GOJoven Mexico). He was selected as a GOJoven Fellow in 2011 at the age of 19, when he was serving as a volunteer at the NGO Red+Posithiva de Quintana Roo A.C., which focuses on HIV prevention, detection and care. Ricardo continued this work for over five years after he became a GOJoven Fellow. During his time as a volunteer with the organization he facilitated workshops on SRH, SRR, STIs and HIV for elementary, high school and university students, adults, rehabilitation centers, detention centers and the general public. He has extensive experience providing HIV tests and pre and post test counselling. He served as regional representative of REDJUVIH (Youth Network in Response to HIV) where he worked in collaboration with youth from the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatan, and coordinated a project in the Mayan area of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. He was “Gente Joven” Program Coordinator for the Mexican Foundation for Family Planning (MEXFAM) in 2015. As a result of his pursuits into other areas of interest as well, he aims to strengthen community work that contributes to sustainability, by using art, permaculture, Human Rights, and food sovereignty. Rooted in his personal philosophy, Ricardo defines his work by being for and with the community.
Jessica María Xon Ixtuc
GOJoven Guatemala, Interim Executive Director
Jessica is currently the Interim Executive Director for GOJoven Guatemala. She was 21 years old when she was selected as a GOJoven Fellow, while working as the Network Coordinator at the Municipal Office for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, where she followed up on reports of human rights violations of children and teenagers in Panajachel. Jessica graduated from Youth Networks, an organization that works in politics, environment and communications. She has served as Sexual and Reproductive Health Program Coordinator for Asociación Amigos de Santa Cruz, in Sololá. This young indigenous leader is currently studying Business Administration and is fluent in both Spanish and Kakchiquel. She has long aspired to start an organization with young graduates from Youth Networks, to benefit children and teenagers.
Former Resource Team Members
Josie Ramos, MA
Co-Founder & Former GOJoven Program Manager
During her more than fifteen year tenure at PHI, Co-founder Josie has fulfilled many roles within the GOJoven Program. She managed the GOJoven Belize pilot project, an English-language version of the GOJoven program replicated in Belize since 2011, and oversaw the advocacy component of the GOJoven Training Program, advising country teams on advocacy planning and implementation in Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Josie also took on the director role of GOJoven’s Summit Scholarship Fund, which supported the educational goals of 42 GOJoven Alumni during 10 years. Josie is currently the Director of Programs for PHI’s Rise Up program, a program that improves girls’ health, educational and economic opportunities, and human rights by strengthening the capacity of Central American and African advocates. Josie is also a certified sex educator and she has served on PHI’s Institutional Review Board for over a decade.
Denise Raquel Dunning, PhD
Co-Founder & Former Training Manager
As Co-Founder and Training Manager of GOJoven, Denise managed the GOJoven Fellowship training program, curriculum development process, and Training of Trainers (TOT) process. Currently, Denise is the Program Director of Rise Up, a PHI program that improves adolescent girls’ health, educational and economic opportunities, and human rights by strengthening the capacity of Latin American and African advocates. Before joining PHI, Denise previously worked in the Population Program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation on grantmaking and research in Mexico, India, Ethiopia, and the Philippines. Denise has served as a Fulbright Scholar in Honduras, working with the United Nations Development Program to implement hurricane relief efforts following Hurricane Mitch. Denise holds a doctoral degree in Sociology fromthe University of California Berkeley, where she conducted research on youth, gender, sexuality, and HIV prevention. She received a Masters in Public Affairs from the WoodrowWilsonSchool at PrincetonUniversity, where she focused on international development and health after graduating Summa Cum Laude from Duke University. Denise is a native Spanish speaker who also speaks French, Portuguese, and German.
Julia Zeuli, MPH
Former Regional Program Coordinator
Julia served as the Regional Program Coordinator for the International Health Program (IHP)’s GOJoven project at PHI. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras where she developed and coordinated health education workshops and trainings for youth focusing on sexual and reproductive health. While in Honduras she evaluated a national youth life skills and HIV/AIDS prevention pilot program for the Global Fund. Julia worked with the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter where she coordinated the international candidate program and conducted in-country evaluations of trainings and provided technical support to the Panamanian Red Cross and the Mexican Red Cross. Julia, a first generation bilingual/bicultural Spanish speaker raised by Nicaraguan parents, has spent her life advocating and working for social justice and equality. She received a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.
Ana Lourdes Tojin Mich
Founder and Immediate Past Executive Director, GOJoven Guatemala
Ana Lourdes served as Executive Director of GOJoven Guatemala since its founding in 2014 until 2019. She was 25 years old when she was selected as a GOJoven Fellow, while working for ALAS Association, an organization based in Antigua, Guatemala, that promotes sexual and reproductive health training in rural communities. Overcoming cultural obstacles and strong community pressure, Lourdes organized a family planning clinic and brought APROFAM’s (an IPPF affiliate) mobile sterilization unit to her hometown. She also served as Director of the Poder-Joven project at the Community Health Services Association (ASECSA). She graduated from the GOJoven Trainer of Trainers process and is a member of the Coordinating Committee for Guatemala’s ICPD+20 Advocacy Group. As a GOJoven alumna, she received a Summit Scholarship which helped her obtain her undergraduate degree in Social Work with an emphasis on Development Management, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Local Human Development and International Cooperation.
Immediate Past Executive Director, GOJoven Honduras
Jinna served as Executive Director of GOJoven Honduras from 2016-2018. She is a feminist leader in Human Rights and Sexual and Reproductive Rights training, management, research and advocacy processes in Honduras. She began participating in training opportunities led by GOJoven Honduras Fellows in 2013, which strengthened her focus on the defense of the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of adolescents and youth. She was certified as a trainer of trainers in the GOJoven model, is one of the national leaders in the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s Change Agents program, and participates in Central American Women’s Fund (FCAM) trainings. She is currently undertaking a Masters in Demography and Development, and has an undergraduate degree in Social Work as well as ten years of experience and commitment to working with the most vulnerable populations to defend their rights, especially adolescents and youth.
Founding Executive Director, GOJoven Honduras
Gabriela served as Founding Executive Director of GOJoven Honduras from 2014-2016. She was selected to be a GOJoven Fellow when she was 22 and was part of the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Initiative – AIR in 2009. She has served as Technical Secretariat for the Latin American and Caribbean Youth Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (REDLAC), where she took charge of the network’s communication strategy and IT management. Additionally, she founded the Young Women’s Association “Being a woman” (Ser Mujer) in Honduras. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Central American Women’s Fund (FCAM) and has worked as an advisor to the Secretary of Education where she developed an information system for the educational system. Gabriela is a lesbian feminist who participates in many forms of political advocacy, training, research and promotion of Women’s Human Rights and LGBT Rights.
Carlos Iván Can Estrella
Founder and Immediate Past Executive Director, México y Caribe Jóvenes
Carlos served as Founding Executive Director of Mexico y Caribe Jovenes (GOJoven Mexico) from 2014-2016. He was 27-years old when he was selected as a GOJoven Fellow. When he was selected he was the program coordinator for Youth Space, an artisan center for youth. He facilitated discussion groups with youth on various topics, including SRH. This active youth leader has experience starting up community association groups and in proposal writing. Carols believes that youth in his community need to be taught SRH because they are particularly vulnerable to STI’s since a lot of them have to leave the community to find work in the tourist areas. Carlos has a Master’s Degree in Social Anthropology, his goal is to continue his education and get a Doctorate Degree.
Rudy Ariel Felipe Pocop
Former Regional Program Administrator
Rudy served as the Regional Program Administrator for the Public Health Institute’s Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven). He has 12-years experience in the fields of Community Health and Environmental Studies. Rudy has worked in several different regions of Guatemala in the fields of Primary Health Care, Environmental Conservation, Health Advocacy and Disease Prevention. Rudy’s specific areas of expertise include training, program coordination, and the design, management and implementation of local development projects. Rudy has a Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering from Rural University of Guatemala. He loves playing basketball and football; snorkeling; listening to music and spending time with his family.
Claudia Vanessa Siliezar Turcios
Former Country Representative in Honduras
Vanessa served as GOJoven’s Country Representative in Honduras. She is a lawyer specializing in Criminal Law and has diplomas in Criminal and Procedural Rights Law. She was a fellow with the International Family Planning Leadership Program in 2005 and with the ILAE IHP/COMPTOM Foundation and volunteered with CEPROSAF on a program serving people living with HIV/AIDS and publicizing the special HIV/AIDS law to civil society. Vanessa has more than ten years experience in the area of gender-based violence and human rights. She has written articles on youth employment in Honduras and her latest collaboration was with the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid in 2009 on legal frameworks for preventing domestic violence in Central America. As a consultant, her work involves training young people and women on the north coast of the country, educating them on topics including: HIV/AIDS, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, diversity, leadership, and increasing social and political involvement of the most vulnerable sections of the country in national decision making. Vanessa teaches Law at the Central American Universidad Tecnológica (UNITEC) in La Ceiba. She has a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development from Alcalá de Henares University in Madrid, Spain.
Nayeli Karina De la Torre García
Former Country Representative in Mexico
Karina, GOJoven’s Country Representative in Mexico, was 28 years old when she was selected as a GOJoven Fellow. Karina holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from La Salle University, Mexico City. She holds certification in Institutional Strengthening and Fundraising, as well as Leadership and Management for Civil Society Organizations, and she was granted a scholarship from the Summit Foundation to pursue her Master’s in Social Marketing. Karina has worked for more than 15 years with non-profit organizations such as Greenpeace Mexico; Save the Children; Flora, Fauna, and Culture of Mexico; and Fondo Semillas, among others. In 2009, Karina was part of the Sierra Club Tour in 6 cities in the U.S., presenting on “Environment and Population, the case in Quintana Roo.” In the area of sexual and reproductive rights, Karina has collaborated with organizations such as APIS Foundation for Equity and Fondo Semillas, where she addressed issues around family violence, gender equity, human rights, and feminism. Karina has volunteered on autonomy and social justice projects in Chiapas and ran a radio program about sexual and reproductive health in Quintana Roo, Mexico. In addition to being a GOJoven Fellow, she was a consultant for PHI on the same project, serving as GOJoven Country Representative in Mexico. In 2015, she served as volunteer at the GOJoven International office in Oakland, California. Currently, she is an independent consultant for fund procurement, corporate social responsibility and fundraising event planning, and she also runs her own online business promoting local products by and for women.
José Arturo Patzán Tzay
Former Accountant and Program Assistant
José Arturo served as GOJoven’s accountant and also contributed in several administrative and logistical capacities. He studied accounting at La Escuela de Ciencias Comerciales (The School of Business Sciences) and is currently working toward a degree in Social and Legal Sciences at Guatemala’s Rural University. He has worked in the Center for National Recuperation – CERNE and the Association of Community Health Services (ASECSA), working mainly on health issues. He has 3 years’ experience in accounting, 1 year as a community promoter/facilitator of HIV topics with children, youth, and adults. He loves reading, listening to music, and playing musical instruments including the marimba, keyboard and guitar. He likes to spend his free time with his family.
Former National Coordinator, Guatemala
Roberto Morales is an indigenous leader who has worked as an HIV/AIDS researcher, educator, and activist with indigenous communities in rural Guatemala since 2001. He has extensive experience helping indigenous groups develop and write proposals for community improvement projects. Roberto speaks 4 indigenous languages, which enables him to provide SRH education to different indigenous communities in his municipality. From 2002 to 2007 he worked at Proyecto Payaso educating rural communities throughout Guatemala about a broad range of sexual and reproductive health issues using performance art and other creative forms of communication. In 2010, with the support of the Summit Foundation, he implemented an ASRH and gender-based violence prevention project for the victims of tropical storm Agatha. Roberto is a traditional Mayan medicine man (Ajq’ij).
Former National Coordinator, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Sandybel had been the Director for the Comprehensive Mental Health Center at the Secretary of Health, Mexico for three years when she was selected as a GOJoven Fellow. Furthermore, she has other important experience working with youth: she has been a representative for the College of Psychologists, worked with the Adolescent Health Promoters Group (GAPS), and provided training for a political group. Sandybel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University La Salle, Cancún and specializes in work with children, adolescents, and adults. Her vision for the future is to be promoted to a higher position at her agency. Sandybel desires to connect issues of ASRH with the work that she does currently. She desires to work on a project with sexual and reproductive health and mental health, providing essential workshops. She was 24 when she was selected to be a GOJoven Fellow.
Former Marketing and Communications Specialist
Teryll was the Marketing Specialist with the GOJoven program. Teryll’s marketing experience spans across multiple industries, including: technology, real estate, nonprofits and government. Teryll holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. After college, she spent time traveling to Guatemala, Argentina and most recently Nicaragua. She also lived in Chile teaching high school English as part of a United Nations program called Inglés Abre Puertas.
Marian Alonso, BA
Former Program Associate
Marian Alonso manages the GOJoven grant portfolio, monitors program activities, researches relevant materials, policies, and funding opportunities, and provides technical assistance and feedback to grantee organizations. She completed her undergraduate work in Psychology and Music at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) inLos Angeles, where she was a member of the University Honors Program and received the Riordan and Arete Community Service Awards and the McKay Student Leadership Award. She directed the LMU Alternative Breaks program, and as a recipient of the Payden Summer Research grant, she worked on a clean stoves project in rural Peru. She volunteered at a family center for working children in Quito,Ecuador and taught college-level English in Quito for two years. She has traveled extensively and speaks both English and Spanish.
Former Summer Intern
Ruhi Nath is a fourth year UC Berkeley undergraduate student and summer intern with GOJoven. She is on the pre-medicine track, pursuing a degree in Public Health and a minor in Anthropology. Ruhi is passionate about improving access to education, be it about health or leadership, in underserved populations, and has done extensive work volunteering in San Francisco, Berkeley, and India. She co-founded the non-profit organization 100 Strong, a female leadership development and mentorship program for high school girls in Oakland, and started the website Premed@Berkeley. Ruhi will be responsible for helping GOJoven with organizational, programmatic, and curriculum-related tasks this summer.
Former Summer Intern
Lisa Lieberman is a second year Communications major at Santa Clara University. She was born and raised in Guatemala and speaks fluent Spanish and basic Maya K’ich’e. This is her second year working at GOJoven International, where she will be writing articles for the GOJoven website, creating videos, and keeping up to date with social media. She hopes to pursue a career in either film or journalism. She plans to incorporate her Latin American cultural and language background to create social change through her future work.
Former Summer Intern
Gabriel Navarrette is a Master’s in Public Health student at Touro University California and summer intern with GOJoven International, as well as two other PHI programs: Global Health Leaders and the Pacific ADA Center. He will be completing the Public Health Certification exam in Fall 2018 and will graduate in December. Gabriel is interested in the fields of Health Administration and monitoring and evaluation, and is focusing his studies and career in both community and global health fields with an emphasis on program evaluation and preventative healthcare. Gabriel’s public health experience involves working with local coalitions like the “Fighting Back Partnership” in Vallejo, California, where he helps to develop and advocate for safe and reasonable guidelines for businesses and the public regarding the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis to protect and ensure healthy environments for families, youth and adolescents in Vallejo. Gabriel also works as a Teaching Assistant for Research Methodology and Health Policy courses at Touro University. Gabriel helps GOJoven International with monitoring and evaluation, data analysis, literature review, and creation of informative content for the program.
Former GOJoven Marketing and Communications Intern
Katherine was a fourth year UC Berkeley student when she served as an intern with Global Health Leaders and GoJoven International from 2018-2019. She graduated in 2019 with a degree in Public Health and a minor in Public Policy. Katherine is interested in health policy and management and hopes to improve the accessibility to and affordability of healthcare for the underserved through her work. Her public health experience thus far includes advocacy work with The Glide Foundation, health education and translation for Prevent Blindness Northern California, and marketing and communications for the City of Berkeley’s Healthy Berkeley Program. On campus, she is Assistant Coordinator and TA for the Health Service Internship Program, which places UC Berkeley undergrads in internships with health-related community and nonprofits in the Bay Area. Katherine was responsible for helping GOJoven with marketing efforts and external communications through the website, blog, and social media channels.
Former Summer Field Study Intern
Yvette was born and raised in Oakland, California and obtained a BA in Integrative Biology and Gender and Women’s Studies at the UC Berkeley. She is an MPH student at Touro University California, graduating in 2020. Studying such distinct fields helped Yvette develop her approach to healthcare through an intersectional lens as well as cultivating her passion for reproductive justice. As a public health student, she has been able to contribute to existing organizations focused on health efforts she holds dear to her heart. Her focus at the Public Health Institute was on capacity-building in sexual health. Yvette’s personal research project encompasses the effects of endocrine disruption on female fertility.