Intensive Training opportunity through Let Girls Lead – Honduras


We are pleased to share a new opportunity in Honduras through Let Girls Lead. Let Girls Lead is requesting applications from leaders ages 16-60 to participate in an intensive training program that will strengthen capacity to implement strategies to improve health policy advocacy, human rights, and the social and economic well-being of adolescents. Let Girls Lead is looking for leaders who work in the following areas: human rights, sustainable development, sexual and reproductive health, youth development, micro-credit, public policy advocacy, lobbying, media, education, leadership, gender and other related areas.

The deadline to apply is June 5, 2015. For more information and to download an information sheet and the selection criteria, visit the website of Let Girls Lead:, or contact the Let Girls Lead Country Representative in Honduras, Vanessa Siliezar at

CAMY Fund Visit to ALAS/WINGS in Guatemala

Written by Emily Barcklow D’Amica, CAMY Fund Program Officer

On my recent trip to Guatemala I had the opportunity to see first-hand the work of ALAS/WINGS, one of the CAMY Fund’s grantees. Early in the morning on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 Michele Frix, SIF’s Director of Programs, and I headed off to Cobán in the northern state of Alta Verapaz.

Panoramic view of Cobán, Alta Verapaz.

We reached the city (population: 144,461) in the afternoon and headed to the WINGS office to meet their team. We knew Fidelia Chub, the project leader for the CAMY Fund, but had not yet met her colleagues: Kimberly Morales, Director of Programs, Dominga Torres Morales, who is a Peer Educator along with Fidelia, and Ana Iczep, who is a Health Promoter with the organization. The next day, Michele and I joined Kimberly and Fidelia on a visit to the nearby community of Tanchi in order to meet with some potential youth leaders and their mothers. Cobán’s streets quickly gave way as we bounced along a lush-green gravel road. The meeting was held inside the home of a WINGS health promoter, Doña Olga Chocoj, in a large room where she can meet privately with women and men from the community seeking out family planning methods. Four young women between the ages of 16 and 20 had been recruited by Doña Olga to participate in WINGS’ youth network. They were accompanied by two of their mothers who were there to learn more and give permission for them to participate in the network’s first training the following week. Fidelia spoke to the mothers and young women in their native Q’eqchi’, though the young women also spoke Spanish. She shared with them about WINGS’ mission, the upcoming training for peer educators, as well as the expectations for these youth leaders in their communities. The young women had been selected because they are all role models in their communities and are interested in working with their peers to increase their access to reproductive health services and reduce teen pregnancy.

Young women in Tanchi, Alta Verapaz selected to participate in WINGS’ youth network.

The young women timidly, but enthusiastically, shared about their interest in joining the network and participating in the upcoming training in Coban. They all had previous experience as peer educators with another local NGO that works to improve maternal health and promote girls’ empowerment.
While the rest of us ate sweet tamales and café prepared by our hostess, Fidelia carried out her standard supervisory visit in Q’eqchi’ with Doña Olga in order to review the monthly clinical records of community members who had sought out family planning services and refill her stock of contraceptive methods.

Fidelia and Doña Olga Chocoj review the patient records and contraceptive methods disseminated during the last month.

At the end of the visit we said goodbye to Doña Olga and the young women and their mothers, wishing them well at the upcoming training. Both Michele and I were deeply impressed by the level of organization and professionalism that Fidelia demonstrated. She seemed equally comfortable speaking with the young women who are only a couple of years younger than her, as with their mothers and Doña Olga. It was clear to us that Fidelia is not only a valuable member of the WINGS team, but also a recognized leader within her community.

Fidelia Chub, CAMY Fund project leader.

On Friday, March 13, Michele and I met with the WINGS team in their Antigua office. We spoke with the organization’s Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Bernarda Jimenez, also a former iLeap Fellow, as well as Shilpa Kothari, the organization’s Development Director. We appreciated learning about the past several years of WINGS’ work, how their organization has grown and developed, and their plans for the future.

The post-script to this entry is that a week later, back in Mexico City, Fidelia asked me to participate by Skype in the inauguration at the youth leaders training. The training was a great success, with 134 young people present from 61 communities in the municipalities of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Carcha, Cobán and Chisec.

Inauguration of youth training.

Congratulations to Fidelia and the WINGS team for their commitment to empowering young people through education, in Alta Verapaz and throughout Guatemala!


CAMY Fund Visit to Red + Posithiva

Written by Emily Barcklow D’Amica, CAMY Fund Program Officer

Last week I was in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico to see first-hand the work of the organization Red + Posithiva, one of the CAMY Fund grantee partners. Red + Posithiva’s project, “By bringing health closer, we can make better decisions,” is led by Antonio Ordoñez, who is 30 years old. Antonio is a clinical psychologist with a Masters in family therapy. He worked for various years for the governmental System for Comprehensive Family Development (DIF) in Cozumel, Quintana Roo and the project with Red + Posithiva is his first time working within a civil society organization.

On Tuesday, January 20, Red + Posithiva organized a press conference at the Hotel Oasis Smart to publicly present the project. On the presidium was Roberto Guzmán, Director of Red + Posithiva, Antonio, as the project leader, myself on behalf of the CAMY Fund and Yadira Chávez Courtois who is responsible for family planning within the Number 2 Health Jurisdiction. The media coverage (represented by Noticias Canal 10 and Novedades Quintana Roo) was good and the media that were present were open and curious about the project being presented.

The next day, January 21, Antonio and his co-workers and I left early for the community, Tres Reyes, on the western side of Cancun. The majority of the community is comprised of people from other states who have come to work in the Cancun tourist zone. The housing plots are irregular and quite precarious and public services are limited. Red + Posithiva had selected the local primary school, “Otilio Montaño,” as their contact with the community because of their important social role and capacity to convene inhabitants of the zone. The Directors of the school, Jorge Manuel Caamal Pecho in the morning rotation and Samuel Noé Coba Tun in the afternoon rotation, proved very open to the organization and committed to the project’s activities, which consist in offering cognitive-behavioral workshops to girls between the ages of 10-12 on sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as youth-friendly services to them and their family members (sisters, mothers, etc.) by means of the organization’s mobile health unit.

Red + Posithiva’s mobile unit, ready to head off to the community. 1-21-15.

Once we had arrived and the Mobile Unit was set up the activities began with a small inaugural presentation where Roberto spoke again about the organization, Antonio about the project and I about the support provided by the Fund. The school’s Directors accompanied us and encouraged the participation of the family members present in the day’s activities. The event ended with a brief original rap song with a women’s empowerment message sung by two members of a local group.

Rap song sung at the end of the inaugural event in the community, Tres Reyes, Cancun. 1-21-15

Following, the youth-friendly services and workshops began. The services were provided by a psychologist that had recently finished a diploma course on how to provide them, organized by Red + Posithiva. Also, members of the Red + Posithiva team trained to provide rapid HIV tests offered this service.

Antonio, the project leader, speaks with the psychologist trained by Red + Posithiva on how to offer care to the list of people that had registered for counseling.

The workshops were designed by Antonio and provided by him along with other members of the Red + Posithiva team.

Antonio offers a workshop on violence and discrimination to girls at the primary school in Tres Reyes. 1-21-15

I greatly enjoyed seeing Antonio and Red + Posithiva in action! They were very creative in resolving the complications that inevitably arise in any project and are clearly very committed to providing high-quality information and services to the community. They have built alliances with the health and education sectors that could contribute to the sustainability of the project and a lasting change.

Congratulations to Antonio and Red + Posithiva!

Central American countries rank highest in world’s homicide rate

A new report released by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime brings light to the rampant violence and inequality in Central American countries. The global average homicide rate stands at 6.2 per 100,000 population, but Central America has rates over four times that, making it one of the sub-regions with the highest homicide rates on record. Of the top five countries with the highest murder rates, four of them are in Central America; Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize and Honduras.

UNODC defines homicide as “an unlawful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person”, not directly related to an armed conflict.

Central America’s rise in homicide levels is mainly caused by the resulting violence related to drug trafficking, organized crime, and the relationship between organized criminal groups and the state. Honduras’ homicide rates ranks highest in the world with a 90.4 per 100,000 population, followed by Belize with a murder rate of 44.7 per 100,000, El Salvador with 41.2 per 100,000, and Guatemala with 39.9 murders per 100,000.

Women are more at risk than men. Intimate partner and family-related homicides disproportionately affect women. As of 2012, 6,900 women are killed by intimate partners and family members in the Americas. Read the rest of this entry »

Voz Electoral: the voice that informed and brought you closer to citizenship


Written by: Fernando Santos, Journalist, Guazapa Radio 92.1 F.M. “The Voice of Progress”

Guazapa Radio, as an alternative medium of communication in El Salvador that is “committed to be the voice of the voiceless”, as once said by the Archishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, has once again served its audience through the special program “Voz Electoral” (or “Electoral Voice”) which was produced and broadcasted during the first and second round of the presidential elections.

This program was possible thanks to the collaboration of a team of more than 20 young people, who are very enthusiastic and aware of the social responsibility of community media. Voz Electoral informed the population of the northern regions of San Salvador and southwest municipalities of Chalatenango about the details of the 2014 presidential elections.

The elections were held in two rounds. The law governed by the Electoral Code, Article 216, establishes that if the winner does not receive 50% of the votes, there has to be a second round, with the top two candidates who received the highest number of valid votes in the running.

The first presidential elections held by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) were on February 2, 2014. Salvadorans went to the polls to choose their president among five candidates; four right-wing candidates and one left-wing (Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional FMLN).

Read the rest of this entry »

SIF launches new fund to support adolescent health and education in Central America


SEATTLE — Seattle International Foundation announced today the launch of the Central America Youth Fund (CAYF), a new fund providing grant support to projects led by local young adult leaders (aged 18-35) in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Quintana Roo, Mexico.

CAYF will address many challenges faced by young people in Central America – particularly young women – such as high adolescent fertility rates, low secondary school completion, child marriage/early unions for girls, discriminatory gender attitudes and behaviors, and inadequate provision of reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education in schools.

CAYF will support young adult leaders in Central America to implement innovative projects within their organizations that are designed to demonstrate measurable impacts on girls’ equality and/or adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The fund seeks to invest more than $1 million over five years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Youth of Guazapa committed to democracy in El Salvador

By Journalist Jessica Guzman, Fundación Comunicándonos and VOCES Digital Newspaper

(El Salvador 01/31/2014)

The municipality Guazapa within San Salvador, El Salvador, with a population of more than twenty six thousand, holds a pillar and an important tool for its development: youth and Radio Guazapa. Both lead progress within their community, and have demonstrated this during the presidential elections that the country will witness on February 2.

El Salvador will face the 2014 presidential elections, and one of the sectors most committed to its country’s democracy is the youth of Guazapa.

Speaking about the youth of the municipality, is speaking about Radio Guazapa, the Association Yo Activo Guazapa and Interactive Media Center, all projects and social organizations supported by the Foundation Comunicandonos, Seattle International Foundation, and Digital Newspaper VOCES, all committed to investing in young people as agents of change.

Radio Guazapa created a program “Voz Electoral” (or Electoral Voice in English) before the elections, with the intention of creating awareness among the public on the importance of participating in this democratic event and avoiding a low voter turn out at all costs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Indigenous women fall through the cracks in Latin America


According to a new report release by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac), indigenous women in Latin America continue to face great institutional discrimination and difficult access to employment as compared to indigenous women in other parts of the world.

The report was presented to a group of over 180 women representing indigenous groups in Asia, Africa, and Australasia. The study breaks up indigenous women in Latin America into two groups, those living in urban centers and those living in rural areas.

When combined with endemic poverty rates, women in rural areas were twice as likely to die from childbirth. In Puno, Guatemala, an area populated by indigenous Quechua and Aymara the rate rose by an additional 45 percent in 2011.

Access to education improved dramatically as compared to the year 2000 where about 50 percent of indigenous youth, both girls and boys, were not in the education system at all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Seguir Adelante, a personal account of Guatemala, by Caitlin Terashima

Seattle University and the Seattle International Foundation carried out a research trip with ten student fellows to assess the impact of Asociacion Generando, one of SIF’s grantees working to end violence against women. Student’s analyzed how women’s leadership in Guatemala is a catalyst for long-term social change. Below is a reflection from Caitlin Terashima.  

Along with ten of my peers, three professors from Seattle University, and Michele Frix from the Seattle International Foundation, I travelled south to Guatemala this past June. I was selected as a student research fellow to investigate the impact of one of SIF’s grantees, Generando (ASOGEN), an organization based in Chimaltenango working to end violence against women.

Once I returned home, people would ask me “how was Guatemala?”, and I struggled to respond. Guatemala was beautiful. The countryside is lush, green, and stunning. The people I met are hardworking and kind. ASOGEN is creating social change within the country, and their work is inspiring. However, I also witnessed a very troubled side Guatemala. The Guatemala in which over 50% of women will experience violence from men in their lifetime. The Guatemala in which 98% of femicide cases, the murder of a woman because of her gender, remain in impunity. The Guatemala that is amidst a war against women.

Caitlin and ASOGEN staff

I struggled to reconcile the two Guatemala’s that I grew to know over the 11 days that I was there. There was so much violence, fear, and injustice that I was hearing about and experiencing on a daily basis. I found myself at points getting caught up in, what it felt like, hopelessness. And yet, I was so movtivated by the women that were siguiendo adelenate, continuing forward. I watched women who were labeled as victims; show us that they were not victims, but survivors. These women were seeking to change Guatemala, not only for themselves, but for their families. I remember sitting with one of the beneficiaries, as she told me and my interview partner her story. Through tears, she told me that she had to set an example for her sons by leaving her husband. She told me that her dream for her sons is that they don’t treat their wives and girlfriends as she had been treated, that they treated them well, as they deserved. The tears continued to stream down her face, but these weren’t the tears of a victim, they were the tears of a survivor that was breaking the cycle of abuse and showing her sons the importance of respecting the rights of both men and women.

Despite the trip being a whirlwhind of emotions, what struck me most about it was ASOGEN’s impact. The number of women that we interviewed who constantly thanked us for supporting ASOGEN and the work that they are doing was countless. They were thankful not only for the necessary services provided or the workshops, but also for the act of attentive accompaniment. The women working for Generando are so dedicated to their work and to the cause, and the responses from the beneficiaries reflected this.  In concluding our interview, we asked if she had any additional comments. After remaining quiet for a minute, she said that thanks to ASOGEN, she now knows that “no estoy sola,”she is not alone, but that they are there to support her.

Join Seattle University faculty and students, as they present the images and findings of their research trip in Guatemala. The exhibition features photos from Sy Bean and Claire Garuette. The event is sponsored by the Matteo Ricci College’s Poverty Education Center, in partnership with the Seattle International Foundation. 

KM2 Solutions, Seattle International Foundation and OYE Adelante Jovenes partner to empower youth in Honduras

On August 16, 2013 representatives from businesses, civil society and media gathered for Honduras4OYE, a celebration of the collaboration between OYE, KM2 Solutions and the Seattle International Foundation (SIF) to empower at-risk youth in Honduras by raising awareness and support through public-private partnerships.

The event highlighted the commitment of four major companies operating in Honduras – Cargill, Dermalaser, Altia, and Unitec – to empowering at-risk youth and developing the next generation of leaders in Honduras. Through Honduras4OYE, these companies raised $3,000 USD in support of OYE’s scholarship program. With matching funds provided by SIF, Honduras4OYE raised a total of $6,000, providing scholarships to 12 youth in El Progreso, Honduras.

Below is an excerpt from a post by KM2 recapping the event. Read the rest of this entry »

About the blog:
This blog was created to support the Central America Network and encourage dialogue around relevant research, news and poverty alleviation efforts in the region.
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