Iniciativa Guatemala / Guatemala Youth Initiative
Guatemala Youth Initiative (GYI) serves the youth in the marginalized communities that surround the landfill in Guatemala City, offering education and services so that they can achieve their goals. GYI offers three programs: comprehensive sexual education, free access to modern contraceptive methods, and empowerment for young mothers.
GYI’s Mission is to reduce unplanned teen pregnancy, promote gender equality, and empower young mothers in extremely marginalized communities near the Guatemala City landfill that struggle with high levels of violence, crime, and poverty. By working on both sides of a teen pregnancy, before it occurs through prevention and after it has happened through support, Guatemala Youth Initiative can improve life outcomes for young women and children.
Our vision is to see youth improving their own wellbeing because they were empowered to make informed decisions about their lives. We envision the next generation of children receiving the love they need and stimulation they crave to thrive during childhood. We believe that partnerships and teamwork with schools, community organizations and locals will make our vision a reality for the most vulnerable youth who live in marginalized communities.
GYI offers free contraceptive methods through our clinic with ALAS, including condoms, injections, pills, implants and IUDs, as well as a cervical cancer quick screening.
GYI operates multiple youth programs. Our comprehensive sexual education program offers workshops within school and outside of school for children and youth between the ages of 8 and 24, covering topics from puberty to sexuality to pregnancy prevention. GYI offers a Youth Leadership Program which trains youth as peer sex educators, preparing them to lead workshops and refer youth at risk to our services.
GYI also offers the Young Mother Support Program, Between Mothers, for pregnant and parenting young women. This program offers maternity education, early childhood stimulation, pediatric workshops, nutricional activities, support groups and more. In addition, GYI operates SomosUna, a leadership course for young mothers that prepares them to make positive change around sexuality within their community.
Guatemala Youth Initiative / Iniciativa Guatemala addresses teen pregnancy near the Guatemala City landfill by providing providing comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), free access to contraception, and support for young parents. The organization's focus in this area was informed by the high rate teen pregnancy in the community and number of disintegrated families that began as a result of teen pregnancy.
- Youth now have access to accurate and age-appropriate information about sexual and reproductive health;
- Iniciativa Guatemala has educated over 3,000 youth via its workshops and youth leadership peer education model. Marginalized communities and particularly adolescents can access free family planning services;
- Iniciativa Guatemala has worked together with WINGS to provide these services to over 2,000 patients. Young mothers receive guidance about maternity from pregnancy onward and actively participate in their son or daughter's early childhood development;
- Iniciativa Guatemala has supported over 250 young mothers.
Impact for Iniciativa Guatemala's programs is typically a qualitative measurement to evaluate improvement in sexual and reproductive health (SRH), adolescent parenting, and child wellbeing. This information is collected via interviews, focus groups and surveys. The organization also evaluates unplanned pregnancies prevented by using Marie Stopes Impact II.
The organization originally provided advisory support to local NGOs and funding to expand their youth development programs to help youth-at-risk. In 2017, Iniciativa Guatemala conducted a study to uncover root problems in marginalized urban communities and identify gaps in youth services.
Key offerings and Mission
That study unveiled teen pregnancy as an unaddressed issue, so the organization updated its mission and began providing services specifically to address teen pregnancy, hiring its own staff and working with other NGOs via collaboration rather than via strategic development and funding.
Iniciativa Guatemala is hoping to expand it's CSE program to train local youth to educate preadolescents about SRH, educate over 80 pregnant adolescents about maternity, and increase youth consultations for contraception to over 800 patients per year.
The team is currently evaluating the qualitative impact of its programs to understand how it make improvements in the delivery of education and services.
In terms of impact, the organization wants to maintain participation across its programs: continued CSE at age appropriate levels starting with preadolescents all the way to adulthood, continued usage of contraceptive methods to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, continued participation of young mothers from pregnancy until the child's third birthday.
The organization plans to provide all of its services across Zone 3/Landivar, Verbena, and Bethania so that all marginalized communities near the landfill have access to CSE, contraception, and support for teen parenting.
Iniciativa Guatemala hopes to establish partnerships with organizations providing complimentary services to improve the overall quality of support received by youth, covering areas of need not directly addressed by Iniciativa Guatemala (ex: support services STIs, sexual abuse, counseling, continued education, violence against women, preschools, and job counseling). It also plans to make improvements in its own program services by working with youth to identify critical areas of need that Iniciativa Guatemala can better address through its programming.
In terms of impact, Iniciativa Guatemala hopes to cultivate healthy behavior surrounding SRH, reduce adolescent pregnancy, empower young women, improve the wellbeing of young mothers, and foster healthy bonds between young parents and their children.