- Claudia Rosado Huerta MaestraBachilleres II
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.
Shirley was 21 years old when she was chosen to be a GOJoven México Fellow. In her journey, Sharon has been involved in activities of Integral Sexual Education, such as serving as youth leader of Quintana Roo; practicing a face-to-face approach with the young population of their community; and promoting the correct and consistent use of different contraceptive methods to contribute to the reduction of unwanted pregnancies in adolescents for Populations Services International (PSI Mexico).
Montserrat was studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology in the Social and Economic Administrative Division of the University of Quintana Roo (UQROO) when she was selected to be part of GOJoven Mexico at 21 years of age. Montserrat has carried out research work in the field with communities and vulnerable population, and is currently studying a postgraduate course in Applied Anthropology. She is also developing a project focused on the sexual and reproductive health of migrants in transit through Mexico.
Miguel was 16 years old when he was selected to be a GOJoven México Fellow. Miguel has volunteered in different groups and organizations in his community. He is involved in activities that improve society by impacting children and adolescents, including workshops on contraceptive methods, sexually transmitted infections, and the environment. He currently directs the Contagia Alegría program of the Civil Association “Soñar Despierto.” His objective is to finish his bachelor’s degree and eventually become a maxillofacial surgeon to support people with limited resources.
Julkin, musician singer-songwriter from the city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, studied Government and Public Management at the University of Quintana Roo (UQROO) when he was selected as a GOJoven México Fellow at age 24. He has worked mainly in activities focused on the recovery of Mayan culture and art, where he focuses his musical skills to convey ideas of reflective awareness about youth participation. Currently, he devotes his time to teaching the arts, independent cultural management, and developing his own musical concept with pieces of his creation.
Estefany was selected as a GOJoven Mexico Fellow when she was 23, as she was pursuing a degree in Law from the Division of Administrative Political and Economic Sciences of the University of Quintana Roo (UQROO). Since 2010, Estefany has collaborated in different spaces focused on the promotion of good preventive practices in the exercise of adolescent and youth sexuality, giving talks on sexual and reproductive education, abd implementing dynamics and games with adolescents. She has generated awareness and social impact through face-to-face approaches with the youth population of Quintana Roo and being a youth leader for the Population Services International (PSI Mexico) from 2010 to 2014. Estefany was a radio announcer for the “TODAY TOKA” project and participant of the congress of spokespersons in favor of the right to decide implemented by the MARIA fund. One of her objectives is to contribute to the empowerment of women, mainly indigenous Mayans.
Juan was 17 years old in high school when he was selected to be part of the new generation of GOJoven México fellows. At his young age, he has participated in different activities focused on promoting positive ideas around environmental awareness of the adolescents of his and nearby communities of the municipality Othon P. Blanco. Additionally, he was part of the group of volunteer students from Mexico and the Caribbean Fellows one year before being selected for the scholarship. One of his future goals is to form a comprehensive youth collective that can be replicated in nearby communities.
Armando is an eighth semester student studying Bureaucratic Law at the National Institute of Trade Union Studies and Public Administration. He has a diploma in Oral and Human Rights and another in Family Law. At the age of 20, he began his journey as a GoJoven Mexico scholar in the city of Chetumal, Quintana Roo. He is currently 21 years old and has participated in various programs as a trainer on issues of Human Rights and Sexuality. After completing his bachelor’s degree, his plan in the meantime consists of working in the sector of public security or justice, and in the long term, teaching in subjects such as history, human rights, philosophy or personal defense.
Aranza was selected as a GOJoven Mexico Fellow when she was 20 years old, as part of the first generation of Mexico and the Young Caribbean Fellows. At the time, she was pursuing a degree in Pharmacy from the University of Quintana Roo (UQROO). She started her journey at 16 as part of the Unidad de Fuerza Juvenil Quintana Roo, a youthful, altruistic and independent group, serving as a social worker for the organization. Because of her interest in altruism and active participation, she was invited to be part of Plant for the Planet Mexico, where she was the representative’s right hand in Latin America in the period 2014-2015. She has been part of various altruistic groups, notably volunteering for 9 years in a group for young people with emotional and attitude problems.
Milca was workig on her Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration at Universidad de Oriente when she became a Fellow. She was a Conafe instructor, where she taught secondary school classes in the town of Poxil. She is a young indigenous leader who takes risks to achieve her goals. She values her studies very much, and left her community in order to continue studying. She is one of the few young people in her community who is still studying. Milca is an organized and analytical young woman, who bilingual in Spanish and Maya. She means to open an Internet Cafe in her community after she finishes studying. In the long term, she plans to study a Master’s Degree in Finance. When she was selected as a GOJoven Fellow, she was 21 years old.