Written by Emily Hagerman, AGALI Program Coordinator
Youth sexual and reproductive health has officially been put on the national agenda in Guatemala, as the First National Summit on Young People for Sexual and Reproductive Health was held in Guatemala City on September 24th and 25th. Three Fellows of the Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy & Leadership Initiative (AGALI) participated actively in the Summit as part of their advocacy for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescent girls in their country.
Tracie Saravia, age 28, participated in the Summit as the representative of the OSAR (the Reproductive Health Observatory) from the state of Jalapa. Sara Castellanos, age 33, served as a Summit organizer and Maria Luisa Mendez, age 27, shared her opinions in the round table discussions. Tracie gave the opening speech to the Summit and, along with Fellow of PHI’s GOJoven program, Juan Pablo Escalante, spoke about the need to listen to the voices of young people in the creation and implementation of public policies that improve young people’s, and especially adolescent girls, access to sexual and reproductive health.
The meeting had a high level of youth participation, including approximately 175 young people and adolescents, representing more than 25 civil society organizations in Guatemala. The Guatemalan government was also represented, with. Dra. Ludy Rodas, National Program Coordinator for Reproductive Health and Dr. Gustavo Batres, of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance served as part of the head table. The third major group of participants included multilateral organizations and donors such as UNFPA, UNWOMEN and UNICEF and PHI partner, the Summit Foundation.
The convening of the First National Summit of Youth for Sexual and Reproductive Health is a major milestone in advancing the collective efforts to ensure that Guatemalan adolescent girls, and young people in general, have access to the sexual and reproductive health services that they need, and are able to stay in school and fulfill their dreams. You can read more about the Summit on the GoJoven website.