Focus: Sexual & Reproductive Health

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Guatemala Cohort Building

There are exponential health and social benefits if women and girls have access to the services and tools that protect against unintended pregnancy, support healthy pregnancies and protect against sexually transmitted infections. 

Despite the fact that 69% of the population in Guatemala is less than 30 years old, sexual education still hasn’t reached most public schools, and 1 in 3 indigenous women have no access to health and family planning services. Contraceptive use is strikingly low (and even lower among indigenous women), family planning services are severely limited, and maternal mortality rates are high. There are several organizations focusing on sexual and reproductive health issues - but often with limited resources. 

In collaboration with WINGS, CAI has initiated a unique and strategic partnership to strengthen the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls in Guatemala’s Western Highlands regions by working with a cohort of organizations to increase their effectiveness in implementing sexual health and reproduction initiatives.

Goals for participants:

  • Build organizational and individual capacity to effectively engage target groups, shift attitudes and change behaviors to significantly strengthen the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls in Guatemala’s Western Highlands.
  • Equip and empower participants to replicate what they’ve learned, taking creative, arts-based strategies, skill-sets and knowledge back to their organizations and communities to bring the impact of this project to scale.
  • Develop a creative, arts-based and regional model for behavior change that can be evaluated for replication in other departments of Guatemala to positively impact the reproductive health rights of women and girls.

64 participants from seven organizations, including WINGS, GOJoven, Amigos de Santa Cruz, Asociación AMA, Let Girls Lead, FUNDAECO and Women's Justice Initiative, are participating in the project.

On average, participants rated their training 9.4/10 and demonstrated an average 44% increase in self reported creative leadership, facilitation and collaboration skills. 100% of participants reported that they would recommend CAI training to their colleagues.

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Project Spotlight: Let Girls Lead

The Western Highlands in particular need additional support and capacity building. A largely indigenous area, the region has been identified by the new Country Development and Cooperation Strategy as home to the five highest-need departments for health, poverty and education. The indigenous population of the Department of Quetzaltenango is 58%, and it’s estimated that 60% of births take place at home with a traditional midwife (comadrona).

Let Girls Lead empowers girl leaders and local organizations to guarantee girls’ rights through girl-centered advocacy, impacting nearly 40 million girls in Africa and Central America. In Guatemala, Let Girls Lead has been instrumental in outlawing child marriage and protecting girls from violence through passage of a national sexual violence protocol. CAI provided a successful Creative Facilitation training for 25 young participants in a network of Let Girls Lead chapters in Quetzaltenango.

"This was one of the best workshops I have ever had the opportunity to attend. It helped me understand how to design and implement trainings that are much more creative, participatory and I learned how to facilitate an inclusive dialogue.” Aleidy Jerusalen De Paz Locón, Consejo Municipal de la Niñez y Adolescencia, Quetzaltenango
“The workshop awakened abilities and skills that I wasn’t aware of, and now I have the ability to apply them with the limited resources that I have. After the training, I am confident in my abilities and have discovered my weaknesses, for which I will continue to work towards overcoming.” - Sandra Cocon, Women’s Justice Initiative