- Shaimir JacobsShaimir Jacobs has completed coursework at the Baptist School of Adult Continuing Education (B.S.A.C.E) and has worked as an office assistant for the Public Service department in the City of Belmopan. He aspires to become a successful and exemplary youth leader and provide young people with knowledg...
GOJoven Joins the Third Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean
By Katherine Sham and Susanna Moore, GOJoven International
Current GOJoven Fellows, staff, volunteers, and active alumni from GOJoven Guatemala, GOJoven Mexico, and GOJoven Honduras attended the Third Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development (CPD) in Latin America and the Caribbean held from August 7-9, 2018 in Lima, Peru. GOJoven was proud to be represented by:
- Guatemala: Ana Lourdes Tojin (2005 GOJoven Alumni Fellow and Executive Director of GOJoven Guatemala also representing La Sombrilla Centroamericana Network, in which GOJoven Guatemala is an active member); Alessandro Roldan Lanfray (2018 GOJoven Guatemala Fellow); Escarlet Membreño (2015-2016 GOJoven Guatemala Alumni Fellow also representing Guatemala’s Grupo Impulsor Cairo+20 Network, in which GOJoven Guatemala is an active member); and Juan Pablo Escalante (2011 GOJoven Alumni Fellow representing Paz Joven)
- Mexico: Luis Enrique Tuz (youth health promoter volunteer at GOJoven Mexico)
- Honduras: Berenice Vasquez (youth volunteer at GOJoven Honduras)
This high-level regional conference was organized by the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Conference attendees included all ECLAC member states, United Nations representatives, and civil society members from across the region. The purpose of this meeting was to review the first regional draft report on the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population Development, which was adopted at the First Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development held in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2013.
The Montevideo Consensus was a landmark achievement for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocates in the region and worldwide, as it is the only signed intergovernmental agreement in the region concerning issues of population and development and international migration that encompasses inclusive language on SRHR. It is also takes a more progressive position embracing and upholding SRHR commitments than any previous iterations of agreements stemming from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
During the Second Session of the Regional CPD, held in Mexico City in 2015, member states and civil society proposed and adopted the Operational Guide for Implementation and Follow-up of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development. This year’s Third Session focused on reviewing national progress reports tracking implementation. The results of the country progress reports showed clear efforts to improve quality of life for girls, boys, adolescents, and young people. However, challenges still remain with regards to young people’s access to education and work, as well as prevention of adolescent pregnancy, with significant disparities between and within countries. In addition, the session’s agenda included consideration of a proposal for a virtual platform to contribute to regional follow-up of the Montevideo Consensus, which would be housed by the ECLAC Secretariat and UNFPA LAC.
Civil society organizations across the region are actively engaged with the follow-up on the Montevideo Consensus, holding their governments accountable to accelerate progress toward their commitments. Mira que te Miro is one example of this, as a social monitoring initiative of the SRHR commitments in the Montevideo Consensus. Besides providing a region-wide CPD monitoring and outcome report, their interactive website allows users to compare implementation progress in key areas and topics by country, spanning 23 countries in the region. Alongside other leading SRHR and youth organizations, our very own GOJoven Honduras and GOBelize Alumni associations contributed to their respective country reports, which are available on the website (Read the Honduras report here and the Belize report here).
Leading up to the high-level CPD meeting, civil society held several preparatory events in Lima. Two such events in which GOJoven leaders participated were the Civil Society Forum and the Youth Forum. Ana Lourdes Tojin and Alessandro Roldan, both from GOJoven Guatemala, joined civil society members at these events to plan for their proposed interventions leading up to the CPD meeting with government officials. In addition to these forums, there was also a regional youth leadership camp, ¡Juventudes Ya!, hosted by UNFPA in partnership with CAMY Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Plan International which brought together 50 youth ages 15-25 from across the region. Three GOJoven representatives attended: Alessandro Lanfray, Luis Tuz, and Berenice Vasquez. During this camp, they shared their experiences, strengthened their advocacy skills, and built alliances with other human rights networks. Read more about the experience of GOJoven Guatemala Fellow Alessandro Roldan in his personal blog post here!
Overall, GOJoven representatives felt empowered in representing civil society from their respective countries by attending this conference. In meeting and sharing with other attendees and leaders, they found strength in their roles as change agents in their communities.
Their experiences in Lima were valuable not only to establish these alliances with like-minded organizations, but also as opportunities to serve as country advocates holding decision-makers accountable to their commitments to adolescents and young people, particularly access to sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention, as agreed upon in the Montevideo Consensus. Attending this type of conference, in an international space, affords them greater visibility in their interventions as well as stronger networks across countries that are facing similar SRHR challenges. Many of the GOJoven representatives are conducting follow-up activities and plans to disseminate their learnings and bring back key messages to continue advocating locally and nationally for progress on the ground.
We at GOJoven are sad to share the news of the death of our treasured alumni fellow, colleague, and friend Octaciano (Chano) Banegas Galeas. Chano passed away on June 30, 2018 in Texas, as he journeyed from Honduras in search of a better life for himself and his family. To learn more about Chano’s story, read our blog post here.
In order to help Chano’s family with the high cost of returning his body home to Honduras, we have started this GoFundMe campaign and would appreciate any and all donations. The money raised will help Chano’s family pay off the bank debt they incurred to bring Chano home and pay him homage, as well as help his wife and four-year-old son to cover basic expenses as they recover from their loss.
Our hearts go out to Chano and his family. Thank you very much, on behalf of Chano’s family and community, for your contribution.
Eben Reyes became a GOJoven Fellow at age 23. His professional experience includes working in San Pedro Sula for Comunicación Para La Vida (COMVIDA), a municipal government program that focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention among young people. As the leader of his Adventist Church’s youth group, Eben has also been actively involved with religious youth in his community. He is committed to educating his peers about HIV and is very interested in using his training in information technology to educate young people through the Internet.
José Augusto Vélez Castro was 24 years old when he became a GOJoven Fellow. His educational background is in Psychology and he did his professional internship at the Metropolitan Health Unit, providing advice to men sent in for domestic violence, and he also sees women who are victims of violence. He would like to continue working in the fields of masculinity and sexual and reproductive health, since he has noticed that many young people in his city need to know more about these topics. In his free time, José is the leader of a music group that plays rock pop.
Nery Felipe Sánchez Murillo has worked for many years in the Atlantic Coast Regional Delegation of the National Commission for Human Rights (CONADEH) in the promotion and training area, coordinating with different organizations that work in the areas of HIV/AIDS, human rights, and sexual and reproductive health. He has also been a volunteer at the citizen observatory of the National AIDS forum and for the nonprofit UDIMUF (Union for Integral Development of Women and Families). Nery also works with multi-sectoral networks and youth councils in defense of the rights of vulnerable populations, while also dedicating time to completing his Bachelor’s Degree in International Commercial Law. Nery is a dynamic leader, well known in his community for being responsible, resolute, and committed to empowering young people in different topics. He was 24 years old when he was invited to become a GOJoven Fellow.
Enil Alexander Hernández Díaz was 20 years old when he was selected as a GOJoven Fellow. Before being hired as a promoter, he worked over five years as a volunteer for Rural Betterment in the program “Network of Youth inDefiance, Building the Future.” He has worked with volunteer networks in dangerous neighborhoods, using educational talks to teach several sexual and reproductive health topics to young people. Although this is not an easy task, Enil feels it’s a very important one. Currently, Enil works with the NGO CEPROSAF (Center for Health Promotion and Family Assistance) providing counseling and support for rapid HIV testing of at-risk populations. He also provides graphic design support for different CEPROSAF projects. Enil is a person who enjoys supporting his community; he is open towards young people and knows how to motivate those around him.
Yarlene Hernández Dubon was 18 years old when she was selected, and she was one of the youngest Fellows in the GOJoven program in 2012. She has worked for many years as a volunteer in a youth program at the Red Cross, providing training workshops for young people from different educational institutions in the city ofLa Ceiba. Yarlene has formed a wide network of young people who are educated on climate change and sexual and reproductive health topics. As a GOJoven Fellow, she has strengthened her knowledge on sexually transmitted infections (STI) and improved her communication abilities.
Yilian Maribeth David Herrera has served as director of the Corozal Theater and Dance Group, and has professional experience managing a recycling and solid waste management project. As a university intern in Graphic Design, she acted as a facilitator in sexual and reproductive health and performing arts topics in 36 Garifuna communities along the Atlantic coast ofHonduras. Yilian is fluent in Spanish and Garifuna. She would like to work in STI and HIV/AIDS prevention with young people, combining her experience in theatrical and youth topics. Yilian was 26 years old when she was invited to participate in the GOJoven program.
Lesbia Yamileth Cáceres Muños was 24 years old when she was selected as a GOJoven Fellow. Since then, she has dedicated her life to working with women and youth in La Ceiba, Honduras. Her academic background is in human development and law. She graduated as a Lawyer from the Honduras Technological University, where she was active in the Law School Student Association, as well as being active in the Youth Against Violence movement and in her church. She later completed her Master’s Degree in Project Administration at the Central American Technological University (UNITEC), and has since worked in project coordination and multiple consultancies. Her professional experience also includes working for the Honduran NGO ‘Unit for Women and Families’ Integral Development’ (UDIMUF). Since 2015 she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Asociación GOJoven Honduras, and works as an attorney for the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the city of Trujillo, department of Colon, Honduras. Yamileth is very committed to gender equity and seeks to make her own contributions that will bring change in her country. This young leader enjoys the recognition of her community as an empowered woman that obtains very good results in her work.
María Ursula Fernandez is an auxiliary nurse who focuses her work on preventing teenage pregnancies through use of contraception. María Ursula’s specialization is Public Health, and her vision for the future is to create a space within the health center where both girls and boys can obtain information about adolescent sexual and reproductive health to prevent the high rate of teenage pregnancies. María says that “the most important quality of a leader is to be responsible,” and she considers herself to be a very responsible young person. She was 23 years old when she was selected to be a GOJoven Fellow.